Monthly Archive October 29, 2020

BySteve Howard

Foods rich in creatine

Creatine, commonly known as creatine monohydrate in sports nutrition, is an oligopeptide with 3 amino acids of glycine, arginine and methionine. It has the formula C4H9N3O2 and its molar mass is 131.133 g / mol. For biochemists, it is presented as a nitrogen derivative found in the body within skeletal muscles and in the brain. According to the results of numerous studies, creatine combined with resistance exercise could increase mass and strength without fat (1). Combined with phosphate in the form of phosphocreatine, this is an energy source immediately available in the muscle. Bodybuilding and strength sports practitioners as well as weightlifters find their value enormously in this molecule. Indeed, the scientific literature best supports creatine supplementation for increased performance in resistance training of short duration and maximum intensity (2).

Sources of creatine for the body

The human body naturally produces this molecule at a daily level of 1 to 2 g depending on the food intake. The endogenous synthesis of creatine depends on the body’s needs, which can vary from person to person. Today it is possible to increase your creatine levels through supplementation. This is because creatine is available as a dietary supplement usually in the form of a white powder that dissolves in water. This creatine is obtained synthetically by chemists, like the majority of micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals.

In a sense, powdered creatine remains a natural nutritional supplement as it is made by the body (pancreas, liver and kidneys) from amino acids and can also be obtained directly from food. However, there is a problem with the purity of commercially available creatine. This has manufacturing residues which can be dangerous if used long term. It is true that it is possible to extract creatine from food, but it would be too expensive and much more complicated to implement. To benefit from an exceptional and high purity, it is necessary to opt for creatine creatapure.

Creatine in food

Over 30 years ago, in 1979 to be more precise, Walker argued that creatine was only found in vertebrates, but not in microorganisms or plants. Still according to him, this molecule was concentrated in the muscles, and the primary sources were fish and meat. Fifteen years later, Balsom and Al discover traces of creatine in plants. However, the creatine level was quite low, if not lower. But studies still confirm that the primary sources of creatine are fish and meat. Here is a list of foods with their creatine content:

  • Herring contains 6.5 to 10 g / kg
  • Pork contains 5 g / kg
  • Beef contains 4.5 g / kg
  • Salmon contains 4.5 g / kg
  • Tuna contains 4 g / kg
  • Cod contains 3 g / kg
  • Milk contains 0.1 g / kg
  • Cherries contain 0.02 g / kg

Based on the data in this list, animal flesh contains the highest amounts of creatine. For example, there is about 3 to 5 g of creatine per pound of uncooked fish like salmon and tuna, and meats like pork and beef. Herring, on the other hand, has the highest amount of creatine as it can go up to 10g per kilo. However, the way of cooking can destroy some of the creatine in these foods. Thus, the amount of creatine from the diet of omnivores may be reduced depending on how these foods are prepared.

You should know that food intake of creatine is not the same in everyone. Indeed, it has been suggested that supplementation with creatine and β-alanine may be particularly helpful for vegan athletes, due to vegetarian diets promoting lower muscle creatine and lower muscle carnosine levels in consumers (3). People with a normal diet with a protein intake of up to 2 g / kg of body weight will be able to obtain between 0.25 and 1 g of dietary creatine per day. And although it is quite possible to increase the intake by consuming more foods rich in creatine, it would be quite difficult to obtain more than 4 g / day since it would be necessary to absorb too much. of fish or meat. Indeed, to have 3 to 4 g of creatine per day, it will then be necessary to consume a kilogram of beef, pork or herring, or even more depending on the way of cooking them, which is not at all obvious.

Increased creatine intake

If it’s difficult to get your creatine level up through food, what should you do? For individuals wishing to increase the creatine level in their body, it will be necessary for them to use creatine-based food supplements. Supplementation can increase the level of creatine in the muscles to some degree. However, according to various physiological and biochemical data, it has been established that large intakes of creatine do not allow storage of this molecule in the muscles. According to the results of these studies, there are various enzymatic feedback and regulatory mechanisms within the cells constituting muscles that oppose such storage.

While creatine manufacturers recommend intensive use of creatine supplementation, unfortunately such intakes are not absorbed by the body and are directly excreted in the urine (4). Creatine supplements are safe and do not cause kidney disease. Reports of kidney damage associated with its use are rare. However, creatine supplements should not be used in people with chronic kidney disease or using potentially nephrotoxic drugs (5).

Although many foods contain fairly large amounts of creatine, such as fish and meat, food intake does not meet the creatine needs of some people who exercise vigorously. In order for them to increase their creatine levels properly, they will need to turn to supplementation. Creatine monohydrate has already been evaluated by various competent authorities and several have come to the conclusion that a daily intake of 3 g of creatine per person is unlikely to pose safety concerns, focusing on healthy adults to exclusion of pregnant and breastfeeding women (6).

BySteve Howard

The Best Biceps Exercises To Do Without Equipment

Strength training is the best way to gain muscle mass quickly. In addition to the aesthetic aspect, the arms are constantly used, whether in everyday life or for other sports activities. There is therefore a double interest in training, you still have to know how to do it!

If you’ve been looking for exercises and methods to build your biceps without equipment , you’ve come to the right place. I also started weight training at home, without any equipment. With experience, I can share my feedback with you so that you can progress faster while avoiding certain mistakes.

In addition to showing you a sure way to have bigger arms, you will know if your goals are achievable and in how long. To help you with your program, a list of biceps exercises to do at home is waiting for you at the end of the article.


Is training without equipment enough to have big biceps?

Are you going to have results without going to the gym, thanks in part to the body weight? To give a clear answer, yes, you will have something to do to develop your biceps without equipment .

They are easy to tire and hypertrophy with little or no material, unlike other large muscle groups, such as the pecs.

However, the choice of exercises and holds is limited. It is therefore in your best interest to structure your bodybuilding program , so as not to stagnate quickly.

The ideal is still to get the bare minimum in order to vary the exercises, the grips and the loads for a few euros. The investment is well worth the effort:

  • Elastics
  • A dumbbell and a few kilos of cast iron (minimum, 2 discs of 5kg and 4 discs of 2kg).

How long does it take to develop your biceps without equipment?

Another frequent question, how long does it take to have your first results? Truth be told, it depends, it doesn’t.

The speed of progression depends on a lot of things. Not everyone starts from the same point and everyone has their own goals. In addition to your age, lifestyle and genetics, it is above all the regularity and intensity of your weight training sessions that will allow you to reach your goals.

double biceps physique musculation

With perseverance, you will be able to notice a visual difference after 3 to 4 months of rigorous practice, even with little equipment.

How many repetitions, sets, exercises and weight training can you do to work your biceps?

You will understand, it is above all the quality of your sessions and your discipline that will allow you to increase your performance and your results, but beware! Remember that one of the keys to progress in bodybuilding is recovery.

If you don’t stick to this baseline, you risk ending up over-training. The risks?

  • Nervous exhaustion (loss of strength)
  • Biceps pathology, tendonitis…
  • Poor muscle recovery
  • Hormonal disruption

So this is the opposite of what we are looking for … I wrote an article to find out if weight training every day is a good or a bad idea.

In fact, there is no silver bullet. However, I can give you some tips on how to have a consistent basis for your biceps program .

Questions Answers Notes
How many repetitions? 6 to 15 If the goal is to gain muscle mass
How many series? ~ 4 by exercise Stop when losing strength or getting bored
How many exercises? 1 à 3 Vary the angles and exercises from one session to another
How many sessions? 3 per week 1 day of rest minimum between each session

It will differ from person to person. Over time and with experience, you can determine what works best for you. Note that sooner or later you will have to increase the number of sets and / or exercises to hypertrophy your muscles , in this case, your biceps.

Push-ups and dips, unnecessary exercises to build your biceps

While chatting or searching the net, I’m amazed at how many people think push-ups and dips are helpful for working the biceps. It is important to remember the function of the biceps and the other arm muscles to understand why this is totally wrong.

  • Biceps: allows you to flex the forearm (pulling movement)
  • Triceps: to stretch the arm or bring it back to the body (pushing movement)
  • Forearms: Lower, raise, open or shake the hand. Certain muscles also allow the forearm to be raised or lowered.

Thus, it is enough just to put a tension, a constraint during the solicitation of the target muscle, to develop and strengthen it.

In the case of dips and push-ups, it’s when pushing, when you stretch out your arms, that the movement is difficult. As a result, it is not the biceps that are used, but rather the triceps (as well as the shoulders and pectorals).

Let’s rectify the mistake: push-ups and dips don’t make for bigger biceps, but rather more big arms , thanks to the development of the triceps.

The secret to having big arms: biceps, triceps and forearms

It is always good to remember that a good physique is a harmonious physique . You need to take the time to work all of your muscles and not a specific muscle group to have satisfactory results.

When it comes to the upper body, I find that a lot of practitioners are working hard on the biceps to get bigger arms. However, it is especially the triceps that give the most mass. Maybe your problem is there?

Lack of forearms can also be a problem. If you lack forearm mass compared to biceps and triceps, the result will be much less impressive. If Stallone looks massive, it’s mainly thanks to his over-developed forearms.

sylvester stallone avant-bras musculation

Bottom Line: If the initial goal is to have big arms, I strongly encourage you to develop all of the arm muscles . It is above all consistency and muscle definition that should be sought, not size.

Supine traction, the only polyarticular exercise to work the biceps without equipment

Contrary to popular belief, the horizontal bar pull-up (or chest pull-up) is the only polyarticular exercise for the biceps.

The advantages of this exercise are multiple:

  • It does not require any hardware
  • The body weight is more than sufficient at first
  • The exercise exploits the tension / length relationship of the biceps, so you are stronger

Of course, as this is a polyarticular exercise , other muscles will also be engaged, especially those of the back. Note that hanging from a bar also improves your grip and therefore strengthen certain muscles of the forearm .

To get the most out of the biceps work in this exercise, it is important to perform it with a supine grip, i.e. with the palms facing you, then lean a little forward back when pulling to limit the work of the back muscles.

exercice biceps sans matériel traction
Here , overhand traction. It is necessary to perform the exercise in supination to favor the work of the biceps, with a grip equivalent to the width of the shoulder

Another important point, the range of motion . Be careful during the descent not to fully stretch the arms, the biceps are vulnerable with a supine grip, this can lead to muscle tearing. In fact, it is one of the most common injuries in weight training. The goal is to build muscle , not to injure yourself for a “cleaner” movement.

Strategies for improving strength in pull-ups

Often times when you are just starting out, it is difficult to chain reps to pull-ups. If you really have trouble doing pull-ups, you can find alternatives to quickly progress on this exercise. Here are some options:

  • Pure negative: perform the descent only
  • Elastic: to relieve a little weight, just hang it on the bar and let a foot or a knee rest on it
  • Reverse Rowing: Do the exercise with a bar close to the floor. The body is almost horizontal with the feet on the ground, so there is less weight to pull.

You can also consult this article if you want to increase your strength, in order to progress during your sessions.

Isolation exercises for the biceps to do at home

After reaching a certain point, isolation exercises will be useful for rebalancing certain portions of the biceps. To understand the importance of a “balanced” biceps, it is necessary to talk about anatomy. Here are the arm muscles to develop primarily with the biceps:

  • Biceps: short and long head
  • Brachialis (anterior)
  • Brachioradial (formerly long supinator)
anatomie muscles bras biceps brachial

Over time, you will have to modify your training program to correct the imbalances. The most frequent cases are as follows:

  • The long chef is often late compared to the short chef.
  • The anterior brachialis is often less developed than the other portions of the biceps.
  • The brachioradialis is also often overlooked, which can be crippling and problematic if you have short biceps.
muscle avant-bras brachio-radial

To remedy these problems, three variations of dumbbell curl are particularly effective. The exercises listed below can be done with a single dumbbell , rubber bands, or both combined to modulate tension.

Exercise 1: Supination curl for the long and short head of the biceps

Undoubtedly one of the most popular exercises, the supination grip curl (palms of the hands towards you) allows you to recruit mainly the long and short head. At least, this is usually where you feel the most work on your biceps.

exercice curl biceps haltère

The unilateral exercise , that is to say one arm at a time, is preferable to have more strength during the series. As the work isn’t overly exhausting, you can do one arm while the other is resting to save time.

While the exercise sounds straightforward, you should still pay attention to the range of motion to avoid injury. To do this, you must be careful not to stretch your arm too much during the descent, as during the pull-ups. Aches in the ends of the biceps is not a good sign and usually means that you have stretched your arms too far.

Another detail that may seem insignificant: the placement of the elbow. If the elbow is at the back of the bust, you will mainly work on the long head of the biceps . In contrast, the leader runs is better insulated when the elbow is in front of the bust. It’s up to you to judge which leader is behind the other.

Exercise 2: Target the brachialis with the hammer curl

Usually underdeveloped, the brachialis can eventually grow as large as the biceps. You can easily tell how weak the brachii muscle is when you contract the biceps (lack of relief). It should also be mentioned that with this intake you further strengthen the muscles in your forearm.

The execution of the movement remains the same as in supination, except that the grip is neutral (thumbs up). However, this variant is still less dangerous, so you can reach out without fear of injuring yourself.

With a neutral grip, your arm is in a strong position, you will be able to put much heavier on this exercise.

Exercise 3: Catch the weakness of a short bicep with the pronation curl

The potential for muscle development is directly correlated with the size of your muscle, on top of that a long muscle will always be more impressive than a short muscle.

The advantage of having a short bicep is that you have a very noticeable peak when you contract it, but when released it looks thinner.

You can easily determine the length of your muscle. To do this, just contract it to see if the gap between the bicep and forearm is too large.

Unfortunately, you can’t lengthen your muscles, but all is not lost for your biceps. It is always possible to make up for this gap by developing the brachioradialis .

To emphasize the work of the brachioradial when performing curls, just perform the hand over pronation exercise , that is to say facing the ground.

The exercise may seem uncomfortable for the first few sessions. Do not hesitate to play with the rotation of your hand to have a working angle adapted to your body type, you get used to it quickly.

As with the hammer curl, it is possible to extend the arm at the end of the movement without risk of injury. Moreover, you can gradually switch to a neutral grip over the course of your series, when fatigue begins to be felt, to scratch a few repetitions.

There you go, all you have to do is build your workout program with this workout list. You really have to pay attention to your strengths and weaknesses to work effectively and have results that meet your expectations.

Are you interested in training programs for the biceps that you can do without equipment?

BySteve Howard

How to Increase Muscle Strength: 4 WAYS

Using weight training to increase your muscle strength for another sport or for daily activities is the solution of choice. For a bodybuilding practitioner , wanting to increase their strength can also help unlock a period of stagnation. The problem ? Pushing weights without a method does little to help.

In theory, there are a number of ways to do this, but the idea is to focus on the best that is done. That’s why I’m going to give you 4 ways to increase muscle strength quickly and effectively. Inspired by powerlifting practitioners, strength specialists.

augmenter sa force poids musculation

Here is the summary:

Increasing muscle strength is not just a big deal

Who hasn’t heard that weight training is bloat?

Between a non-athletic person and a bodybuilder with a lot of muscle mass, it is obvious who will be stronger. However, we’ve all seen a video where a bodybuilder gets beaten up by a professional arm wrestler, even though he looks less muscular. People therefore deduce that weight training does not necessarily make you stronger.

The arm wrestling example is perfect, because indeed, the size of a muscle is not the first factor of strength . Much of it comes from the nervous system, the one that sends information to muscles to contract.

bras de fer échec

Indeed, the training of this professional will be oriented so as to become strong on this movement in particular. Not only by working the muscles requested during the effort, but also his technique, by repeating the same gestures over and over again.

This is how he strengthens, creates and learns to use the same nervous circuit . His nervous system will then be able to quickly and efficiently mobilize the muscle fibers .

Ultimately, the goal is the same, to work on your nervous system to increase your muscle strength . Therefore, the best way is weight training, but the way to practice it must be adapted.

Prepare before and during training to be strong

At first glance, if you are looking to increase your strength, then you need it for something in particular. Whether for a athlete or not, it is important to know that to get closer to your maximum potential, you have to prepare.

Indeed, many people throw themselves under the bars or start to practice their sport without warming up properly. It’s a bit like a car, which needs to be heated before you can enjoy it. Therefore, unprepared training can not only lead to injury, but also decrease its effectiveness.

Therefore, it is essential to follow a few steps. To know first of all its real performance, although part of it is also impacted by healthy living.

Warm up well to force yourself

échauffement musculation

Warming up isn’t all about injury prevention. It also helps to prepare the nervous system for a intense effort .

Take the test, load a squat bar at your usual workload without any warm-up. In this case, you will feel like the bar weighs a ton on top of your legs shaking. In fact, one way to know that the warm-up was insufficient is to see an increase in repetitions over the series on the same exercise. The nervous system was actually unprepared.

First, to warm up well, you can follow its steps:

  1. Global warming: to raise the body temperature thanks to a rower or walking for example.
  2. Warm up the muscles and joints: light, with exercises for the muscles that are going to be used. For example, to prepare on a bench press , it is necessary not only to warm up the pecs , but also the triceps , the biceps , deltoids and rotator cuff .
  3. Build up gradually: On the final exercise, do 2 to 3 sets before starting, gradually adding weight without getting tired.

The potentiation to gain muscle strength instantly

A little bonus for gaining strength immediately in a short period of time is to use potentiation . Indeed, it is possible to give yourself the illusion of wearing a bar lighter than usual by “fooling” your nervous system.

In theory, using an electro-stimulator is ideal for potenting your muscles (although I never had the opportunity to test). In practice, since it is rare to have access to this device, it is possible to do otherwise.

For this, several scenarios:

  • You want to temporarily gain strength on a classic series. For example a set of 10 reps: Before starting your sets, you can do 2 to 3 repetitions with a weight heavier than your workload.
  • You want to increase your strength for 1RM (one repetition maximum). In this case, just put heavier than your 1RM, say 120%, then maintain the weight 5 to 10 seconds, without movement. For example your 1RM bench press is 100kg, the idea is to put on 120kg to hold the bar at arm’s length without doing repetitions.

It is also possible to use potentiator exercises , such as heavy shrugs for the upper body and the press (or squat) for lower body.

The rest time too short

Sometimes the lack of strength can also come from rest periods .

Indeed, a bodybuilding practitioner can quickly stagnate on a polyarticular exercise in particular, if he does not give his nervous system time to recover sufficiently between two sets. Unlike the breath and the burning sensation, it’s hard to know when our nervous system is ready to resume effort.

A simple way to know if you need to lengthen your rest or not to regain your strength is to see a decrease in the number of repetitions over the sets. For information, rest times can easily go up to 5 or even 7 minutes if the goal is to increase your strength.

The execution of the exercise and the number of repetitions

To become strong, it is important to follow a few rules, especially about performing the exercise and repetitions. The main goal is not to be stamina or to gain muscle mass, but always to work on your nervous system. Therefore, it is important:

  • Perform a low number of repetitions with a load close to your max: 4 to 6 preferably up to 10 for the legs.
  • To work in explosive .

This is not about taking the negative, but rather taking advantage of the energy build-up on the descent to be stronger on the push (or pull). On the other hand, the use of a low repetition range, performed explosively, mobilizes the muscle fibers most appropriate for strength, especially the II-b fibers .

comparaison type fibre lente rapide musculation force masse endurance

A way of doing that is often found is 5 × 5, that is to say, do 5 sets of 5 repetitions while increasing the load at progressively, until it gets as close as possible to its max. In my opinion, this is a little too mathematical. The strength being mainly nervous, there are days when you will necessarily be less strong, more tired. Thus, the number of sets (or repetitions) will have to be adapted. The nervous system being put to the test, there is no need to go beyond its capacities on D-Day.

Of course, no need to remind you to do the polyarticular exercises where you have the most energy, ie at the start of the session.

4 ways to increase muscle strength for sure

So far, we have seen how to bring together all the conditions to get closer to its maximum potential. Now let’s talk about progression, that is, how to increase muscle strength .

Sometimes it is enough to analyze your movement to know its strengths and weaknesses.

Take the bench press, for example. Let’s say you’re about to do your maximum rep, you:

  1. Grab the bar.
  2. Lower the bar to chest level (so far that’s okay).
  3. Shoots, and there … it blocks. But it blocks at a particular moment, usually in the middle of the movement.

The conclusion we draw, you lack strength in a part of the movement and that is precisely the key. You have to vary the load so that the more you contract, the more difficult it is, to learn how to be stronger where it is needed.

A little difficult with free weights… That would mean you should have someone add more weight to the bar as you push. These are its drawbacks:

  • The resistance is always the same: on a bench press, the weight will be the same when stretching and contracting.
  • Free weights are subject to gravity: On a dumbbell curl, for example, the up and down movement will be easy, the hardest part being when the arms are parallel to the floor.

Fortunately, there are a number of tools and methods available for this. I preferred to keep 4, easy to apply.

Elastics, the holy grail for gaining muscle strength

To start let’s talk about rubber bands, this accessory that everyone should have. Inexpensive, does not take up space and is so efficient. I managed to catch up on weak spots and increase my strength in a few moves with this simple tool. The idea is to supplement the free weights with elastic bands.

Consequently, the advantages are multiple and we solve a lot of problems:

  • The resistance is variable : the more you contract, the more difficult it is (heavier), where it is generally the most interesting.
  • The accumulated energy on a fast negative is more important: the explosive work is much better.
  • We use more involuntary force thanks to the speed gain on the negative: the intensity of the exercise is increased.
hack squat musculation elastiques entrainement force

However, rubber bands cannot adapt to all exercises. Sometimes it is difficult to find an interesting attachment point or the rubber bands make the exercise too unstable (especially on the bar bench press).

Thus, the use of rubber bands is more appropriate for machines rather than on free loads.

Chains, an alternative to rubber bands

However, there is an alternative to overcome the instability problem. These are the chains.

Indeed, this is not to decorate or make the exercise impressive. The principle is actually the same as the rubber bands. That is to say that the more you contract, the more weight there will be (the links of the chain resting on the ground relieves the bar).

Unfortunately, it is not often to find chains in the weight room and the sensations are much less interesting than the rubber bands. What’s more, the chains can only be installed on bars and over again. For example, use on a deadlift may not be necessary, given the little resistance it offers at the top of the movement (most links will stay on the ground).

Partial amplitudes

Ok, let’s say you can’t add rubber bands or chains to your workout. There remains one solution, to make partial amplitudes .

As the name suggests, the goal is to work a fraction of the movement, so you can benefit from an overload without straining on the other part of the exercise. Therefore, it is interesting to analyze which part of the movement you are blocking. Then work where your nervous system is weak.

Let’s take the example of the bench press with a blockage in the middle of the movement. There are two solutions available to you:

  • Add wedges on the chest.
  • Settle into a squat rack by first adjusting the safety wedges.

Although in theory the method seems efficient, in my experience progress is still quite limited with this method. It allowed me to avoid “weak moments” on a move, without actually increasing my workloads.

My experience is still nothing but broscience … The best is to be skeptical and try. Note that it remains an inappropriate method for beginners. This can create muscle imbalances .

Stop And Go, Increase Muscle Strength and Speed ​​

If we are talking about hypertrophy, it is clear that this method is not at all suitable. However, for sports where you need to gain strength and speed , without weighing yourself down with a substantial muscle mass , it remains an effective method. Especially in combat sports, such as boxing.

Indeed, the objective of Stop And Go is to perform only the positive phase of the movement, as quickly as possible with a heavy load , without a negative phase. So there is a time out in between.

Take the bench press example, you:

  1. Grab the bar.
  2. Bring the bar up to chest level.
  3. Marks a 2/3 second dwell time.
  4. Shoots as quickly as possible.

Therefore, this method allows:

  • Not to benefit from the energy accumulation of the negative phase.
  • To have better psychomotor learning .

It is therefore an appropriate method for efforts requiring immediate force and speed. For example, when a boxer performs an uppercut, he does not gain momentum to build up energy. The movement must be direct.

For a bodybuilding practitioner, the Stop And Go also allows you to load up and be faster on the exercises afterwards. The effort is totally different. It is clear that at the beginning your movement will be slow and the fatigue will be felt quickly.

You are free to test and even combine the tools and methods. For example, do Stop And Go on partial amplitudes…

BySteve Howard

Polyarticular Exercise: List and Tips

There is so much bodybuilding exercise that you get a bit lost in it, so this article is only dedicated to polyarticular exercises (or basic). To save you time in your research, I have prepared a very complete exercise list , for each muscle group, to do indoors or at home !

exercice musculation squat lourd

If you are just starting out, no problem. You will know what it is, what are the advantages and disadvantages and how to integrate it all into your bodybuilding program, here is the summary:

What is a polyarticular exercise?

By definition, a polyarticular exercise is a movement that will mobilize several joints, and therefore, several muscles, unlike isolation exercises. This then explains why you will always be stronger on a polyarticular exercise.

In general, there are two schools in bodybuilding. Those who only practice the so-called basic exercises to build “functional muscle” and gain mass more quickly, on the other hand, those who favor isolation exercises to gain weight. muscle where they want it .

As I often say, in bodybuilding we have a lot of tools and methods of work. That said, the goal is to find what suits us and not what works for your neighbor, because there is a very high chance of not having the same results.

Let’s take a look at its advantages and disadvantages.

The advantages

Overall, it is true that polyarticular exercises are more effective for building strength and building muscle mass. In fact, the muscles are used more on a basic movement than on isolation, and who says better muscle solicitation means more results.

As far as strength is concerned, again the polyarticular exercises score a big point. It is obvious that you will be able to handle larger loads and therefore have better muscle hypertrophy . The force being essentially nervous, the nervous system will be exploited much more if several muscles interact. Consequently, the muscles then learn to work in synergy, hence the famous terms of “functional muscle”, in reality there are no “false muscles”, only muscles which manage to work together for a given movement. .

In terms of intensity, it’s obvious that it’s day and night with an isolation exercise. The more muscles that interact with the movement (in addition to a heavy load!), The more strenuous and tiring the exercise will be, therefore more calories will be burned . For example, the exercise of choice: the deadlift. It is an extremely intense exercise which mobilizes a lot of muscle group, from the calves to the forearms, as much to say to you that if you are an “ectomorph” like me and that you have difficulty to gain weight , such intense exercises like this replace a cardio session.

To summarize, here are the advantages of polyarticular exercises in outline:

  • Better muscle recruitment
  • Strength development (nervous system)
  • Intensity of exercise (consumes a lot of calories)

The disadvantages

After seeing the benefits, it is clear that you may be tempted to ban isolation movements and only do polyarticular exercises. Even though poly should be the mainstay of your weight training program, over time, it’s obvious that it will handicap you if you go for it with your head down.

If you practice bodybuilding for an “aesthetic” purpose (which is probably the case), you should know that an aesthetic physique is above all a harmonious physique . I can tell you, for example, that having really big arms without shoulders is much less impressive than a medium arm with medium shoulders.

As we have seen previously, a polyarticular exercise engages several muscles , take the bench press for example. Normally, as you know, this is a basic exercise that primarily recruits the pectorals and secondarily the shoulders and triceps . On paper, it’s great! it is enough to do the bench press to have pecs, but in practice, it is something else … I did not take this example at random, because it was my case.

For a long time I believed that if I stepped up, I was going to get big pecs, and if I didn’t, I was doing it wrong. The reality is simply that my body type is not suitable for this polyarticular movement and that I did not know how to use my pecs on this exercise. The more I picked up the load, the bigger my shoulders.

Result, more than a year without working the shoulders which took all the work of the pecs, and more than a year of motor training on isolation movements to know how to properly contract my pecs .

Consequently, your genetics, your morphology and your sporting background will have an influence on polyarticular exercises, in your favor or against you. Usually if you have trouble feeling the target muscle, that’s a bad sign.

To summarize, here are the disadvantages of a polyarticular exercise :

  • Muscle imbalance at term
  • Risk of movement unsuited to its morphology

Structure your bodybuilding program intelligently

The message is always the same, bodybuilding is above all knowing yourself to build your program from exercises, methods and tools adapted to your situation. Polyarticular exercises are clearly a priority, only when they are useful.

Once again, if you’re doing strength training to achieve a great and harmonious physique, you’ll need to go through a fair amount of isolation exercises. Indeed, not only is the isolation used to “learn” to use a particular muscle, but also to recruit portions that are difficult to develop in polyarticular exercises.

For example, this is often the case with deltoids , the posterior deltoid is generally less developed than the lateral deltoid and even less than the anterior deltoid, so no need to strive for an exercise polyarticular to have a “full” shoulder.

musculation entrainement intelligent

When to use a polyarticular exercise?

In reality, this is a difficult question to answer, as it will be unique to everyone. As seen previously, it is mainly a question of morphology for basic movements. If you are not too experienced, a few precautions can help you know whether or not you should continue to focus on a particular polyarticular exercise, namely that the earlier you do it, the better. is.

Should you continue?

The list is not exhaustive, but the main one is there. If on these points you validate all four, a priori there is a good chance that this polyarticular exercise will be done for you:

  • Burning sensation on the targeted muscle
  • Muscle congestion
  • Increase in workloads (over 3 to 6 months)
  • Evolution of the physique (measurements, photos …)

Should we stop?

Unfortunately, not all exercises are right for you. The signs that can alert you to a polyarticular exercise to avoid are the following:

  • Abnormal pain
  • Stagnation or regression of charges
  • Difficulty feeling the target muscle
  • Difficulty congesting
  • secondary muscles that grow more than the target muscle

For all the polyarticular exercises that suit you, knowing that they are energy-intensive exercises, place them preferably at the start of the session.

What to do if polyarticular exercise isn’t right for you

Don’t worry, all is not lost. With time and a little work, it is possible to do the polyarticular exercises that were not suitable for you before. However, it can be quite frustrating at first to focus solely on motor learning, but it’s a job that pays off in the long run.

Once you have determined which muscles are reluctant on polyarticular exercises in particular, you will have to use methods, tools and exercises to overcome this problem, we find:

  • Isolation exercises
  • Methods of intensification
  • Bodybuilding accessories

Let’s take a quick look at the subject, I will devote specific articles to it.

Isolation exercise

The isolation exercise is the first solution for motor learning , especially if you are just starting out.

machine musculation isolation jambes quadriceps ischios

The way of training will be different. You should neither seek to gain strength or mass, only focus on muscle contraction and maintain it for a long time. Also, do not be afraid to do a lot of repetitions, 20, 30 even going as far as doing the famous series of 100 . Normally, congestion is not the only factor that stimulates muscle growth, but should always be sought after.

Isolation exercises are not traumatic for the joints, they allow you to recover quickly and increase your training frequency during the week. Due to lack of time, this can sometimes be used as a warm-up.

Methods of intensification

There are many method of intensifying bodybuilding . As a beginner, they are not to be prioritized at first.

If you have some experience, you can start using these two techniques:

  • Pre-fatigue : Begin with an isolation exercise to tire the targeted muscle and follow with a polyarticular exercise without resting time.
  • Post-fatigue : Conversely, you can start with a basic exercise, and when your secondary muscles take over, you follow up with an isolation exercise.

In order to know which technique to use, it is best to test. Indeed, it is possible to have the opposite effect to what you are looking for, that is to say, to increase the work on the secondary muscles.

In general, pre-fatigue works well on small muscles: biceps, triceps, shoulders and calves , while post-fatigue will be more suitable for large muscles: pectorals , back, thighs and buttocks .

There are of course other more advanced methods. They remain, in my opinion, the most interesting for learning to contract a muscle on a polyarticular exercise in particular.

Bodybuilding accessories

Sometimes, using a weight training accessory can be enough, to help recruit the target muscle in a polyarticular exercise .

elastique développé couché machine exercice polyarticulaire musculation

For example, it can also be the case on pulling movements, such as chin-ups . In this case, pull straps (or straps) limit the intervention of the forearms. The work then becomes more efficient for the back muscles , in addition to gaining strength. I particularly like the 8-shaped pull straps.

Here is a list of strength training accessories, which can help you with polyarticular movements:

  • Elastic
  • Fat grip
  • Straps
  • Weightlifting shoes
  • Occlusion band
  • Bowtie…

Polyarticular exercise list for each muscle group

Finally, I will give you a list of polyarticular exercises, to be performed in the gym or at home with little equipment .

On some exercises, there are a number of variations. However, these are negligible details when you start, it is mainly about comfort.


  • Lumberjack draw
  • Rowing Yates
  • Horizontal pulley pull
  • High-Row
  • Low-Row
  • Pronation pull-ups
  • Pulley chest pull
  • Deadlift


  • Bench press
  • Dips
  • Inclined press
  • Pumps
  • Developed declined


  • Supine pull-ups
  • Vertical pulley supine pull


  • Tight grip bench press
  • Dips
  • Diamond pumps


  • Military development
  • Standing rowing


  • Squat
  • Front squat
  • Hack squat
  • Slip slots
  • Bulgarian squat
  • Squat cup
  • Deadlift semi-straight legs
  • Leg press
  • Leg raises


Of course, most exercises can be done with dumbbells , barbell or directly on a machine . In short, you just need to understand the movement and use your imagination to adapt it to the material you have available.

Regarding forearms, calves or abdominals, there is no grassroots movement. Therefore, the specific exercises to do for these muscle groups will be covered in an article dedicated to isolation exercises. However, these muscles will still be used in most basic movements.

If you want me to dwell on a particular exercise, you can let me know in the comments, I will also devote a whole article to it.