An effective exercise for each of the large muscle groups
The key to a good workout or a good gym routine is undoubtedly the balance. It is useless to do some incredible workouts and lift 200 kilos in the bench press, if then our back musculature is atrophied and lack of tone and muscular strength.
And of course, the exercises that we include in our routines should be aimed at the effectiveness and efficiency of the training , as it is useless, for example, to perform a biceps curl doing only 15-20% of your ROM ( range of movement or range of movement, which is the route we take with the bar, dumbbell or disc during the exercise).
The ROM or range of movement is more important than people usually give it, since performing an exercise in all its ROM or not, will determine that the strength gain in that muscle is “complete” or not. What does it mean that the force gain is complete? Imagine the movement that we have set as an example, a biceps curl, and we are going to apply it to the action of taking a box with both arms.
In the gym we tend to do our biceps curl with high weights, but when performing the movement, when we are going to execute the eccentric phase (that is, when we “lower” the bar or dumbbell) we do not get to do it completely , leaving us to travel (for example) 15% of the route, corresponding to the starting position when we lift a weight.
This, carried out only once, will not cause us anything other than the inefficient realization of an exercise, but if we extend it over time, in the long run we will produce a deficit of strength in those first degrees of ROM , which is just in those that more force (and mechanical tension) we realize since it is when we “take off” the weight of its place of rest.
Transferred to our example of the box, what will happen if we have that deficit of force in the first degrees of movement is that we are going to try to compensate it in another way. And how? Well in this case the vast majority of people will tend to compensate with the impulse of the hip and back, which can lead to injury.
What are the best exercises for each muscle group?
Speaking of only one exercise for each muscle group as “the chosen one” may be simplifying too much since each exercise has different factors to evaluate , so the selection of exercises that we will present will be based on my opinion and personal experience and based on everything learned to this day.
Obviously, for another person there may be more significant exercises or that you consider to be better.
- Military Press : exercise to work mainly on the muscles of the shoulders (in particular, it makes special emphasis on the anterior head of the deltoid ), although we will also need to work on the muscles of the back since this will be necessary to stabilize our posture.We can perform this exercise standing or sitting and we can choose to do it with dumbbells, barbell or kettlebell (or Russian weight).
- Dominated : they are one of the star exercises of every gym, and at the same time one of the most hated by people because it is hard to get the first dominated , but then the progression is usually quite fast.
With the pull-ups we will work on the muscles of the back mainly, although the shoulders, arms and all the muscles of the core will also intervene to stabilize us and avoid swaying. It is a fairly complete exercise but as we have said, it requires hard work until we achieve our first dominated correctly.
In case of not being able to perform pull-ups, we can start by performing the following exercise:
- Rowing : can be done with dumbbells, with barbell and, even, with kettlebell(personally I am not in favor of working with pulleys since we lose the component of the instability that free weights provide).For beginners, I recommend starting with dumbbells to automate the mechanics of movement, and then move to the bar. Here we will mainly work the muscles of the back and, to a lesser extent, the arms.
- Press Banking : star exercise to work the pectorals, although it also affects the anterior head of the shoulder. We should not focus solely on this exercise and neglect the rowing or exercises for the back, as we would cause a muscular decompensation due to weakness of the posterior chain.For its mechanics and its variants both in grip (prone, supine, open, narrow, closed) and by the material to be used (dumbbells, bars and even discs), it is a very versatile movement that allows us to work the pectoral from different angles.
Quadriceps exercise (front of the thigh)
- Sentadillas : star exercise for the lower train due to the enormous muscle mass that intervenes in its execution: the quadriceps are the main muscle that intervenes, but in its execution the glutes and all the muscles of the back and the core also work to give us stability and protect the column .This exercise is undoubtedly key to having large legs.
Femoral exercise (back of the thigh)
- Dead weight : although in this exercise the back also intervenes, I personally like to include it in the leg section for the work we do with the hamstring and gluteal muscles.The deadlift can be done with a bar or dumbbells, the barbell being the one that gives us two varieties of grip (prone and mixed).
- Bicep Curl with Z Bar : While working the biceps unilaterally can be beneficial to wear decompensation between one arm and another (which is why it is said that the concentrated biceps curl is the best exercise for this muscle group), the time to work the strength of our biceps the Z bar is one of the best options.
Personally I like it more than the straight bar due to the position in the grip of the hands and its incidence on the wrists, since using the Z bar we avoid that when working with high loads the wrists “bow” and generate mechanical tension in the forearm (and more specifically in the area known as ” carpal tunnel “).
- French Press with Z Bar : the French Press or Skullbreaker is one of the best exercises to gain strength and density in the triceps (many people prefer funds in parallel or funds between banks, but I personally do not like it because of the mechanics they present and the instability they produce in the shoulder joint).
Without a doubt, the best exercise for the abdominals is good nutrition . This statement may seem an easy joke, but it is totally true. If you do not take care of the diet, you will give the same exercises that you do.