When I go to the gym, I can instantly distinguish the athletes from the exercisers, both in the quality of their movement, and by the exercises they choose to fill their programs with. Here are 5 exercises you won't catch any real athlete doing at the gym.
Seated Hamstring Curls - There are only 2 occasions that call for leg isolation exercises: 1) Recovering from an injury 2) Body building...and when was the last time you saw a body builder do something athletic?
INSTEAD try Deadlifts
Pulldowns - Studies have shown that doing pull ups will increase the amount of weight you can use while performing a pulldown, conversely, increased pulldown capacity has not been shown to do the same for pullups. 'Nuff said.
INSTEAD try Eccentric Pullups
Tricep Kickbacks - The body positioning required by kickbacks cuts off potential range of motion and opens up more opportunities to cheat.
INSTEAD try a Sphinx Pushup
Concentration Curls - Single arm isolation exercises are great...if you have 4 hours per day to spend at the gym. Not only do you get secondary bicep activation when you do real exercises like pullups and rows, but there are about a million more effective bicep exercises that don't make you look like a tool.
INSTEAD try a Zottman Curl
Machine back extensions - I have tried this one at different stages of my fitness journey, and every time it feels awkward, uncomfortable and unnatural. That is because your lower back is not built to move independently of the rest of your posterior chain. Because it is easy to grip tight and cheat, people load up the weight on this exercise and risk injury for very little benefit.