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  • Writer's pictureCraig Lapsley

5 Principles for Selecting Effective Muscle Building Exercises

Building muscle can be challenging, but with the right exercises, you can achieve your Baywatch bod goal efficiently. To help you select the best muscle building exercises, here are five principles to keep in mind…

Muscular man with tattoos

1. Target the right body part when performing an exercise

The body part you're targeting should be the limiting factor. When you can't do any more reps, it's because the muscle you want to work is fatigued. For example, stabilizing exercises, such as balance ball exercises, can be poor for muscle growth as they make the core the limiting factor.

2. Choose exercises with a large range of motion

The larger the Range of Motion (ROM) of an exercise, the better it is for muscle growth. Working a muscle through a larger range of motion, even with less weight, leads to more muscle growth. For example, lat pulldowns are a better option than seated rows for building the latissimus dorsi muscles.

3. Focus on compound exercises

Compound exercises, which work multiple muscles at the same time, are better than isolation exercises in many ways.

For example, dumbbell bench presses are a compound exercise, while dumbbell flies are isolation exercises

Compound exercises have better tissue stress distribution and are easier on the joints, saving you time as you hit multiple muscles at once.

4. Involve dynamic contractions

Exercises that involve a dynamic contraction, including both a concentric and eccentric phase (lengthening & shortening of a muscle), are more effective than isometric or concentric/eccentric alone. Goblet squats, for example, are better than wall sits for building the quadriceps.

5. Prioritize unilateral exercises

Unilateral exercises, which involve just one limb, are better than bilateral exercises. They elicit more muscle activity, as our bodies did not evolve for bilateral exercise. Unilateral leg extensions, for example, are better than bilateral leg extensions.

Remember, not every exercise will meet all of these principles. But following these guidelines can help you build the most effective muscle building program and make the most of your gym time. Don't waste your time on ineffective training – choose wisely and see the results!


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