Category Archive Bodybuilding and fitness

BySteve Howard

How to do your warm-up in bodybuilding

You probably know that warming up before a weight training session is essential , especially to preserve your joints or avoid injury. Even if most athletes know it (if not all), we see that this step is rarely taken seriously by practitioners, it is rather seen as a waste of time …

Indeed, warming up is not fun, it takes a long time and what more is it in the end? You might as well do it quickly to clear your conscience!

Big mistake. The warm-up not only contributes to your longevity in practice, but also to your progress. Knowing how to warm up will even make a big difference, especially in your performance, which ultimately results in muscle gain.

Let’s see what the benefits are first before we get into practice.


The benefits of a good warm-up before a weight training session

At first glance, the warm-up may seem superfluous. Some practitioners therefore perform a few light sets to warm up, gradually increasing the load on the exercise in question.

Indeed, if it is done randomly, it is difficult to reap immediate benefits to improve its performance.

In fact, just like a program, the strength training warm-up must be adapted not only according to the planned training, but also according to the environment and the profile of the practitioner.

For example, it’s difficult to perform the same when you wake up as in the middle of the afternoon or in winter rather than summer. Likewise, the athlete’s age, experience and diet are essential factors in giving even more importance to this preparation before exercise.

The goal is to raise the temperature in order to make the tendons and muscles less rigid, to prepare the nervous and cardiovascular system for the effort and to increase the production of synovial fluid to limit friction between the joints.

In short, warming up before your weight training session deserves to be taken seriously for several reasons:

  • Being stronger (improving the transmission of nerve impulses)
  • Preventing injuries and other pathologies
  • Improving motor coordination

Raise the body temperature before specific warm-ups to prepare for the effort

To begin with, it is essential to gradually increase your body temperature before moving on to specific warm-ups.

This step is essential in order to limit excessive temperature differences between the different muscles and tissues (the tendons and the ends of the muscle are colder than in the center), but also to increase your heart rate / respiratory rate to provide the necessary oxygen during exercise.

For that, you don’t have to do excessively energy-intensive exercises like running or other cardio exercises. This could be walking, low-intensity rowing, or a long series resistance exercise like pelvic rotations for abs or chest raises for lower back. You can therefore take advantage of this moment to work on a weak point, which is beneficial for motor learning.

The warm-up time will depend on the ambient temperature, the time of day and your current diet. No need to spend a lot of time. Too much temperature rise, leading to overheating, is on the contrary counterproductive. It takes about 5 minutes for this to be sufficient.

transpiration chaleur

Specific heating of muscles, tendons and joints

After having spent a few minutes on the mat, the rower or the Roman chair, it is time to perform movements allowing to warm up the risk areas , fragile and very stressed during your strength training.

The warm-up time will vary depending on your routine. For example, for a pectorals / biceps session it will be shorter than for a full body workout, because the number of muscles and joints involved will be higher.

The places most vulnerable to wear pathologies, such as tendonitis, are as follows:

  • Shoulders / Rotator cuff
  • Biceps (long head tendon)
  • Knees
  • Elbows
  • Wrists

The choice of exercises according to your morphology, the quality of recovery and the warm-up makes it possible to limit or even inhibit the risk of wear pathologies. Very disabling, it forces you to be patient until it recovers.

Regarding “immediate” injuries, the most frequent in bodybuilding are muscle tears and / or tendon ruptures in the biceps, triceps and pectorals. Lack of warm-up, cool-down, handling a high workload, and over-stretching the muscle significantly increase these risks. Note that this type of injury not only handicaps from a mechanical point of view, but also aesthetically. Unfortunately, even after an operation, it is difficult if not impossible to realize its full potential.

Warm-up exercises for the upper body

échauffement musculation haut du corps bras épaules

Here is an example of a warm-up for an upper body session . Exercises should be done with light loads in order to save yourself afterwards.

This routine requires very little weight training equipment, a pair of dumbbells weighing a few pounds and ideally a pulley is more than enough to easily perform without rest. This circuit should be done once (or two depending on the situation), with around thirty repetitions for each exercise:

Shoulders and rotator cuff

Frontal elevations are also useful for warming up the tendon of the long head of the biceps .

  • Lateral elevation, frontal elevation and bent bust
  • L-fly (preferably pulley or lying down with a dumbbell)

Arms: biceps, triceps and forearms

Do not hesitate to vary the curls in order to warm up the brachioradialis (supination, neutral and pronation)

  • bicep curl
  • Vertical tricep extension
  • Wrist curl / extension

Movements to warm up the lower body

Regarding the lower body, the procedure remains the same. Do not hesitate to do more sets and repetitions for the thighs. This is because the muscles in the leg are much bigger, so it takes longer to warm up the entire thigh.

Thighs and buttocks

You can play with the spacing of the legs in order to properly warm up all the thighs , especially the adductors. Special attention should be paid to hamstrings.

  • Squat
  • Straight Leg Deadlift
  • Lateral Leg Raise


Short calves tend to lose heat more quickly. If this is your case, avoid training in shorts if it is cold.

  • Extension of the standing calves


The lumbar muscles are constantly used on the basic movements for the thighs.

Preparing the nervous system before training to improve muscle sensations and gain strength

This phase is particularly useful for the sequel in order to get closer to your maximum performance and / or to better feel the target muscles during training , this is not is therefore not essential. These techniques should be used sparingly, preferably for your weak spots, to avoid lengthy sessions.

For this, the isolation exercises and potentiation will be relatively effective in order to prepare properly in a minimum of time.

Warm up with isolation exercises to improve muscle feeling

exercice isolation échauffement triceps pushdown

For warming up, isolation exercises can be useful to improve the feel of the target muscle while performing a polyarticular exercise, which could be similar to the prefatigue.

The advantage, compared to pre-fatigue, is to benefit from this positive transfer (solicitation of the desired muscle) on large movements, without hampering your strength. You can do the test on a heavy session, for example, if you have trouble feeling the triceps on dips, you can include a few sets on the pulley as a warm-up (pushdown …) before you start.

This way of doing things was really useful to better recruit my pectorals on heavy sessions, consisting of basic exercises, with movements performed in explosives, even if initially it was a weak point. On the other hand, for the workouts where I prioritize the congestion, with light loads, I will rather use the pre / postfatigue in order to lengthen the time under tension, but also to maintain the burning sensation as long as possible, which results from it. increased metabolic stress.

Let’s move on to execution. Be sure to stop well before failure to conserve strength and energy for the session. Likewise, you absolutely must handle light loads to concentrate as much as possible on the contraction of the muscle. Also, don’t hesitate to slow down the movement if you have no sensation.

You can do 1 to 2 sets of about 30 reps on any exercise, such as pulley spreads for the pecs or leg extensions for the quadriceps, as long as it is ‘acts of isolation.

Prepare your nervous system using potentiation in order to be stronger in training

Haven’t you noticed that some days the bars feel heavier? The solution to avoid this: potentiator exercises. They can be done before a weight training session to prepare the nervous system for heavy lifting .

As a reminder, the role of the SN is to give and receive information, so it is it that gives the order to the muscles to contract. The more effective it is, the faster it can activate a large number of muscle fibers. Theoretically, the more powerful this nervous “discharge”, the stronger you will be.

The idea is therefore to send big nerve shocks on the potentiator exercises in order to better understand your workloads afterwards. So you can use the potentiation for your sessions requiring a lot of strength.

The movement must be explosive and carried out over small amplitudes to use your involuntary strength to the maximum, thanks to the myotatic reflex.

For my part, I like to do a few sets of very heavy shrugs before my chest and back sessions. For my leg sessions, I do a few series of hack squats on a very low amplitude.

If you want more details on this, I wrote an article on how to increase your strength immediately or over time.

Warming up before a polyarticular exercise: gradually increasing load

Normally all these steps take about 10 minutes . After you’ve finished your warm-up, it’s time to move on to practice!

Even if most of the preparation has been done, we must not forget that each movement is unique. Therefore, polyarticular exercises require special attention.

The number of joints involved being more significant, it is necessary to gradually increase load , say 1 series at 50% of its workload and a second at 75% in order to ” improve their motor coordination on the movement in question during their sets.

For example, if you do 12 reps at 100kg in the squat, you can do one set at 50kg and then a second at 75kg before you start.

Still in the preparation phase, it is necessary to save as much as possible. It doesn’t matter how many reps you want, however, you need to stop well before the failure.

A lack of stability during the exercise in question is often a sign that it is necessary to do a few more sets before starting.

Beyond warming up: Keeping the muscles warm

There you go! You are now ready to train in the best possible conditions.

Finally, warming up doesn’t take a lot of time if you know how to structure your sessions. To recap, the warm-up takes place in 3 stages :

  1. Increase in body temperature
  2. Specific warm-ups
  3. Preparation of the nervous system

You can also add the gradual rise in charge, although you’re probably already doing it by reflex.

Do not wait to be in pain, to be hurt to act, because it will be too late. What you wanted to gain in time you will lose in gain.

Remember that temperature fluctuations are inevitable. To limit drops in temperature , dress accordingly, especially between sets, during your rest periods. A zipped jacket or large towel is sufficient to cover the affected areas.

You can also perform agonist / antagonist SuperSets if your training plan includes isolation exercises, in order to maintain optimal body temperature while reducing the time of your sessions.

To sum up, whether it is performance or longevity, I strongly encourage you to spend ten minutes or so warming up, even if it means reducing the volume of work.

BySteve Howard

Everyday Bodybuilding: Good or Bad Idea?

Should we do weight training every day? This is the question that many beginners ask themselves to know if the progression will be faster or if it is of no interest.

To give you a clear answer: no, but it can be useful. So, to remove all your doubts, I dug into the subject. You’ll be able to find out if you really need weight training 7 days a week (at least if you will benefit from it).

Let’s see if this is useful for you first, then discussing the advantages and disadvantages of high training frequency. Finally, I’ll give you some tips to recover faster , along with an example of an optimized workout routine , in case you want to work out. bodybuilding every day .

musculation tous les jours

Here is the summary:

Why do you want to workout every day?

Indeed, this is the first question to ask. Why do you finally want to train so much?

There are two main scenarios. So I will give you a concrete answer, whether or not this training frequency will be interesting for you. The answers are of course my point of view, coming from my experience and from my reading. It is therefore also up to you to judge, at the end of this article, what you want to do.

Are you a beginner and want quick results?

If the answer is yes, you don’t need to want to train every day.

Usually, when you start, you tell yourself that the more you train, the faster you will progress. However, it can have the opposite effect, that is, lead to stagnation see regression. As a reminder, the 3 pillars for progress in bodybuilding are:

  • Training : damages muscle fibers.
  • Nutrition : gives the materials necessary for reconstruction.
  • Recovery : Repair damage from training and rebuild through nutrition.

This is the real winning tripod for continuous progress and as quickly as possible. Therefore, wanting to train every day is to neglect part of the recovery in order to prioritize training. In fact, with little experience it is very likely that with so much training you will end up in overtraining , in addition to a big loss of motivation to go to sports.

Note also that everything depends on the volume (how many sets and exercises in a session) and on the intensity . Only the most advanced practitioners have enough perspective to organize their sessions so as not to cross the red zone.

Chances are you won’t, but don’t worry, your progress won’t be slower . As proof, I progressed faster with a half body (over 4 days) than with a Split (over 6 days), because my recovery (especially nervous) was at the top.

You lack time during the day and you want to spread your exercises over the week?

In this case, yes doing weight training every day is a solution.

It is not the most effective way to progress but it is the only way to train to develop your whole physique harmoniously. Therefore, if you have 30 to 45 minutes a day, no question of doing a full body, a half body or a PPL, I advise you to focus on one muscle group per day (Split).

Indeed, you are restricted by the volume of training and you will all have to bet on the intensity of the session . Where you have to be careful is the architecture of your program, it must be thought out in such a way as to optimize your recovery , especially joints and tendons. For example, if you work on the pectorals, avoid doing deltoids the next day since they were used the day before.

3 benefits of weight training every day

The more motivated of you will still be tempted to train without a day off, but before structuring your program, it is important to weigh the pros and cons. To make up your own mind, here are the three big advantages of working out over seven days :

  • Duration of sessions: As I could say previously, it is clear that due to lack of time, it will be much easier to structure your program . Thus, the sessions can last an hour, while maintaining a correct volume of work and sufficient intensity.
  • Focus on weak points: Often neglected, this is the opportunity to dedicate several sessions during the week, only to a weak point and to train a few strong points on another and the same session.
  • Energy management: Exercises are spread out over the week, so it’s easier to maintain a constant intensity during your workout.

3 disadvantages of high frequency training

However, the disadvantages are much more important, to be taken into account, than the advantages for a beginner. Indeed, training according to your weak points and managing your energy requires a little experience. So, in my opinion, here are the three biggest disadvantages of working out every day:

  • Recovery Management: Whether muscular, hormonal, nerve and joint / tendon, you need to optimize your recovery from all these angles. For this, it is important to have a personalized weight training program as well as a solid diet plan. Of course, to evolve over time, to avoid stagnation, over-training and injury.
  • Motivation hard to preserve: Closely linked to nerve recovery, it is difficult to maintain constant motivation. Also, not giving yourself a day off forces you to go to weight training, whatever you feel like. Better three days a week for a year than every day and quit after a month.
  • Flexibility in strength training: There are bound to be days when you can’t work out. Therefore, it shifts all your workouts .

How to optimize your recovery to train every day

Fortunately you can act on the most important lever: recovery. Of course, there is a lot to say and do to improve your recovery. My goal is to give you quick and easy means, to implement, to recover at best between your sessions .

récupération musculation

Obviously, recovery begins with rest, especially sleep. Everyone knows the rule:

You have to sleep 8 hours!

Unfortunately, that may not be enough if you want to do weight training every day . So let’s talk about things to optimize in your workouts and your diet.

Joint and tendon recovery

Without good joint and tendon health, you will quickly be limited by the choice of movements. Strength training is above all a matter of time , therefore your joints and tendons must come to the fore.

In general, practitioners don’t give a damn, even worse when ego comes along with the practice. We think it will never happen, but when it does, it’s too late, and sometimes it’s irreversible. There is nothing worse for a practitioner to have medical conditions or an injury that limits their training. For example, tearing a tendon on a biceps (not very aesthetic) or having tired shoulder joints (very disabling for upper body movements) are common injuries.

They can be classified into two categories, pathologies / injuries:

Knowing that the subject deals with doing weight training every day, let’s talk about what interests us, wear pathologies .

The pathologies of wear appear gradually, due to repeated movements . Tendons rub, joints wear out without feeling a particular signal. In theory, the body is able to repair micro-lesions and other damage during rest . For an athlete, the damage is much larger and more frequent, therefore the body sometimes does not have time to fully repair the damage caused during the session.

Act on training to limit damage

First, you can influence the structure of your sessions, giving more time to the repair process.

To do this, avoid moving the same joints during exercises for two days in a row . For example, if you do the pectorals the day before, it is better not to do the deltoids the next day, but rather the thighs or the biceps for example.

Let’s see an optimized training routine:

  • day 1: Pectorals.
  • Day 2: Thighs (Quadriceps focus) / calves.
  • Day 3: Triceps / abdominals.
  • Day 4: Back.
  • Day 5: Thighs (hamstring focus) / calves.
  • Day 6: Deltoids / abdominals.
  • Day 7: Biceps / Forearms.

Accelerate joint and tendon recovery

Second, we can speed up recovery through diet . To put it simply, here is a list of food supplements (or foods) that are beneficial to joint and tendon recovery :

  • Glucosamine.
  • Collagen.
  • Wisteria.
  • Chondroitin.
  • Beef / poultry broths, gelatin and animal fat.

Muscle recovery

Let’s now tackle muscle recovery , which is largely responsible for your progress, especially on your muscle gain . And no, it’s not just a question of waiting for the muscle soreness to end, sore muscles are often misunderstood and deserve to be covered in another article.

A big part of the process is to restore muscle fibers damaged during the session. Fortunately, you can also optimize your recovery through training and nutrition.

Alternate the muscles used

First of all, avoid exercising the same muscle group for two days in a row. In fact, since the workouts are essentially composed of polyarticular exercises, it will not be possible to target only one muscle per day. We must therefore take a closer look at the muscles that work most of the time in synergy , especially on exercises dedicated to large muscle groups:

  • Pectorals: deltoids and triceps.
  • Back : Deltoids and biceps.

As for the thighs , it may be interesting to focus on the quadriceps one day and the hamstring another day.

The workout routine I described above follows this rule.

2 food supplements for muscle recovery

To get straight to the point, if you stick to the basics of sports nutrition, that’s enough. Here are still two food supplements interesting for muscle recovery:

  • Creatine.
  • Gainer (protein + carbohydrate). By the way, if you want to make your own drink, I have prepared some recipes to make your own gainer but on.

Nerve recovery

The nervous system will be strained if you exercise every day. Fortunately, there are a few signs that poor nerve recovery :

  • Loss of strength
  • No motivation
  • Stagnation see charge regression
  • Constant fatigue

Therefore, it is interesting that you act upstream before you get there.

phénomène surcompensation musculation récupération graphique
S ‘training during the overcompensation phase allows progress to be made. The number of rest days varies depending on the intensity and volume of training, as well as the muscle worked.

How to maintain an efficient nervous system

Regarding training, the exercises performed for large muscle groups (pectorals, back and thighs) will be taxing on the nervous system, so it is worthwhile to alternate sessions with heavy and light loads .

When it comes to diet, foods high in magnesium will only be beneficial in keeping your nervous system in good shape. Indeed, it is an essential mineral that contributes, in part, to the transmission of nerve impulses (to contract the muscle ). On top of that, according to the French SU.VI.MAX study, about 75% of people are below the recommended nutritional intake, a phenomenon accentuated by sweating during exertion.

To avoid being deficient, you can find it in certain foods:

  • Dark chocolate.
  • Oilseeds (almonds, walnuts …).
  • Whole grains.
  • Bananas…

Likewise, you can use food supplements to cover your magnesium needs. Be careful not to buy it in just any form. It is better to buy magnesium citrate , with few or no additives than magnesium oxide (very common on the market). Of course, the price will be higher, but quality at a price.

Regarding rest , some food supplements exist to improve the quality and quantity of sleep:

  • Valerian: calms, soothes and improves the quality of sleep.
  • Theanine: (present in tea) helps to relax and reduces stress.
  • Tryptophan: (found in plants) Improves the quality of sleep and helps fight depressive disorders.
  • Melatonin: Called the sleep hormone and naturally secreted by our body, it can be used to reframe our “internal clock” (often used to deal with JetLag problems).

Hormonal recovery

The drop in testosterone levels is the obsession of the bodybuilding practitioner. Unfortunately, after a workout, this level drops as cortisol rises, the opposite of what we are looking for.

If you want to train every day , your goal is to limit these imbalances through a healthy lifestyle. Therefore, you have to forget about low-calorie diets to dry out, the food must be more than sufficient and rich in good fats. Likewise, stress should be limited so as not to accentuate hormonal disturbances.

Bodybuilding program – every day

Finally, I have prepared an example of a daily weight training program for you. This program meets all the conditions that I have stated above and is suitable for a high training frequency . You can use them to create your own routine.

The selected exercises require little equipment and can be performed in most gyms. Of course, you are free to perform the dumbbells or bar movements according to your preferences.

Despite everything, it is likely that you are not available 365 days a week. Therefore, if you are absent for a day, The next session must be the one that was missed, do not say to yourself:

Chest Monday, thigh Tuesday….

because the volume of work between different muscle groups will be out of balance. Rather, you must reason in daylight. Enjoy

Day 1 – Chest

Exercise Series * repeats
Expanded declined 5 * 8/12
Bench press 5 * 12/15
Cross over at the high pulley (one-sided) 4 * 15/20
Peck Deck 4 * 15/20

Day 2 – Thighs (quadriceps focus) + Calves

Exercise Series * repeats
Hack squat 5 * 8/12
Bulgarian squat 5 * 15/20
Leg extension 4 * 15/20
Weighted camel calves 5 * 15/25

Day 3 – Triceps + Abs

Exercise Series * repeats
Dips 4 * 8/12
Skullcrushers 3 * 10/15
Pulley pushdowns 3 * 10 * 15
Leg raises 5 * 20/25

Day 4 – Dos

Exercise Series * repeats
Shrugs 3 * 10/15
Rowing dumbbell 5 * 8/12
Pullover at the high pulley 4 * 10/15
Chest pull (or pronation pull) 5 * 8/12
High pulley overhand pull (one-sided) 3 * 10/15

Day 5 – Thighs (hamstring focus) + Calves

Exercise Series * repeats
Leg deadlift semi-stretched 5 * 8/15
Leg press 5 * 10/15
Leg curl 4 * 10/15
Seated calves 5 * 15/25

Day 6 – Deltoids + Abs

Exercise Series * repetitions
Military developed 4 * 8/12
Side elevations 3 * 10/15
Bird with high pulley 3 * 10/15
Crunch 4 * 20/25
Side crunches 3 * 25/35

Day 7 – Biceps + Forearms

Exercise Series * repeats
Supination chest pulling ( or supination traction) 4 * 8/12
Inclined curl 3 * 10/15
Hammer curl 3 * 10/15
Wrist curl SUPERSET Wrist extension 3 * 15/20
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

How to Do a Home Pre Workout?

Successful training is not just a question of willpower, you have to prepare beforehand! Slack, laziness and fatigue … Even the most assiduous have already been confronted with this problem.

It is clear that recovery and a healthy lifestyle play an essential role in the quality of a weight training session. Sometimes the problem comes from elsewhere. This is where the Pre Workout booster appears, a dietary supplement aimed at increasing our athletic performance during training.

Let’s see together what a booster is, why is it more interesting to do your home Pre Workout and when to take it. We will end with the most interesting, the ingredients and the recipes to make your own booster.


What is a pre-workout booster in bodybuilding?

The rule of thumb when taking dietary supplements is knowing what you are consuming, especially for a booster.

It is a drink to take before training . It aims to increase your concentration , your energy to improve your performance . We can also note the presence of ingredients to achieve better muscle congestion during training.

Therefore, the Pre Workout can be summed up in 3 words:

  • Stimulant
  • Energy
  • Pump (congestion)

In view of the diversity of ingredients, it is essential to know how to read the labels in order to select or do a Pre Workout adapted to you.

Do your homemade Pre Workout or buy it in a food supplement store?

Boosters abound in the food supplement market. You can quickly be tempted by a pretty packaging, filled with promising messages: strength gain, fat burn, improved focus … But what is it really?

complément alimentaire poudre musculation

The more ingredients there are in a dietary supplement , the greater the risk of buying a product that is far too expensive for its content. Some ingredients are less expensive than others, so the dosages are mostly out of balance. Not to mention the presence of unnecessary ingredients in a Pre Workout, such as creatine.

Generally, bodybuilders look for the “boost” in a booster. Synthetic caffeine being inexpensive and very effective is enough to fulfill this need. However, when it comes to a more expensive ingredient, like citrulline, you find that the dosages are far from optimal.

So manufacturers have no interest in making a well-dosed but more expensive product. A pretty name and high caffeine dosages are enough to sell.

To be honest, the best booster on the market is yours. Do a Pre Workout at home with two advantages:

  • A much lower price
  • Controlling dosages

All the more so as the dosages will be specific to each person (body weight, optimal threshold, etc.).

When to take your pre-workout at home to optimize your workouts?

Mistake number 1: taking the SAME booster every day (hence the importance of dosages).

Indeed, wanting to take a booster rich in caffeine for low intensity workouts is not necessarily useful. By dint of overdoing it, you will be forced to increase the doses to feel the same effects as before.

To know when to take your home Pre Workout, it is necessary to determine:

  • His form of the day
  • The planned weight training session

From there, you will be able to determine when to take your booster and at what dosage.

If I take my example, I favor the ingredients:

  • Stimulant: for my intensive sessions or when the form is not there
  • To congest: in order to work on my weak points

Choosing a NO booster for muscle congestion

The lack of muscle congestion during training is frustrating for some practitioners. Although congestion does not indicate a good workout, it should still be remembered that it is one of the factors of muscle growth .

So, it can be interesting to look for muscle congestion when working on your weak points. This is when pre-workouts including NO booster ingredients (nitrogen monoxide or nitric oxide) can add a little extra to your sessions. Beyond a better “pump”, NO booster makes it possible to:

  • Maintain a good hypertrophic response
  • Accelerate muscle recovery
  • Facilitate blood circulation
  • Improve oxygenation of muscle tissue

There are many dietary supplements or foods to increase your NO levels, here is a list to compose your homemade Pre Workout.

Arginine, the amino acid of choice for a good pump

Arginine is an amino acid that plays a fundamental role in the secretion of NO. It is even more important to supplement arginine if physical activity is important.

acide aminé arginine booster pre workout

In addition to better muscle congestion, this amino acid helps fight fatigue during exercise (elimination of rapid metabolic waste such as ammonia).

Unfortunately, arginine is difficult for the body to absorb because it is largely broken down in the liver. We are therefore not equal when it comes to its effectiveness. You have to test to determine if the purchase is superfluous or not.

If you want to buy some, arginine comes in different forms. The preferred shapes are:

  • L-Arginine
  • Arginine AKG (more easily absorbed, but more expensive)

Regarding its dosage, it is best to consume between 8 to 10 grams, about 1 hour before training.

Citrulline, a more effective alternative


The best alternative to increase your arginine levels is citrulline . Although more expensive, it will be much better assimilated by the body.

You can find citrulline in some foods like watermelon, but food supplements are more effective. Indeed, it would be necessary to consume astronomical quantities to obtain the expected effects.

On the market, you can find citrulline in two forms:

  • L-Citrulline
  • Citrulline malate (malic acid + L-Citrulline)

If you want to do a home Pre Workout, your best bet is to go for citrulline malate , which is more effective for recovery between two sets. The optimal dose is around 7 grams, to be taken about 1 hour before your workout.

If you don’t want to take a dietary supplement, you can still increase your NO levels through food. For this, the food of choice remains beet, thanks to its high nitrate content.

The ingredients of a Pre Workout to increase performance

In order to progress in bodybuilding, it is essential to surpass yourself, to want to do better than last month. In other words, you have to be more and more efficient.

Fatigue, lack of energy, motivation and difficulty holding an intensive session are limiting factors for performance. Fortunately, means do exist to partially overcome these problems.

Here are some effective ingredients to include in your homemade Pre Workout, to refuel, to be more enduring and to improve your focus in training.

Caffeine, a powerful stimulant

Coffee, tea, Cola… Caffeine is easily accessible and widely consumed, even by sedentary people.

Once thought to be a doping agent, caffeine is one of the most powerful molecules to perform better, whether at the gym or at work. There is no doubt about its effectiveness.

caféine grain de café

It would take too long to go into all the benefits of caffeine … Therefore, we are only going to talk about its benefits during a weight training session. Caffeine helps:

  • to increase the force of contraction
  • to improve concentration during exercise (stimulation of the nervous system)
  • to delay fatigue
  • to fight against hypoglycaemia by maintaining blood sugar levels
  • burn more fat for energy

In view of all its benefits, the desire to enrich your homemade Pre Workout with caffeine at each session is tempting, but not recommended for two reasons:

  1. the habit and the need to constantly increase the doses for similar effects
  2. the risk of caffeine intoxication (palpitations, anxiety …) due to increased doses

Indeed, its overconsumption is dangerous if it is abusedly consumed in excessive doses. In order not to fall into the trap of always more, you have to be careful to limit your consumption, even outside of sport. This allows you to keep your optimal threshold to enjoy its beneficial effects, even with low doses.

Choosing a good source of caffeine

This is an almost essential ingredient for an effective Home Pre Workout . You still have to know how to choose the right source of caffeine.

The advantage of caffeine (capsule or powder) is that it doesn’t cost too much. So do not hesitate to pay the price to have a quality product.

Synthetic caffeine, without chlorogenic acid (antioxidant) should be avoided. It is preferable to opt for natural caffeine in order to conserve the polyphenols, if possible from green coffee or guarana .

To determine your tolerance threshold, you have to go little by little, in increments of 50mg. Usually, the required dose is around 4 mg / kg of body weight, to be taken 1 hour before training.

Prolong your endurance thanks to Beta-alanine

With growing success, this amino acid is found in most pre workout booster. beta-alanine helps to synthesize more carnosine (with the help of L-hystidine).

This concentration of carnosine is useful to be more enduring during short efforts and intense, neutralizing the burning sensation at the end of the series, a factor limiting its performance.

For information, the tingling sensations after taking beta alanine, usually in the face, are quite normal and not dangerous. It is stimulating for some and unpleasant for others.

The recommended dose is around 4 grams per day. Note that its effects on performance are not immediate. It takes about 2 to 3 weeks, taken regularly, to notice any real change.

Add a source of carbohydrate to fill up with energy

It would be a shame to do a homemade Pre Workout without carbohydrate , the number 1 fuel for our muscles.

It is all the more important to add a source of carbohydrate to your booster if it was several hours since the last meal. For this, the banana is more than sufficient. You can consume 2 to 3 bananas, preferably very ripe, 1 hour before training, in addition to an intra-training carbohydrate drink or a homemade gainer after training.

banane glucide pre workout

Ensure muscle mass gains and improve recovery thanks to the booster

It would be a shame to do productive sessions for less muscle mass gains.

Of course, you can do without it and progress anyway. But the effort required to optimize your sessions is low, why deprive yourself? The cumulative effect applies to bodybuilding: it’s the little things that will make a noticeable difference over time.

On the other hand, it is all the more important not to neglect this part if your diet is random or if you are in full force (calorie restriction), because the cause of stagnation is not only linked to training.

Avoid catabolism: Amino acids or whey?

Catabolism, the obsession of bodybuilding practitioners.

To limit breakage, it is necessary to replenish the stocks of amino acids before the session, especially if the last meal is several hours ago. A simple whey is not suitable (speed of absorption).

You can opt for BCAAs (also a source of energy), but the best is still peptopro (I invite you to read the article on BCAAs to find out why).

acides aminés protéine

In the case of peptopro, it is advisable to consume approximately 15 to 25 grams before, spread over the entire session or post-training.

Taurine to recover faster between two sessions

While having no direct effect on training, adding taurine to your homemade pre-workout can be beneficial for recovery.

No! taurine is neither dangerous nor stimulating and does not come from the c ***** of bulls. It is simply an amino acid, NOT ESSENTIAL.

His interest in bodybuilding? Limit cramps and improve muscle recovery. I have never personally tested this type of dietary supplement, so I have no feedback on it.

We can sometimes read that it would be more judicious to consume taurine before going to bed, in part because of its drowsy effect… Once again, the best is to test, even if the investment remains low interesting in my opinion.

The recommended dose for this food supplement is around 4 grams.

Recipe to make your homemade Pre Workout

As you can see, there is a multitude of ingredients to make your own booster. The idea is not to buy everything to make THE best booster of all time, but to select the ones that you find useful, effective and suitable for your session.

Here is an idea recipe for a homemade pre workout , The quantities vary according to the practitioners:

  • 200mg of caffeine
  • 8gr of citrulline malate
  • 3gr of Beta-alanine
  • 1gr of taurine
  • 15gr of Peptopro
  • 2 bananas

Feel free to add other ingredients to add flavor (red fruits, syrup, etc.), ice cubes and a straw, for an explosive cocktail!

I keep it simple when I do my own homemade pre-workouts, the most effective ingredients for me are citrulline malate, caffeine and bananas. And that’s it … You are free to test and judge whether the investment is worth it.

Of course, the list is not complete. I preferred to focus on the most interesting and beneficial for a bodybuilding practitioner, quickly discussing the performance effects of each ingredient. Fortunately, there are other ways to improve the quality of your weight training sessions. Interested in an article on this topic?

BySteve Howard

What is the Optimal Duration of a Strength Training Session?

Will too short a workout limit your results? On the contrary, is too long a weight training session counterproductive? It’s hard to find the ideal duration , the balance between too much and too little.

The answer to this question will differ from practitioner to practitioner. That’s why we’re going to see what factors will determine the length of your sessions and how to improve the quality of your workouts.


From 45 minutes to 1h30: Should we trust this average duration for a bodybuilding session?

In bodybuilding, we always look for the little detail that will make a huge difference later on. It is therefore legitimate to ask the question about the duration of training .

If you do some research on this subject, you can quickly come across values, time ranges: 45 minutes, 1 hour 15 to 30 maximum, not to be exceeded on pain of catabolizing , seeing your testosterone drop and screwing up a weight training session. Fortunately, this is more of a myth than a reality.

The duration of a workout is not a critical factor in anabolism / catabolism. For example, in the golden age of bodybuilding, some bodybuilders could train for more than 3 hours!

séance musculation épaules arnold schwarzenegger

In any case, when we talk about physiology, it is always difficult to give precise values. Instead, let’s take a look at other, much more important factors to consider.

The duration of the training varies depending on the volume and intensity of the physical effort

Most importantly, the intensity and volume of your workouts. Not all sessions require the same effort.

For example, workouts dedicated to large muscle groups such as the pecs or thighs will generally be much more intensive and energy intensive than those dedicated to the arms or deltoids. As a result, it is this consistent effort that limits your sessions due to a lack of energy in addition to nervous fatigue. It can also be a matter of choice in relation to your bodybuilding program. Which way does the scale tip, intensity or volume?

durée séance musculation comparaison volume intensité

Usually, a lack of intensity is filled with a higher volume of training, but be careful to favor quality over quantity. There is little point in doing lots of exercises and sets (long workout) without really putting in your work, at least if you don’t want to stagnate in your performance and results.

Bottom Line: Mechanical tension (intensity) and metabolic stress (volume) must be sufficient to cause muscle hypertrophy.

The exercise tolerance threshold, meanwhile, also depends on many parameters such as genetics, age and lifestyle. Therefore, the maximum duration of a session varies according to the type of effort required but also according to the practitioners.

Adapt the duration of your sessions to your bodybuilding program and the frequency of your workouts

Beware of overtraining! The risk of achieving this is magnified if you train too often, too long, and too hard. Ultimately it is counterproductive, because of the lack of nervous, hormonal, muscle, energy and joint recovery. This fatigue effect is felt from session to session and can only get worse if you do not change your habits.

Indeed, it’s difficult to last over time if you go to the gym 7 days a week without properly distributing the amount of work over the week. You must know how to limit the duration of your sessions according to the training frequency so as not to penalize the following ones.

Again, nothing beats experience to know your own limits. Then, you can refine your weight training program, to finally know a time range adapted to your training routine.

How to adapt the effort and duration of your sessions according to your training plan?

If your training frequency is low (3 or 4 sessions per week) and your sessions are too long or too intense , in this case you can build your program on a split routine . Thus, you will be able to spend less time in the gym, spreading the work over the week, while maintaining the same quality (or even better) and the same quantity of work.

Do you already train 6-7 days a week? In this case, other alternatives exist. As you know, intense weight training involves using heavy weights. Indeed, the tension of stretching and contraction (thus the weight) is essential to gain muscle mass , but it is not the only way to gain muscle!

We also find:

  • Muscle congestion
  • Muscle burn
  • Time under tension

These other factors are much less exhausting on the nervous level, it is an opportunity to test other ways of training or to try on muscles that are usually resistant to growth.

You can therefore alternate between all these different muscle growth factors, in order to extend, maintain or reduce the duration of your sessions without ending up over-training and limiting your progress.

The time available for training in the gym

It seems so obvious! Remember, it is up to bodybuilding to adapt to you and not the other way around, whether during or outside of your workout. By that I mean that there is no point in forcing yourself to stay in the room for an hour and a half in order to meet this optimal (false) “standard”.

If you have 30 minutes a day, don’t spend more time. If you only have one or two days a week that doesn’t force you to exercise high, you’re doing what you can.

Obviously, your progress will be slower, but how long will you last by forcing yourself to respect all these obligations? In the long term, you will be a winner, you will keep your determination and regularity in your training. Patience is one of the most important keys in bodybuilding to achieve your goals.

So I encourage you to determine how much time you have available to go to the gym and how many times a week.

The level and experience of the athlete determines the duration of a weight training session

For fear of not doing enough, we tend to do a little too much to be sure that we have done something useful.

As a beginner, you will never need to have the same amount of work as an advanced practitioner. The more experience you have, the more difficult it is to progress and gain muscle. Therefore, you have to do more sets, more exercises and therefore spend more time in the gym , another reason not to copy the program of an experienced athlete.

To sum up, if you are new to weight training or only have a few months of experience, the duration of a session will not necessarily be long because the amount of work is less.

Daily energy expenditure limits training

No day is alike. Wanting to determine a fixed training duration does not take into account these two essential factors, namely diet and daily activity: What did I do and what did I eat today?

You must therefore constantly adapt the duration of your session according to what you have done around your training. For example, depending on your work, physical or sports activities that you performed on the same day…

To guarantee productive work and optimal training time , you must ensure:

  • eat enough to provide your body with everything it needs
  • recovery (sleep …)

Some days the lights will be red. In this case, it is better to limit yourself. Lack of motivation to finish a session and an abnormal loss of strength over time are good signals for when to stop. This can be interesting to structure your bodybuilding program, in order to fit the biggest sessions during your days off for example.

the duration of weight training depending on the objectives: mass gain and lean

We all have different reasons for training. Generally, in bodybuilding, practitioners want:

  • gain muscle mass
  • lose fat (dry).

Therefore, you must adapt your program and your training to your goals . The exercises can be similar in both cases but the intensity, volume and the way of training will be different.

For example, when you are in calorie restriction during a cut, your workouts will probably be shorter (varies by training method) and less intense than in mass gain. As the risk of injury or muscle catabolism is higher, you need to know how to stop at the right time.

You need to spend more time on certain muscles!

Setting a time limit for your sessions does not take into account your strengths / weaknesses and the functional characteristics of the target muscle. The amount of work and the time spent in the gym must therefore be adapted according to the muscles used.

If you have some experience in bodybuilding, you can analyze your strengths and weaknesses (lack of mass or strength) in order to better distribute the time necessary to spend in the gym.

On the other hand, if you’re a beginner, it’s hard to take a step back on this subject. Know that in general, you will need to spend more time on the following muscles:

  • Pectorals
  • Back
  • Thighs (quadriceps / hamstrings)

Food supplements to improve the quality and increase the duration of your sessions

shaker pre workout

Finally, it is not really interesting to define a duration of your sessions, it is rather what you will do there and how you will do it that is the most important.

A healthy lifestyle is essential to be strong and enduring during training . Despite our good will, it is sometimes possible to be poorly tolerant of effort, you feel a big hit and finally end your session quickly.

In the long run, it is crippling to progress in bodybuilding. You must limit this situation at all costs. Is your diet correct? Are you recovering enough? Is your program right for you? If all the answers to these questions are positive it may be that the problem is around your training.

This is where dietary supplements can be effective, whether before or during your session to improve your performance or after to better recover.

Boosters can give you a big boost if you’re not in shape. I actually wrote an article so you can do your own homemade Pre Workout.

Filling up on amino acids, consuming carbohydrates and getting some caffeine have always helped me to train longer and harder.

The conclusion and tips to get closer to an optimal training duration

A workout actually lasts between 45 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes before going flat, but this is by no means an “optimal session duration”.

You will have understood it, the duration of a training does not matter , it is especially your schedule, your level, the type of training, your objectives, the form of the day and nervous / energy exhaustion that limits you. To achieve your goals, the most important thing is to progress during your sessions by following a program adapted to your goals.

Remember, training alone is insufficient. Eating and recovering is just as important to improving the quality of your workouts and ensuring results, otherwise you may stagnate quite quickly.

For an athlete, food supplements are not essential, but can contribute to better recovery, to fill certain gaps in the diet and to improve performance during your sessions.

To recap, in order to best distribute the time spent in the gym, you must determine:

  1. The time available over a week
  2. Your strengths / weaknesses
  3. Your goals

All you have to do is write your personalized weight training program and develop it over time based on your results and your feelings.

BySteve Howard

Cinnamon and bodybuilding

What is cinnamon?

Cinnamon is an aromatic plant substance that comes from the inner bark of the cinnamon tree. It has been known since ancient times in its original form: small tubes. Today it is widely used in ground form in desserts and other dishes. Indeed, it is very appreciated for its fragrant flavor as well as for its unique taste. Cinnamon is rich in antioxidants which are beneficial for health. It also contains a very large amount of fiber (2g of cinnamon contains 1.3g of fiber). Cinnamon would therefore have antioxidant properties to protect the body cells against damage caused by free radicals. It could therefore have many health benefits.

Scientific studies and benefits of cinnamon

We are going to look at its benefits in the field of bodybuilding. Recently, numerous trials have explored the beneficial effects of cinnamon in Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, arthritis and arteriosclerosis (1).

According to another study, cinnamon plays a major role in regulating blood sugar and cholesterol levels. In fact, cinnamon has made it possible to lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels in humans thanks to the consumption of cinnamon regardless of the dosage. Cinnamon therefore controls the level of sugar and insulin in the body and could therefore help you lose weight and lose your stomach indirectly. Its use could significantly reduce body weight, BMI, and waist-to-hip ratio (2).

In summary, cinnamon improves the glycogen dose in the muscles for better use and efficiency of carbohydrates. This means that for the same amount of carbohydrates, adding cinnamon will improve their effectiveness. In addition, cinnamon could be interesting in some cases:

  • When you are dry, it is important to optimize the use of carbohydrates. Indeed, the amount of carbohydrates should be limited to better burn fat. If you add cinnamon, your body will improve the use of carbohydrates for more energy. So you won’t need a lot of carbohydrates to recover.
  • When cinnamon is consumed after intensive training, it would accelerate muscle recovery by restoring glycogen stores in the muscles more quickly and easily.
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Cinnamon in a few words

  • It improves breath
  • It promotes weight loss
  • It eliminates acne and blackheads on the skin
  • It slows down the aging of the skin
  • It helps fight insulin and cholesterol
  • It controls blood sugar levels to maintain insulin sensitivity
  • It has antibacterial properties
  • It is a powerful antioxidant
  • It protects you against the risks of cardiovascular disease, cancer and other diseases
  • It relieves the cold and prevents you from catching diseases
  • It improves digestion

Faced with these many advantages, it would be a shame to go without cinnamon! If you haven’t adopted it yet, give it a try!

How to use cinnamon?

Cinnamon goes very well and easily with your desserts. You can easily add it to your yogurt, drinks, cottage cheese and any other food you want. You can also add it to your breakfasts such as bowlcakes, protein pancakes, protein powder and oatmeal, fruit … Cinnamon goes well with almost any sweet meal! After that, let your imagination run wild!

BySteve Howard

The Solution to Progress

Using a heavier workload, heavier from session to session is, in theory, the most effective way to build muscle mass and strength. Based on this fact, it is legitimate to wonder if isolation exercise really has a place in a weight training program.

Is this a waste of time? Do you have to focus all of your efforts on basic movements? To boost your progress, you can finally determine precisely when to do isolation exercises.

You can also find a list of movements at the end of the article to establish your own training program.


What is an isolation exercise in strength training?

Unlike polyarticular exercises, isolation movements involve only one joint. As a result, fewer muscles will intervene during the effort which allows you to concentrate more on the target muscle .

Let’s take as an example a poly and an iso for a bicep session.

The only basic movement for the biceps: pull-ups, supine grip (or fixed bar pull). Indeed, two joints are used: the elbows and the shoulders. Thus, the biceps, deltoids and some muscles of the back therefore lift the load.

As an isolation exercise , let’s mention a classic: the bicep curl (and its variations), since only the elbow joint moves.

exercice isolation curl biceps

At first glance, we might say to ourselves that ultimately, it would be even more judicious to train only from mono-articular exercises in order to balance the amount of work between the different muscles, but this way of proceeding is not optimal for establishing a strength training program. Let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages to find out in which case they will benefit you.


Many bodybuilders use isolation exercises as a “Finisher,” that is, they are placed at the end of a workout to consume the last grains of energy.

With this in mind, it is clear that this type of exercise can come in handy. They are much less energy-consuming and traumatic on the muscular, articular and nervous levels, than a polyarticular movement. In addition, isolation exercises are effective at congesting in addition to getting a better feeling on the target area, which gives the feeling of having done something productive.

For all of these reasons, you might be tempted to include a few iso exercises in every workout to work all of your muscles, but that would be too time consuming. The extra time spent in the gym will not match the expected results.

In fact, isolation exercises mainly do two things.

Learning and improving engine recruitment

Not feeling the target muscle on a basic movement is frustrating. At first, it is thought to be due to poor execution technique or time to adapt to the movement …

Despite your best efforts, there’s a good chance you’ll make the situation worse. Indeed, the secondary muscles will develop more, whether in strength or in mass, unlike the targeted muscle. Ultimately, this causes muscle imbalances which is both aesthetically and mechanically disabling.

By “isolating” the muscle on an isolation exercise , you learn to solicit it, to contract . So it’s more of a nervous job, we improve neuronal transmission, we create new connections.

There are many reasons for these motor recruitment imbalances:

  • The sporting past (example: a former cyclist will have an easier time recruiting his calves unlike a sedentary)
  • Genetics (You are born with strengths and weaknesses)

Thanks to this motor training, you will be able to obtain more results afterwards with polyarticular exercises. Know that every workout, good or bad, leaves a mark in your nervous system.

You can do some basic movement tests every now and then to see if the muscles can finally work synergistically, but be patient … It usually takes months or even years. A considerable gain in strength and a better feeling in general are good signals, the hours devoted to this learning are well worth it in the long term.

The magic of levers in bodybuilding: muscle insertion and bone length

Sometimes the problem is not with the nervous system itself, but rather with the wrong lever. Definitely, genetics!

Muscle insertions (where muscle is attached to bone) and bone length will have a significant impact on the effectiveness of an exercise compared to your body type.

To realize the importance of levers, you can take this test. Try to hold a dumbbell, arm parallel to the floor, elbow bent then arm straight. Result: the load seems much heavier, arms extended . So the longer your arms are, the less you will be able to handle a heavy load on lateral elevations for example.

Disadvantageous muscle insertions coupled with unfavorable bone lengths are problematic during polyarticular exercise. Take my case.

I have long believed in the myth of the miracle exercise for the pectorals: the bench press. I was convinced that by having a strict gesture there is no reason not to progress and that increasing the load was the main indicator of effectiveness. This mistake cost me a lot of time because I was taking it all on the shoulders and this gap was widening month by month.

The reason is simple, my morphology gives me bad levers for this exercise: long collarbones, long arm, thin rib cage and pecs attached high on the humerus… Stretching and contracting the pecs was less . Also, I had a hard time straining my pecs, as I had no athletic background. As the body seeks to save itself as much as possible, it places more emphasis on the secondary muscles to lift the load. In my case, it was the deltoids and the triceps.

A simple reorganization of my training schedule and hard work on isolation exercises allowed me to catch up, although we drag our weak points all our lives.


Of all the muscle growth factors, mechanical tension, that is to say the load used, remains the most effective way to gain muscle mass. The more muscles that interact with each other, the more you will be able to lift heavy loads.

As a result, it will be difficult or unproductive to handle heavy loads during an isolation exercise. It is therefore more appropriate to play on metabolic stress to gain muscle. For that, you have to favor:

  • Congestion
  • time under tension
  • burning sensation
stress métabolique congestion brulure temps sous tension musculation

All of this can be achieved with a higher number of reps, a slower negative and a controlled gesture .

In theory (and not in practice) it is therefore less effective for building muscle and gaining strength.

When should you prioritize an isolation exercise in your sports program?

It may sound complicated, but the idea of ​​this article is to make it easier for you, let’s focus on the basics.

The question to ask is simple: should you prioritize the feeling to the detriment of a heavy load?

First of all, if you are just starting out and you do not have too much bodybuilding experience, it is interesting to build your training program mainly from polyarticular exercises for two reasons. The lack of experience to analyze its morphology and the difficulty in knowing its weak points.

To accurately determine when to include an isolation exercise, it is necessary to monitor its progress with these three indicators:

  • The level of progress on your workloads
  • The difficulty in congestion, the feeling
  • The evolution of the physique as a whole (from photo)

After 4 to 6 months of regular work, it’s time to take stock. If you notice a stagnation (see a regression) in workloads and difficulty in gaining muscle where you want it, it may be better to promote isolation exercises .

Otherwise, keep the basic movements as much as possible. A few iso exercises can potentially target certain areas reluctant to muscle hypertrophy , such as the back of the shoulders, although this is not a priority.

When it comes to the wrong levers, you usually find out pretty quickly. In addition to stagnating, we have the impression that the gesture is not “natural”, sometimes causing pain. Remember the golden rule, when it hurts, it’s best to stop and move on.

Choosing the right isolation exercise in training: Machine or free weights?

Among the number of isolation exercises, it’s hard to choose … Not to mention the almost endless number of variations! If there is one thing to remember, it is that there is no miracle exercise.

The goal when you are starting out is to learn to use the target muscles . Choose an exercise that you like, that gives you a good feeling and keep it to progress on it as long as possible.

Now comes the question of machines or free weights. If you don’t have access to machines all is not lost. Conversely, if you have the opportunity to train in a well-equipped gym, you can further optimize your weight training program.

Guided devices allow you to have stable movement , you sit down and push, which allows you to concentrate to the maximum. Another advantage is that they are sometimes designed to work with better levers. For example, some pec-decks allow you to push with the elbows and not with the arms outstretched as with lying spreads. In addition to this, the variation in tension between the stretching and contracting phase remains mostly homogeneous, which guarantees optimal work.

Note: Prime brand machines even offer the possibility of modulating resistance. Example: more weight when contracting than when stretching and vice versa.

Unfortunately, despite all the settings, you will inevitably come across a machine unsuited to your body type. A feeling of forced trajectory or abnormal pain are reliable signals to know if this is right for you or not.

Regarding bodybuilding with free weights , the advantage is that with little equipment, a pair of dumbbells and rubber bands, you can do just about everything in addition to being able to adapt the trajectory to your morphology. On the other hand, you have to manage the balance and the leverage problem cannot be fixed.

Another downside, voltage variations do not always guarantee productive work. For example, when you do bench spreads for the pecs, all the tension is stretching and none of the contraction (the most interesting moment for motor learning). To limit this problem, you can use elastic bands if possible.

Isolation exercise list for each muscle

To get the most out of your bodybuilding program, you can pick from this little list. The number of isolation exercises in addition to the number of variations, whether on machine or with free load, is endless.

The key is to understand the movement , the trajectory, the variation in resistance between the phase of stretching and contraction, to let your imagination speak and best suited the exercise according to the equipment available and to your levers.


It is important to vary the angles of attack to develop the pecs as a whole. At first, if you’re having trouble feeling your pecs, focus on the angle that gives you the most sensation.

  • Spreads with dumbbells (lying, inclined or declining)
  • Cross-over with the pulley opposite
  • Peck-Deck


It is often difficult to recruit back muscles when you are just starting out. Introducing an isolation exercise at the start of the session can potentially be helpful in overcoming this problem.

  • Pull-Over at the high pulley
  • Shrugs
  • Reverse Shrugs
  • Lateral flexions at the high pulley


As with the pecs, it is more interesting to focus on one or two exercises that provide good sensations rather than wanting to target all the portions of the biceps.

  • Supine curl
  • Hammer curl
  • Incline bench curl
  • Desk curl
  • Drag curls
  • Spider curls

In addition to this article, you can read the one dedicated to bicep exercises to do without equipment.


If the development of the triceps is problematic, you can select two exercises , one with the arm along the body, the other close to the head, in order to develop the head lateral and medial .

  • Kickback
  • Pulley pushdown
  • Triceps extensions
  • French press


The specific work of forearm muscles is useful if you lack mass or grip on certain exercises such as pull-ups or deadlifts or simply to prevent certain pathologies.

  • Wrist curl
  • Wrist extension
  • Inverted curl


Isolation exercises for the deltoids help to develop harmonious shoulders. Generally, specific work is required for the lateral portion and the posterior bundles.

  • Lateral elevations
  • Frontal elevations
  • Lean forward elevations


The abdominal strap work is not just about the aesthetic. The development of this allows you to be stronger on most polyarticular exercises while providing additional protection to the spine.

  • Crunch
  • Leg raises
  • AB Wheel
  • AB Coaster
  • Side bust raises
  • Lateral leg raises
  • Pelvic rotations
  • Gainage


To protect your back, especially in the face of a herniated disc, it is essential to devote time to your lower back.

  • Good morning
  • Bust raises on bench
  • Revers hyper


Sometimes, the morphology tends to favor the work of the glutes on the basic movements. Complementary work can be useful to learn how to recruit the quadriceps or to give a more harmonious shape to the muscle.

  • Leg extensions
  • Sissy squat
  • Leg raises

If you are training at home, you can consult my article dedicated to leg exercises to do without equipment.


Too often neglected, developed hamstrings allow: to offer additional protection to the knees, to give a lot of mass to the thighs and to gain considerable strength on polyarticular exercises.


Basic movements are usually sufficient to develop your glutes . Depending on your goals, some isolation exercises can be incorporated into your program.

  • Hip extensions
  • Lateral leg raises


Generally, the body type dictates the time needed to spend on the calves. We all know someone who unfairly has naturally grown calves. If these are a weak point, you will have to devote a lot of time to rectify the situation.

  • Standing calf extensions
  • Seated calf extensions
  • Bending bust calf extensions

Conclusion about isolation exercises to ensure muscle mass gain

This list is far from complete but still enough to build your first strength training programs.

Unfortunately, it would take way too long to go into depth on all these isolation exercises and I must admit that some details can bring a real plus to accelerate your progress and to adapt better the movement to your morphology. I think I can compile my years of experience into a guide dedicated to this topic if you’re interested.

In short, polyarticular exercises and heavy loads, that is to say mechanical tension, should be favored for the muscles receptive to this type of training. Progress in strength and muscle mass gain are good indicators.

Conversely, if you stagnate and find it difficult to use a particular muscle, it is necessary to go through a learning phase. To do this, it is necessary to promote metabolic stress by increasing the time under tension, by resisting this burning sensation as long as possible and by seeking to make the target muscle congest thanks to isolation exercises .

After several months and years of practice, you can implement this type of movement in order to precisely target certain muscle portions. The goal then is to obtain the most harmonious physique possible.

BySteve Howard

Breathing in Bodybuilding to Gain Strength

Breathing greatly influences bodybuilding performance and safety. The way of breathing must be adapted, depending on the sport and the type of effort. In view of its importance, it is imperative that you learn to manage your breath as soon as possible, to eventually make it a habit.

Let’s see what it will do for you first, before looking at the different ways of breathing to improve your workouts. We will end with exercises to strengthen the respiratory muscles , not only for the sake of efficiency, but also aesthetics.

The importance of oxygenation and respiration in bodybuilding

Contrary to what one might think, breathing is not automatic , but rather semi-automatic. We can act on the way of breathing, its rhythm, its blocking, to benefit from it. This is why it is necessary to briefly go over the fundamentals, in order to understand why breathing is so important in weight training. The respiratory cycle has two phases:

  • The inspiration : we inflate the lungs with air, loaded with oxygen . The blood is then responsible for redistributing oxygen in the body, especially in muscle tissue. This oxygen is essential for the krebs cycle to produce energy.
  • The exhalation : you empty the lungs and release carbon dioxide (waste).

air oxygène poumon respiration

Starting from this fact, it is legitimate to say to yourself that it is enough just to inhale on the negative and to exhale on the positive phase not to disturb the cycle, but haven’t you noticed something? during your workouts?

Should you block your breathing in weight training during exercise?

We often hear it said that you should never block your breathing in weight training. Personally, I have never seen an athlete do 100kg squats, breathing without blocking.

In reality, when the effort is short and intense, a respiratory blockage for a few seconds will not interfere with energy production. In this case, we use another energy route: the anaerobic route. This sector uses ATP (energy source), stored in our muscles.

If you are new to bodybuilding, you probably have the reflex to block your breathing throughout a series and from a mechanical point of view, this is normal. In fact, your body is trying its best to make it easier for you.

By blocking breathing, several muscles contract , including:

  • The abdominal strap
  • The intercostals
  • Serrated
  • Paravertebrals
  • Prevertebral muscles (neck muscles)
muscles respiratoires anatomie

Thanks to the contraction of these muscles, in addition to the intra-abdominal pressure, the trunk becomes rigid and powerful. Therefore, in addition to being stronger, it protects your spine.

Of course, needless to say that you should not do freediving either. The goal is therefore to play on inspiration, expiration and blocking to have breathing adapted to the effort.

In summary, knowing how to manage your breathing on a weight training exercise provides:

  • A gain in strength
  • Safety (stabilizing the spine and pelvis)
  • Sufficient ventilation for the body

How to manage your breathing during your weight training?

It would be far too easy to give a universal rule! For example, the way of breathing on a heavy squat is going to be different compared to crunches for your abs. Let’s take a closer look at the different phases:

  • Inspiration: This is when you are weakest, most vulnerable, but essential for oxygenation and energy production .
  • The exhale: you are stronger than the inspiration. Likewise, essential to reject waste (CO2) before renewing the respiratory cycle.
  • The blockage: you are in a position of strength, your bust is rigid and (partly) stabilizes your spine.

In short, we can retain 2 types of bodybuilding effort: short, intense work with heavy loads (6 to 15 repetitions), generally this concerns polyarticular exercises. Or, long sets with a light load, for isolation exercises.

Breathe well during exercises with heavy loads

Losing 1 in 10 reps is 10% less work. In other words, you have to put all the chances on your side to be stronger on your series in order to gain repetitions to progress in bodybuilding.

In addition to that, the heavier you put on, the more dangerous the exercise becomes, especially for your spine (compression …), especially during leg exercises.

For all these reasons, you must take care to control your breath .

Method 1: Partially block your breathing

The goal here is to hold your breath for 1-2 seconds where it is most difficult. This makes explosive work possible while maintaining sufficient force. It’s easy to follow up without resting at each repetition. However, stabilization of the spine is not ensured throughout the movement.

Therefore, this method is more suitable for upper body exercises.

In practice:

  1. Negative phase (eccentric): At this time, the muscles are powerful, you have to breathe in .
  2. End of the negative phase, start of the positive: block your breathing for 1 to 2 seconds to gain strength when starting the positive (difficult moment).
  3. Positive phase: End the movement by exhaling .

For example, with the bench press, you inhale when you lower the bar, you block to start the push and you end the push by exhaling.

On pulling movements, like pull-ups, it’s a little different because you start on the concentric phase. It is best to start by blocking your breathing , finish the movement by exhaling before coming down again while inhaling.

Method 2: Respiratory blockade, aka, the Valsalva maneuver

Known in medicine and in scuba diving, the Valsalva maneuver is also used in strength sports such as powerlifting. Besides, you do this naturally when you sneeze or cough. The goal here is therefore to exhale with the airways closed.

Note that this method should be avoided for people with heart problems or hypertension (increased blood pressure).

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Take a deep breath before starting your rehearsal.
  2. Negative and positive phase, blocked breathing .
  3. End of repetition: breathe out and inhale to repeat the cycle.

blocage respiratoire soulevé de terre sport

For example, in the squat: you breathe in before you start, the descent and ascent is done by exhaling with the glottis closed to finally expel the air at the end of the movement.

This allows you to be fully in a position of strength in addition to stabilizing the spine throughout the movement. On the other hand, it is not possible to go through the repetitions without taking a few seconds of pause, to catch your breath. Working with explosives and / or continuous tension is therefore difficult.

This method is preferred for sets with heavy loads and where the spine is vulnerable, such as squats or deadlifts.

Breathing on light weight training exercises with lots of repetitions

What limits performance in long sets is not so much strength, but rather fatigue and muscle burn . To limit this, you must constantly bring oxygen to the body in order to be more enduring. As a result, respiratory blockage may or may not be useful.

As a general rule, you should:

  1. Inspire on the eccentric phase
  2. Exhale on the concentric

As an example, let’s take the curl for the biceps: you inhale on the way down and you exhale on the way up.

Be careful with hyperventilation on low amplitude weight training exercises, especially those for the abdominals. Common sense is required to have a normal respiratory rate .

Improve your breathing by strengthening your respiratory muscles

Given the importance of the respiratory muscles, strengthening them can be beneficial in order to be more efficient.

When you inhale, the diaphragm contracts (it goes down), the lungs fill with air thanks to the phenomenon of decompression and the ribs open ( stretching of the intercostals). Conversely, when you breathe out, the diaphragm rises and the ribs return to their original position to expel the air.

muscle diaphragme

Although other muscles are involved in pulmonary ventilation , we will focus on the diaphragm, separating the abdomen from the thorax and the intercostals.

Deep breathing exercise to strengthen the diaphragm, the Vacuum

Much less popular today, this strength training exercise mainly works the diaphragm and transverse . There is a twofold advantage of integrating this exercise into your program, not only for practical purposes, but also aesthetics, it allows you to:

  • Strengthen the diaphragm for respiratory strength and endurance .
  • Have a flat stomach (and therefore a slimmer waist) thanks to the transverse.

Moreover, the Vacuum was very famous in the golden age of bodybuilding, in the 70s / 80s, in order to slim the waist and accentuate the V.

franck zane arnold schwarzenegger musculation vacuum respiration

If you find it difficult to have a homogeneous and traced abdominal strap, you will have to work more on your Vacuum. Note that it is people with a large rib cage who will benefit from a more marked result.

The advantage of this exercise is that it can be done anywhere without any equipment, whether standing, sitting or lying down. For convenience, it is best to do the exercise lying down.

Nothing could be simpler for that. You just have to empty the air from your lungs , then inhale , glottis closed, in order to retract the belly as much as possible (the principle is the same as inhaled in an empty bottle). The position should be maintained for a few seconds before repeating the movement. If the goal is to be more enduring during your workouts, do not hesitate to do a lot of repetitions (over 30).

The diaphragm being a muscle like any other, it may be interesting to do some series as a warm-up at the start of the session, to be even more efficient.

Soften the rib cage to leave more room for the lungs

Originally, the goal of the pullover is to soften the rib cage (stretching the intercostals) and not to work the pecs or backs (although these muscles are also requested). Simply put, this is work to improve the expansion of the cage during inhalation, when the lungs are inflating.

muscles intercostaux cage thoracique

With regard to the execution of the movement, it is necessary: ​​

  • Take a deep breath on the descent
  • Blow while going up

Especially when it comes to stretching work, the amplitude should be large, performing a lot of repetitions with a light load. No need to put on heavy even if you are able to lift more, otherwise you will tear the long head of your triceps. Let’s also add that by bringing the dumbbell far in front of you, you also recruit the previous serrations.

Some weight rooms are equipped with a pull-over machine. For having tested a hammer, I find the machine rather well designed. Sitting is more comfortable than lying down, the stretch is sufficient and the tension is constant unlike dumbbells. Ultimately, if you are lucky enough to have this machine available, don’t hesitate to use it if your goal is to soften your cage.

Specific work of the respiratory muscles participating in inspiration and expiration

The accessory muscles involved in inspiration can be worked in specific ways. Strengthening these muscles is especially helpful in delaying shortness of breath .

The exercise is simple to perform and requires little equipment. To do this, you just need to restrict the expansion of your rib cage, during swelling of the lungs on inspiration.

So you can do it very well lying down, placing a load on your chest or standing using a rubber band.

Personally, I prefer to do it standing. To do this, I hang a rubber band (resistance 25kg) on ​​a pole, at chest height. Once inside the elastic, I stretch it so that I have enough resistance to constrain my breathing .

Regarding the number of repetitions, do not hesitate to go beyond 30, 40 repetitions.