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Choosing Your Exercises

Okay, so you've read my training page and didn't agree with some of my exercise prescriptions or you can't do some of the exercises. That's okay, we are all different. The exercises listed in the article are the ones that I have found to be the most useful for me. You may fond other "best" exercises for you. However, the best exercises for any one should adhere to some basic rules.

1) The best exercises are multi-joint in nature. That is exercises that require the movement of more that one set of joints in the body. The bench press is an example of a multi-joint exercise. The barbell curl is not, contrary to popular belief it seems. The reason for the use of multi-joint exercises is simply that they allow you to work more than one muscle group at a time. This allows you to reduce the volume of your training, reducing the risk of overtraining. If you decide to use single joint exercises it will take dozens of exercises in order to work the entire musculature of the body.

2) If you look at the calculations from the last article you will notice that some exercises will give much higher Intensity Indexes than others. Those that give the largest I.I.'s for each muscle group are the best exercises simple because they allow the use of the largest amount of weight and require the highest output by the body.

3) Make sure that the exercise is safe for you to perform. Some people cannot safely perform the bench or the squat, for example. If that is the case for you than you must find substitute exercises. A great way to test an exercise if you have never done it before is to place yourself in the stretched position of the exercise without additional weight and see if that position is comfortable. If you feel any pain or numbness in your joints in this position then the exercise is probably not for you. Try a different one.

That's pretty much it. If an exercise adheres to these three criteria then is likely to be a very productive exercise for you. But if an exercise ever causes you joint pain stop it immediately. Never risk injury because some guy in the gym tells you that an exercise is the best, there is no best only the best for you!

Keep pumpin':

Shannon Pittman

Copyright © 2001 by Shannon Pittman, B. Sc.

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