Many of the best exercises that have proven their muscle building capabilities through more than 50 years of bodybuilding history and have been used by all great bodybuilding champions, including the most recent ones. These basic exercises are usually simple to perform and represent very natural movements.
Exercises performed with your own body weight or free weights (barbells and especially dumbbells) are by far the most effective as they usually allow very natural movements, full range of motion, and continuous tension. Machines and cable exercises should be avoided whenever possible, as their mechanical friction lowers the tension on the muscle during the down-phase of your reps, and they often limit the range of motion.
Any exercise that doesn't allow you to perform quality reps, which comply with the principles of continuous tension and full range of motion, should be avoided. A good exercise should place about the same force on your muscle at any phase of the rep (bottom, up, top, down), and should allow the greatest possible range of motion (from longest muscle stretch to shortest muscle contraction).
There are two different arguments for doing compound or isolated exercises. The first argument is that being a natural bodybuilder, you need the strongest possible muscle growth stimulation you can get. Therefore isolation exercises, which allow you to put all your energy and intensity into one single target muscle group at a time, are preferred over compound power movements that involve many muscle groups simultaneously, and lead to exhaustion before maximum muscle growth stimulation of all involved muscles has occurred.
The other argument is that doing compound exercises will increase your overall strength and allow you to put on muscle all over your body as you get stronger. Both of these arguments hold water and it usually will depend on how long you have been training that will give you the answer.
You need to select proven basic exercises that follow a very natural movement, which allow you to isolate the targeted muscle group as much as possible, which can be performed with free weights (if possible one-sided), and which allow you to do quality reps under continuous tension over the greatest possible range of motion.
Probably the most important point is the ability to isolate and focus your mind on as specific a muscle group as possible. This means continuous tension which can be applied to any exercise and the only way to apply this technique is by thinking about it.
For more information go to The Secrets to Natural Bodybuilding Training
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