What are the best exercises for building muscle?
By Lee Hayward
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The question of "what exercises should I use?" is one that
has plagued bodybuilders and strength athletes for years.
In this section I will outline some simple tips that
you can use to help you pick the most productive muscle
building exercises for your workouts.
Exercise Selection - Compound vs. Isolation Exercises
Compound exercises work multiple muscles across more then
one joint. Bench press, dips, and squats are examples of
compound exercises. Isolation exercises work fewer muscles
across a single joint. Dumbbell flyes, pec deck, and leg
extensions are examples of isolation exercises.
Some people believe that in order to target a certain
muscle you should use more isolation exercises and thus
develop that muscle more efficiently. However, this is
not the best approach. Isolation exercises that work the
muscles across a single joint are not the most effective
way to build muscle. Compound exercises are far more
effective in building muscle because they incorporate
the use of several muscle groups, allow for a heavier
training load, and work more muscle mass in the same
amount of time.
Let's look at the squat. It is a compound exercise. It
works the quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteus, lower back,
abdominals, hips, and abductors. Squats allow for
heavy weights to be lifted. This makes the squat an
incredibly effective muscle building exercise. Compared
to an isolation exercise such as the leg extension, which
only focuses on the quadriceps. From this simple example
you can clearly see how much more productive compound
exercises are for building muscle.
Free Weights VS. Machines
Free weight exercises are more effective for building
muscle then machine exercises. Machines make the exercises
easier to perform. You do not have to balance the weight
with machine exercises because the machine balances the
weight for you. You will get less muscle stimulation from
machine exercises because they do not require the same
concentration or effort as free weight exercises. Free
weights have a greater ability to involve stabilizer
muscles than machines. Free weights put you in a natural,
3 dimensional environment for exercise.
The majority of your exercises should be compound free weight exercises. This does not mean that you should avoid machine exercises or isolation exercises. They are easy to learn and there is a low risk of injury, which is great for people who are just starting out or for rehabilitation purposes. And there are some good machine exercises that cannot be duplicated with free weights such as various cable pulley exercises. However, the majority of lifters should always base their workouts around compound, free weight exercises and supplement their workouts with machine and isolation exercises.
I've put together a listing of the top 5 weight training
exercises for each bodypart. Complete with exercise
pictures and text descriptions that explain how to perform
all the movements with proper technique.
Click On The Bodypart Name To View The Exercises
Lee Hayward's Total Fitness Bodybuilding DVD Training System is jam-packed with the most powerful techniques for pushing your overall muscular development to a whole new level.
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