Exercise Classifications and Analyses

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Biomechanical vs Muscular Analyses

The Kettlebell Deadlift page doesn't seem to list the same muscles worked as the Barbell Deadlift page. Is this an oversight? Has the specificity of the muscles targeted section changed? Or am I missing something about the difference between kettlebell workouts and workouts with barbells? Same for the Kettlebell Sumo Deadlift and Barbell Sumo Deadlift.

Also, this page (Kettlebell Press) doesn't mention shoulder or triceps muscles. Is this page incomplete?

On ExRx.net, exercises that are generally associated with ‘functional’ style training (such as Kettlebell, Olympic-style Weightlifts, Plyometrics, Cardio, and other Miscellaneous exercises) are analyzed by the force of joint articulation. Listing every muscle responsible for many of these sort of exercises would result in an exhaustively long list. Take the Kettlebell Turkish Get-up, as an example. However, you have pointed out, some kettlebell exercises share the same movement patterns as exercises listed in the main Exercise Directory.

Kettlebell Deadlift Trap Bar Deadlift

Generally speaking, the exercises listed in the main Exercise Directory are more muscle group centric. If you are interested in examining which muscle groups are involved in exercises not listed in the main Exercise Directory, simply view the closest exercise in the main Exercise Directory, as you have guessed. For other movements with no equivalent movements listed in the main Exercise Directory, simply click on the joint articulations listed on the respective exercise page and view the list of muscles responsible for each movement.

It may not be a perfect method, but I believe it works for most people's analysis objectives. Those interested in muscular aesthetics, bodybuilding, physical therapy, and possibly even powerlifting, to some extent, tend to be more muscle group focused. These are the sort of exercises you'll see in the main Exercise Directory, generally speaking. Those using exercises geared toward sports training or functional fitness tend to focus on movement pattern, so you'll see them analyzed by joint articulations in those particular directories. Obviously, there are a lot of crossover and arguably some discrepancies. However, it should not take that much effort to discern the specific muscle exercised by either of the above mentioned methods.

Incidentally, the Kettlebell Deadlift is more similar to the Trap Bar Deadlift with the handles to the sides. However, this minor subtlety distinguishing those movements from the Barbell Deadlift does not affect the biomechanical or muscular analysis listing. It only affects the degree of relative involvement from one exercise to another.

To make things a bit easier, I'll include a link to comparable exercises on the relevant kettlebell exercises. Thanks for your question.


Weight Training Exercise Utility Classification

Some exercises are categorized as "Basic or Auxiliary". Does that mean some authorities consider it basic, and others auxiliary, or you can make it either one (depending on the way you do it)?

The latter. The classifications can be seen as a continuum. An exercise utility is also dependent upon the inclusion of other exercises. For example, an incline bench press is an auxiliary exercise in the context of a full body routine, but a basic exercise in a split program. A step up is an auxiliary exercise when included with squats, but an auxiliary exercise if a leg extension is performed instead. You will find the definitions in the glossary eludes to relative characteristics.


What are Plyometrics?

Hello, I'm an Italian boy, and I don't know what plyometric means, you have used this term to indicate the utility of an exercise for the obliques, could you explain to me what it means? Thank you.

A plyometric is an explosive movement performed after a quick intense loading. As in the case of plyometric oblique movements, this involves fast repetitive movements performed between rapid stretches to each side. The rapid changes of inertia, or momentum provides the loading for these types of oblique exercises. See core under power exercises.


Significance of Functional Classifications and Listed Order of Muscles

Thanks so much for an amazing resource! I am a 56-year old “student” of exercise and workouts and I was hoping I could ask two quick questions?

  1. Can you tell me the importance of the order muscles are listed in under each exercise? For instance, Chin-up has a list of synergists muscles a particular order. Are these ordered according to workout load, or the chronological order of when each muscle is engaged in this exercise?
  2. Does a Dynamic Stabilizer work as hard as a synergist, or harder? I realize it may vary according to exercise and muscle, but generally speaking. During chin-ups, for example again, does the Brachialis as a synergist get hit harder than the Biceps Brachii (dynamic stabilizer).

These answers will help me as I get more specific with the exercises I use in my workouts.

For the most part, these assisting muscles are not listed in any meaningful order, other than grouped by function or general relationships. However, you may find remnants from the early days when I initially attempted to group them by order of intensity. That was soon abandoned since there are so many potentially ambiguous variables involved.

Also the function or classification of how a muscle is used in a given exercise is not indicative of its relative intensity compared to how other muscles may be classified. You may find certain cases where a particular functional classification may seem to be more or less intense, but in fact will not hold true in other cases, depending on various factors, including the general movement, how the exercise is performed, individual biomechanical variations, relative conditioning of various muscle groups, etc.

The workout templates will provide a good starting point to allow you to select exercises for a workout. Your basic compound movements will form as the base of your training, whether training for strength, increased muscle mass, or general health.

After several months, you may find particular movements or muscle groups that respond more or less favorably to training. Alterations to the program can be made to address areas of weakness including choosing alternative exercises, adding supplemental movements, arranging exercise order, and/or selecting splits that allow for weaker muscles to be exercised more intensely.


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