Preferred exercises for different muscles

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dcr
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Preferred exercises for different muscles

Post by dcr » Mon May 08, 2006 4:50 pm

I know there's not really a right or wrong answer for most of these, but does anyone have any insights into the pros and cons of different ways to exercise different muscle groups, or any reasons at all for their preferences.

Some of the ones in particular that interest me are...

Chest: Dumbbell vs Barbell Bench
Back: Cable Row vs Lever Row vs Bent Over Row
Triceps: Extension vs Machine Dips vs Pushdown
Calves: Calf Press vs Standing Calf Raise
Front Shoulders: Military Press vs Dumbbell Shoulder Press vs Barbell Shoulder Press
Rear Shoulders: Rear Delt Row vs Rear Lateral Raise

as well as Abs, where I've toyed with crunches, incline situps, Jackknives, unweighted versions with high reps, weighted versions with lower reps, single and multiple sets, and really have no idea of the most effective way to work them, if there is one.

If any exercises might be better tailored to specific goals (endurance vs strength, etc.) that type of info would be helpful too.

Anyway I know this is a lot of questions at once, but I'd appreciate any input for any of these questions, or anyone pointing me to a place that has already attempted to answer.

Thanks in advance.

Matt Z
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Post by Matt Z » Mon May 08, 2006 5:14 pm

Barbell vrs Dumbbell Bench Press

While both are compound movements dumbbells seem to target the pectorals more specifically, while the barbell lift is more of an all-around upper body push movement. Also, dumbbells are obviously more difficult to balance and control. Meanwhile, it's easier to cheat with a barbell, so you have to watch your form.

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Post by Matt Z » Mon May 08, 2006 5:22 pm

I also like lever rows (Hammer Strength and T-bar), partly because it's easier to hold onto the weight, since it doesn't roll in your hand like a barbell (I don't like wrist straps), and partly because I find it easier to move the weight in a slow and controlled manner without cheating.

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Post by Mog16 » Mon May 08, 2006 5:55 pm

Favorite Exercises

Chest: barbell (too many years of barbell benching) though cable crosses come close second
(horizontal) Back: bent over row (seem to get the best 'feeling' from it, and I look damn huge doing it :-))
triceps: lying ez-curl extension (seems to give best feeling, pushdowns are close second though)
Calves: standing calf raise (even though I can push rediculous poundage (~900) on a 45 degree leg press, I feel like I get much better work out of raises in which you go to the top of your normal ROM then push up another couple inches (hell of a great burn))
Anterior Deltoid: Dumbell press (I end up going too heavy on barbell press and drop 185+ lbs on my head from time to time)
Posterior Deltoid: slight incline rear lateral raise with rotation so palms are facing feet at end of motion (I feel this one best, rear delt row never seems to target as specifically)

As for Abs/obliques/hip flexors I have a multitude of exercises that I do, I think that the key to getting a good workout is learning how to bend appropriately, a lot of people bend at the hips when trying to work their abs when they should be bending through the trunk.
Favorite ab: weighted physio ball crunches
Favorite Oblique: overhead side bends (though this may place excess stress on spine? anyone know?)
favorite hip flexor: weighted physio ball leg raises (these are pretty intense)

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Post by Ryan A » Mon May 08, 2006 10:45 pm

I will only comment on the ones you say you are interested in to keep this short:

Chest: Dumbbell vs Barbell Bench
Advantage to Dumbbell as others have stated is it better develops the stabilizers and therefore can keep you more balanced and functionally strong. Barbell bench allows for superior weight and therefore superior overload of the target muscle.

Back: Cable Row vs Lever Row vs Bent Over Row
Cable Row is good in that you have to use your lower back a little bit but not too much and can therefore get a nice rest if you need to work around a lower back day. Also, it is very easy to very the handles used to get a wide variety of stimuli.
Level Row (I dont really know about this but I will assume it is a machine) I find this is nice because I can hold my arms at the exact angle I want without working too hard and target specific muscles in the back more than others very easily. Often, these also allow independent work of each side which is a plus.
Bent over Row: very functional and you can probably use the most weight here as you can cheat a bit. This cheating also can make it dangerous and difficult to keep in a good position to avoid injury. A disadvantage is it places a lot of load on your lower back.

Triceps: Extension vs Machine Dips vs Pushdown
Extensions are good because you can do them unilaterally and with a dumbbell.

Machine dips are a good way to be sure to develop relative strength.

Pushdowns, you can handle a lot of weight without putting too much stress on the other upper body muscles.


Calves: Calf Press vs Standing Calf Raise

I woudl say standing calf raises are pretty hard to do effectively as you would need something like triiple bodyweight on the bar to do anything and loading this up and putting it on your back is a chore and can be dangerous. No real difference between this and a calf press. Seated Calf raises do work different muscles however and should be considered.

Front Shoulders: Military Press vs Dumbbell Shoulder Press vs Barbell Shoulder Press

I am unaware that miltary press and barbell shoulder press are different. Dumbbells like in the chest example work more stabilizers.

Rear Shoulders: Rear Delt Row vs Rear Lateral Raise

Better isolation in the lateral raises while usually superior weight in the row.

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Post by Matt Z » Tue May 09, 2006 2:09 pm

I prefer Seated Military Presses over Seated Dumbbell Presses simply because it can be very akward to lift a pair of heavy dumbbells into position at the start of a set. With a barbell you can just lift the weight off a rack and go to work.

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Post by Mog16 » Tue May 09, 2006 3:02 pm

for seated dumbell you can avoid having to hoist the weights from your knees to starting position by doing the exercise in a rack and have the weights sitting on the bars (the bars in my gym are about 3 inches wide) at about shoulder height

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