Maximize your strength training routine by cutting out these time wasters.

We know you’ve already got a lot on your plate and you really have to cut the fat these days. When one of the most common excuses we hear for not hitting the gym is that there isn’t enough time, productivity and efficiency are key when you work out.

“You’re wasting a lot of time and energy on things that don’t give you the desired effect when you could be putting that time and energy into much more productive exercises ,” says Wayne Westcott, Ph.D., exercise science director at Quincy College in Massachusetts. He estimates that nearly half the people in the gym could substitute their usual strength training routine with better exercises to achieve their goals faster and more effectively.

Of course we want to point out that there are very few exercises that are completely useless across the board, but here are the ones that are less worthy of your time—particularly if strength is your goal.

1. Smith Machine Squat

“The primary reason I would call this move useless for most people is the fact that the Smith machine locks you into a guided bar path, which will reduce the co-contraction of the quads and hamstrings. That decreases hamstring activation because they don’t have to counteract the quads as much and the bar is already being stabilized.” – Craig Rasmussen, C.S.C.S., Training Director at Results Fitness in Newhall, CA

2. Standing Chest Flye

“It doesn’t work the chest at all because the chest isn’t working against gravity. What it is working are your shoulders, holding the weights against gravity in a lateral raise position. So I’m not saying it’s a bad exercise , but people think it works your chest, and it doesn’t.” -Wayne Westcott, Ph.D., Exercise Science Director at Quincy College in Quincy, MA

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