There is EXTREMELY important information in this article that will greatly impact how you train and WILL improve your results beyond a shadow of a doubt! I’m making a big promise here so make sure you read this one, all of it.
What I’m about to explain goes to the core of how to build muscle.
Understanding it and applying it will change how you workout FOREVER.
It is universally accepted that in order to produce muscle growth we need to recruit as many muscle fibers (motor units) as possible and stimulate them to grow. We therefore need to understand just HOW to do this.
With this in mind I have identified the following 2 factors as requisites for achieving this end:
- The best exercise for any body part is the one that works in harmony with the FUNCTION of that muscle
- This exercise must also involve maximal (or at least good) RESISTANCE at the peak contraction point of the movement
Simply put, each exercise must load the muscle along the path of its function AND place effective resistance on that muscle in its fully contracted position. If we employ such exercises we can be sure that we have involved the maximum number of muscle fibers and stimulated as much growth as possible.
It is important to understand this: It is ONLY when the above conditions are met that you can trigger the body’s growth mechanism maximally for any given muscle.
In my last article I shot a video showing the best bicep exercise for growth (I’ve already gotten emails from readers who implemented straight away and are LOVING it).
In that article I stated that the cable preacher curl produced really effective resistance at the peak contraction point of this movement. I also advised that you should pause briefly in this position before starting a slow negative phase of the movement. If you’ve read any of my other work, you’ll already know to train to failure.
I got the following question from someone after the article was posted…
“You said to use a straight bar in the article. Why can’t I just use the curl bar? What’s the difference?”
That’s a good question and the answer is very important.
Remember above I said that each exercise must work in harmony with the muscle’s FUNCTION as well as providing resistance in the required position.
Most people probably don’t realize that the biceps serve 2 functions. They are:
- To supinate the hand
- Elbow flexion i.e. raising the forearm up towards the upper arm
Supinating the hand is actually the primary function of the biceps. It therefore follows that the hand must be in the fully supinated position (palm facing up) to fully contract the bicep.
Test it yourself now…
- Raise your forearm so that it is at a right angle to your humerus (upper arm bone).
- Place the hand from your other arm on the bicep you are about to flex.
- Now turn your hand from a pronated position (palms facing down) to a fully supinated one. Feel how to bicep starts to contract and ONLY reaches a position of FULL contraction when the hand is fully supinated.
Having the hand in a more pronated position, as with EZ bar curls, does not allow the bicep to be fully contacted even with a heavy weight, and even at the top of the movement. It therefore doesn’t maximize muscle fiber recruitment.
Using a straight bar to perform cable preacher curls is THE way to meet the 2 criteria listed above and maximize growth stimulation.
If you are currently using EZ bar curls as part of your bicep routine, I recommend that you switch to cable preacher curls from now on.
Now, if I were to go into each body part and state what the best exercise for each is and then explain how to do it, this article would be thousands upon thousands of words long.
Instead what I’ll do is create a series of articles to go through this with you. I’ll explain:
- the function(s) of the muscle involved
- what exercise can accommodate this and provide resistance at the peak contraction point
- how to do this exercise correctly
If you’re someone who dislikes the feeling of high intensity workouts, training to failure, lactic acid build up, delayed-onset-muscle-soreness (DOMS), and so on, you’re going to HATE it.
If you’re someone who is willing to do what it takes to ENSURE muscle growth, you’re going to absolutely LOVE it, and your results! The series will be rolled out during the coming weeks.
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