The 3 Worst Exercises for Women and their Best Exercise Replacements


These three exercises I will not perform or recommend to my clients for biomechanical reasons and for the extensive medical studies completed by doctors and professionals as they compile a list of failing muscle movements and mobility issues for women.


  1. Kettlebell swings– The kettlebell swing is where the kettlebell is swept in an arc from between the legs to an overhead position with straightened arms.

The biomechanics of the kettlebell swing and watching the form of another person should be enough to stop you from doing this exercise however many will pick up a 8-20kg kettlebell and start swinging it with rounded shoulders and flicking their pelvis in the forward motion as the use momentum to drive the kettlebell in the upward direction.  This movement alone throws the lower back into spasm yet many people will continue to do this movement and unfortunately PT’s will encourage clients to complete it. The kettlebell swings intention is for the body to use force upon the arms and upper torso using the core to stablise in the swing position however in many cases most people performing the exercise tend to have limited strength in these areas.

The issue I have as do many biomechanics experts is that this movement unless performed perfectly is a disaster waiting to happen.  This is especially the case for women after children or during pregnancy as they should NOT do this exercise.  It forces the delicate ligaments around the pelvis at which are already at their weakest to become thinner and weaker by overusing the base abdominals and upper glutes to stabilize thus putting enormous pressure upon the hips and lower back.  This exercise should not be performed around the menstrual cycle either as at this time the ligaments are also weakened due to the hormone release.  If you have had a back injury or any type of weakness in the abdominal area this exercise is simply dangerous.

Previous studies involving the kettlebell swing have examined that the aerobic and cardiovascular impact of the swing and it reckless variation of mechanical impulse and power generation with the kettlebell weight can be performed better and more safely with other exercises. 


Replace it : b. elevated sumo squats using a kettlebell – it is stabilised and productive for the body and very safe for Mums.



  1. Chin ups–The chin up is performed with supinated (palms facing you) grip and the pull up is performed with a pronated (palms facing away) grip. Technically, the pull up is a variation of the chin up, and many people use the name chin up to refer to both actions. The primary biomechanical difference between the two hand positions is that the chin up allows a more efficient line of pull for the biceps and the shoulder moves through extension-flexion. The pull up places the latissimus dorsi on a more efficient line of pull and down plays the involvement of the biceps.


The specific joint actions include elbow flexion and shoulder extension in the sagittal plane. One of the most common mistakes is using momentum to help move the body above the bar. If the body starts swinging, it can be harder to maintain a firm grip on the bar, which significantly increases the risk of injury from performing the exercise. If the person has limited abdominal strength it is dangerous as the clients has to brace their abdominal muscles to create stability between the pelvis and spine. To effectively complete a chin up a stiff spine create a stable lever, however for better posture and total health – a subtle spine is productive to women’s overall health making the chin up counterproductive to overall health.

The issue is very few exercises stress the upper body and core like a chin-up does.  The stress upon the grip handling, the direction in the shoulder pull and this reason causing many women to lose hope in exercise or simply give up.  This exercise is generally used as ‘masculine stoush match’ and is not realistic to expect a client to be able to perform chin-ups at the first attempt.  For women the target muscle zone is not the area we focus on (forearm, upper back area) as many women are pursuing posture and health NOT wanting to build up.

Chin-ups are generally wanted to improve grip strength for shaking hands, posture and back growth appearance, larger shoulders, vascular forearms and biceps. If this is what you are seeking then please continue. I totally agree chin up’s should be performed by men for the above reasons and as these muscles they are creating are pleasing and useful however for a women it is not necessary for our body strength or for our bodies.  If for you it is a ‘mental strength game’ by all means please continue and You Go Get Those Chin Ups! however if it is a chore – remove it from your regime as they are not required.


Replace with :

Lat Pulldowns. — are the next best thing. …

Body weight exercises such as Lateral push ups and this also uses your core and legs – multiple body parts meaning time efficient.


  1. Abdominal Machines

The only way to get strength in your torso and core to rebuild your abdominals is to use your body weight and repetition. Most of the abdominal machines being advertised are not only ineffective but downright dangerous.

The fact is they put your lower back, spine, and hip flexors (the muscles connecting from the front of the thighs to the lumbar vertebrae) at risk. These machines place extreme stress on the hip flexors, while simultaneously compressing the disks of the lower back.

The only effective way to get your abs back shining is by working on your abs and consistently eating highly nutritious foods. ‘Abdominals are found in the kitchen’ as the quote says and it is true. To rebuild you abdominals after children it is important to be patient and complete these 3 exercise below as they are safe and effective during and after pregnancy or for any person.  I complete these abdominal exercises below weekly.

B.TIP Replace with:

Elbow plank

  • The elbow plank recruits more of your core muscles to do the work than a traditional plank.
  • Clasp your hands together, resting on your forearms and stacking your shoulders above your elbows. Keep your body in a straight line from neck to heels.
  • Hold this position for as long as you can for each set.

Knee-tuck with sliders: This is a great lower-ab and core workout.

  • Place a paper plate or slider under each foot.
  • Start in a traditional plank position with your shoulders stacked above your hands, your body held in a straight line from neck to heels and your feet hip-width apart. Push up through your shoulders so your body doesn’t hang between them.
  • Keeping your belly button pulled in tight towards your spine, draw both knees in towards your chest. Pause for a moment, then push them back out to the starting position. Be careful not to arch your back as you push back.

Dead bug: This strengthens your abs while minimising pressure on your lower back.

  • Lie flat on your back with your hands extended towards the ceiling. Bend your knees to 90 degrees and raise your calves until they are parallel to the floor. Tilt your pelvis so you close the gap between your back and the floor.
  • Slowly lower your right arm and left leg down to the floor simultaneously until your lower back almost arches off the ground. Pause for a moment, then slowly return to the starting position and repeat on the opposite side.


I hope this has helped some beautiful ladies questioning their abilities or at least saved a body from a terrible injury.

Before I receive abusive comments please read the descriptions again carefully as to why we should rethink these exercises.

If you choose to continue, well good on you! But remember always be safe with an alignment spotter because no one has time for injury.


Health and Happiness always,




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