Exercise Choice Not That Important For Muscle Growth? “Really!” I hear most people think. Before posting a comment below saying this is BS, give me a chance to explain.
Exercise choice less important
When do your quadriceps grow more: if you do a leg extension and stop when you can 10 more reps? Or if you do a walking lunge to muscle failure? When does your chest grow the most: if you do the exercises at the beginning or at the end of the workout? And when does your back grow faster? If you do 4 sets per 2 weeks or 16 sets per week? How about rest between sets? Do your muscles grow better if you rest longer or shorter?
Hopefully you can feel a little where I want to go. Your training schedule must first meet many more other training principles before the choice of exercises is discussed. Read the here 3 main principles for a successful muscle growth schedule or order the book No Strong Story About Muscle Growth for 'all' 18 handles of a successful scheme.
After all the important variables comes exercise choice
The choice of exercises only has an effect on your result if almost all other training variables have been entered correctly. This applies not only to a muscle mass schedule, but to almost any other schedule. Only with powerlifting or weightlifting is the exercise choice higher on the list. Because there you will at least have to have the competition exercise in your schedule (and preferably in the first place). For muscle growth, you really only have to choose exercises that activate the desired muscle group and are the weak link in the exercise. By that I mean the muscle group that is responsible for not being able to do an extra repetition if you were to train to failure. We start the exercise choice from easy to difficult.
1. Choose exercises for the correct muscle group
That may be obvious, but you will be amazed at how often exercises are still incorrectly classified. With more than 1000 exercises, that is of course no shame for beginners. You have to start doing exercises somewhere. If you want to grow your chest, opt for bench presses rather than pull ups. And your biceps will grow a bit difficult if you do overhead dumbbell extensions for example. So yes, if you have no idea what an exercise is for, then exercise choice is very important!
2. isolation exercises on a machine
I'm not saying that isolation exercises are better than multi-joint exercises, is it? Secondary isolation exercises mean that these are exercises where you can say for sure what the limiting muscle group is during the exercise. It is very difficult to smuggle on an insulation machine. During a leg extension you are 99,9% sure that you will fail because of your single joint quadriceps. With what percentage of certainty do you dare to say that these muscles are the limiting factor during the squat? So if you want to make sure that a certain muscle group gets a growth stimulus: choose a machine isolation exercise (and look at the picture next to the machine to see which muscle group you are training).
3. machine multi joint and loose isolation exercises
Also with machine multi joint exercises (chest press machine, pull down, etc.) and loose isolation exercises (biceps curl, cable fly, etc.) you can also say with a relatively high degree of certainty which muscle groups you are activating and which muscle group the limiting factor is. During a multi-joint exercise, multiple muscle groups often receive a growth stimulus. However, there is only one muscle group that receives the greatest stimulus. And that is the muscle group that ensures that you cannot make an extra repetition. In short, with a multi-joint machine it becomes a bit more difficult to determine which muscle group is trained the most.
4. multi joint exercises with free weights
With multi-joint machine exercises it became a bit more difficult to identify the limiting muscle group, let alone with multi-joint exercises with free weights. For example, by which muscle group you fail during a clean and press. Through your legs? Your core stability? Or your shoulders? All three muscle groups are trained, but one more than the rest. The same goes for bench press. Do you fail at the bottom, in the middle or at the top? Do you do bench press before or after a triceps extension? This is where your knowledge of biomechanics becomes a lot more important. In other words, it becomes more difficult to choose which exercise to do for which muscle group.
In addition, here you also have to deal with the persistent Bro-Science. Whether you do a flat, incline or decline bench: with all three exercises you train the chest almost equally. And with the incline bench, your top chest doesn't grow any more than with a flat bench press, for example. I'm not saying you shouldn't go for multi-joint exercises. In my book you read that you do well to do a lot of multi-joint exercises. This is purely about the difficulty of exercise choice.
How many exercises and exercise sequence?
This article is purely about the choice of exercises. How do you choose with certainty for exercises that give your desired muscle group a growth stimulus? Provided your schedule adheres to all other (more important) training principles. We will discuss how many exercises and sets you can best do or how to put exercises in sequence in another article.
Exercise choice conclusion
From now on, never again say that you necessarily have to do a Meadows row for thicker back muscles or that you must press the dumbbell flat to grow your chest muscles. You can do a lot of exercises with the same goal! Provided that all your other training variables are set correctly. Looking for more than 100 strong muscle growth training plans? Then check out my website.