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  1. #1
    Registered Anti-Hero SicilianPower's Avatar
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    How Important Is Exercise Selection For You?

    It seems that in the bodybuilding and fitness community there is two distinct schools of thought.

    The first school of thought is that exercise selection makes a big difference in physique development. The guys that believe certain exercises are for shaping, certain exercises build thickness, certain exercises can peak your biceps and so on.

    It seems to be something that a lot of old school bodybuilders believed in. For example Larry Scott teaching that preacher curls help develop the lower bicep particularly well, or Arnold saying his type of concentration curl developed the peak particularly well. Also a lot of the silver and golden era guys saying pullovers create rib cage expansion thus giving a unique look to your chest.

    The second school of thought is basically your muscle shape is entirely determined by genetics, peaks are entirely genetic there is no exercise that will give a peak, pullovers can be replaced by straight arm pulldowns because it’s the same movement pattern, etc.

    These people would say that your biceps would look the same if you were doing DB curls, hammer curls, and BB curls as it would if you focused on preachers, DB incline curls, and concentration curls.

    I can only speak for my own personal experience experience that when I added pullovers to my back routine I saw a difference. They developed my teres major much better than straight arm pulldowns despite both working the lats and there’s major.

    I was able to create a decent peak on my bicep via focusing on incline curls, Arnold concentration curls and close grip curls..when I prioritized preacher curls my arm filled out better. I definitely notice a difference when I prioritize specific exercises over other ones. So I tend to agree with the old school guys.
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  2. #2
    Registered User air2fakie's Avatar
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    Like with most things, it's not a distinct line and I don't think it's necessarily an old school or new school thought.

    IMO genetics is the most important factor in muscle development & the ease which one can do it, particularly one's bodyframe, size & dimensions.

    That being said, within the body we are given, exercise selection of course makes a big difference in how one's physique will develop. But it's only one factor of many in programming.

    In terms of bodybuilding as a sport, extra help puts both of the above literally on steroids.
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  3. #3
    Masstrophysicist Camarija's Avatar
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    I agree with air2fakie in that genetics is by fat the most important factor.

    Exercise selection just helps with specificity training, or targeting a specific muscle or movement with the efficiency of maximizing target output and limiting ancillary muscles and/or movements.

    One common example of this is choosing a hack squat as your main quad movement instead of back squats, to maximize quad recruitment and minimize the involvement of ancillary muscles that would otherwise limit total quad stimulation.

    However, your structure and potential are already largely predetermined.
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    Lifting is both a hobby and a way of life for me at this point. I have favorite exercises that I also feel are effective and I keep them in my routine like front squats, trap bar deadlifts, and barbell flat bench, but I regularly swap most other exercises every few weeks to keep things interesting. It's not even because I'm a believer in muscle confusion, it's more that significant gains don't come easy anymore and trying something different motivates me to keep grinding and enjoy the journey.
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  5. #5
    Registered User GeneralSerpant's Avatar
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    Distinction with exercises is tied up in long run results, determined by progress and your starting/ending points.

    They’re more important in strength development in short or mid-term, which nobody usually cares about unless you’re doing powerlifting bodybuilding.

    Preacher curls teach your arms to pull from a distinct leveraging situation. How good you are with a particular exercise coincides with how big or strong you already are. So if you’re already jacked or are just better at pulling than pushing exercises for instance then you will see the distinction sooner.
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  6. #6
    Registered User jaxqen's Avatar
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    "How Important Is Exercise Selection For You?" - for me it's somewhat relevant, but not that important, because I will never be an advanced bodybuilder and I think it matters more for guys who want to compete in bodybuilding.

    Both are important.
    Genetics and exercise selection.

    You cannot have success in bb without good genetics and without having a variety of exercises.
    One cannot get a good bodybuilder chest by only doing flat bench.... unless weird genetics.
    He would need inclines and flies.

    And yeah, I believe some exercises determine the shape of the muscles, for guys who have enough muscle mass.
    E.g. Chinups will involve more lower lats and pullups will involve more upper lats.


    But I don't see it as a problem because who the hell does the same exercise all over again.

    For example, you mentioned biceps.
    I could use a variety of exercises, training them twice a week.

    Day 1:
    - barbell curls
    - incline curls

    Day 2:
    - dumbbell curls
    - preacher curls

    After a few months, these exercises get stale\you get bored with them.
    So you switch to:

    Day 1:
    - reverse curls
    - spider curls

    Day 2:
    - concentration curls
    - bayesian curls

    You have 8 exercises with the same movement - elbow flexion.

    Same for other muscle groups.

    So I don't see it as much of a problem when it comes to bodybuilding.

    -----------------------------

    Pullovers might have the same movement pattern as straight arm pulldowns, but are different.
    It's like saying RDLs and hyperextensions are the same, because they are both hinge movements.

    -----------------------------

    If I will ever be a dictator and I will give up on my morals, I will kidnap twins and put them in isolation, forcing them to do all kinds of experiments, while their wives would become part of my harem.

    Twin 1: standing bb curls and standing db curls with the same grip

    Twin 2: different curls, with different grips and different body angles.

    Same volume, same nutrition, same conditions.
    My loyal trained deadly soldiers will make sure they both will use the same RPE.

    Hopefully, the stress won't kill them before finding out if there are any differences.
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  7. #7
    Registered User GeneralSerpant's Avatar
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    Progression typically translates to muscle growth. The strength curves for exercises are rather dynamic, but you mainly just notice the target muscle, and it’s usually just vaguely bigger as far as one can remember. That’s where the adage comes in to forget about focusing on variations. The distinction isn’t a part of the general muscle growth of the target, but eventually on the strength curve is when the distinction is chiseled as all the conventional muscle firing patterns have become exhausted.
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  8. #8
    on probation weiss1967's Avatar
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    I strongly disagree with genetics being important factor at all. It is not. Genetics is only pre-disposition for certain body shape, or behavioral pattern. It is easily compensated (offset) by dedicated work in areas where we lack.

    GeneralS is spot on talking about power curves. I would add here two more things. First is angle. Any muscle can be employed in varying degree of angles - look at chest with its incline-decline-flat, or delts etc. Each angle employs slightly different bundle, therefore driving a slightly different shape of a muscle.

    Another thing is a depletion, or degree of exhaustion. We can be intuitively slacking at certain exercises, because they feel weird, therefore building a bit of unbalance in development i.e. different shape. This intuitive slacking at certain exercises speaks about genetic pre-disposition. Do more of what is hard.

    I have seen a bunch of young soldiers grow to look remarkably similar over the course of service together. Maybe some love sweets, some hate squats, but all go through same exercises with same level of exhaustion.
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  9. #9
    Registered User FitnessbyPal's Avatar
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    Exercise selection can indeed be a topic of debate within the bodybuilding and fitness community, with differing opinions on its importance. Some individuals believe that exercise selection plays a significant role in shaping and developing specific muscle groups, while others argue that muscle shape and genetic factors have a greater influence.
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  10. #10
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    Exercise selection matters a lot IMO. I've seen guys respond really well to some movements and poorly to others. Usually their posture and build make some movements less optimal than others. Other times, exercises have a tonic effect on some indiviudals. I was hammering kettlebell work for a few months and developed some tennis elbow. Once I added some preacher curls performed with strict form, pain went away and within a few weeks my biceps gained a lot of "peak" and my rows improved because I wasn't dealing with pain.

    At the beginner stage, keep it simple and basic. As you go on, it's okay to become a bit of a mad scientist like Louie Simmons or Dave Tate or Charles Glass. Or stay a traditional mad monk... whatever fits your journey. I think a lot of guys become mad scientists because it keeps things interesting too.
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  11. #11
    Registered User EliKoehn's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by weiss1967 View Post
    I strongly disagree with genetics being important factor at all. It is not. Genetics is only pre-disposition for certain body shape, or behavioral pattern. It is easily compensated (offset) by dedicated work in areas where we lack.

    GeneralS is spot on talking about power curves. I would add here two more things. First is angle. Any muscle can be employed in varying degree of angles - look at chest with its incline-decline-flat, or delts etc. Each angle employs slightly different bundle, therefore driving a slightly different shape of a muscle.

    Another thing is a depletion, or degree of exhaustion. We can be intuitively slacking at certain exercises, because they feel weird, therefore building a bit of unbalance in development i.e. different shape. This intuitive slacking at certain exercises speaks about genetic pre-disposition. Do more of what is hard.

    I have seen a bunch of young soldiers grow to look remarkably similar over the course of service together. Maybe some love sweets, some hate squats, but all go through same exercises with same level of exhaustion.
    +1 IMO

    One thing that does seem to separate golden age bodybuilders from the norm today, for all of the mistaken science about ****totypes and rib cage expansion and the like, is an insistence upon work ethic and aiming very high in spite of what you think you can do. Yes, the best of them were not natural, but I think there's still way too much of a trigger-happiness in recent years with allegations of genetic limits and natural impossibilities which tend towards people selling their potential short and not working as hard.
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