Maximum Fibre Recruitment on Exercises using EMG

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Maximum Fibre Recruitment on Exercises using EMG

Postby kp1512 on Fri Jun 05, 2009 9:20 am

One of the studies I was referin to in Health's section

If you're new to the weightlifting game, there are hundreds of different exercises. How are you supposed to know which ones are effective and which ones aren't? And if you have been lifting for some time, how are you supposed to decipher the best exercises from the mediocre ones?

Well, thanks to EMG (Electromyography), we can now determine the best exercises for each muscle group. An EMG is a device that is used for measuring extremely small amounts of electricity generated by muscles below the surface of the skin. Let me explain how EMG works so you can get a better idea.

Two collectors called electrodes are placed on the surface of the skin above the muscle being tested. A computer determines the underlying electrical difference. These differences may indicate excessive muscle tension. For our purposes, the differences will also determine the percent of muscle fibers being stressed.

The following are the best exercises for each body part in order of most effective to least. Beside the number is the percentage of muscle fibers worked.

Chest

Decline dumbbell bench press - 93%
Incline dumbbell press - 91%
Decline bench press - 89%
Flat dumbbell bench press - 87%
Flat barbell bench press - 85%
The flat barbell bench press, an exercise that is done by many beginners, is one of the least effective exercises. With chest, we can see that dumbbells are far superior to barbells.

Biceps

One-arm preacher curl, *N/A
Incline dumbbells, N/A
Barbell curl w/ narrow grip, N/A
The best bicep exercises are the ones that isolate them. It is very hard to cheat on one-arm preacher curls and the incline dumbbell curls keep your biceps in a stretched position at the bottom.

Triceps

Skull crushers on a decline bench, N/A
Pushdowns w/ a rope, N/A
Skull crushers are an effective exercise, but doing them on a decline bench keeps them in constant tension through out the whole movement. With a rope, you can add an extra pushing out movement at the bottom of a pushdown.

Lats

Bent over barbell rows - 93%
One arm dumbbell rows - 91%
T-bar rows - 89%
Lat pulldown - 86%
Seated pulley rows - 83%
I was surprised myself that pull-ups weren't one of the best exercises. The bent over row is the most effective exercise for the lats, and should be included in every back workout. It doesn't matter where they are, just include them.

Side Delts
Incline dumbbell side laterals - 66%
Standing dumbbell side laterals - 63%
Seated dumbbell side laterals - 62%
Cable side laterals - 47%
Many prefer to do their laterals seated because they can execute a more strict movement, but doing them in this fashion reduces the percent of muscle fibers being worked. Dumbbells prove to be more effective than cables.

Rear Delts

Standing dumbbell bent laterals - 85%
Seated dumbbell laterals - 83%
Standing cable bent laterals - 77%
Same as with side delts.

Calves

Donkey calf raise - 80%
Standing one-leg calf raises - 79%
Standing two-leg calf raises - 68%
Seated calf raises - 61%
Donkey calf raises are a forgotten exercise that I rarely see people doing. If you have weak calves, you should definitely be doing these. The one-legged versions are more effective for calves than the two-legged versions.

Hamstrings


Standing leg curls - 82%
Lying leg curls - 71%
Seated leg curls - 58%
Sitff-legged-deadlift - 56%
Just like with calves, the one-legged hamstring exercises are more effective.

Quads


Leg extension, N/A
Squats, N/A
Lunges, N/A
The leg extension is the most effective exercise here. The reason is because it's an isolation movement, and the quads are doing all of the work. Squats should be included in every workout. Even though they are one of the best compound movements, they still work the quads to a great deal. In recent studies, foot placement was shown to have little effect.

Abs


Bicycle crunch maneuver, N/A
Hanging leg raise, N/A
Crunches on an exercise ball, N/A
In the bicycle maneuver, all the parts of the abdominals are being worked, upper, lower, and the obliques. The crunch on an exercise ball requires more stabilizer muscles.

We can conclude some ideas from these readings. An exercise can never work 100% of muscles fibers, which is why it is important to perform a variety of exercises and to change your workout every couple of weeks. Every exercise wasn't tested in this study, so it would be advisable to include some of these exercises in your routine and also experiment with others to see which gives you the best feeling. The exercises listed here are not necessarily the best mass-builders but they were proven to be the most effective.

* No studies were done that showed the percentage of muscle fibers being worked. However, studies were done to determine the most effective.

To learn more on muscle fibers and how to utilize they different ways your muscles will work by using different twitch methods, click here!

Sources

1. The science behind the physique: EMG Relived. http://www.tudorbumpa.com/org.htm
2. Fahey, Thomas EdD. 25 best lifts. December, 2001. http://www.musculardevelopment.com/new/25bestlifts.htm
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Re: Maximum Fibre Recruitment on Exercises using EMG

Postby simon m on Fri Jun 05, 2009 9:32 am

KP

I've read this before but "real world" results are very much different. For Example, no one has ever created large quads just doing leg extensions, but plenty have using squats.

The same can be said of declines as the decline bench is nowhere near as effective in real life as the incline as whilst you can use more weight on the decline due to redcued ROM, the incline is a more comfortable as your head is not below your heart and therefore you can push in comfortable and concentrate on feeling so the muscle/mind connection is stronger and the resulst will be better.
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Re: Maximum Fibre Recruitment on Exercises using EMG

Postby kp1512 on Fri Jun 05, 2009 9:48 am

Id agree - but dont forget this was looking at the exact muscle.
Squats are top as they effect the entire body and legs - so it would be interesting to see a total body impact on squats and heavy leg presses. People have made huge legs on Leg Presses without squats - ie Dorian and co.

Not sure about decline though - how many people actually use it as much as say bench? How many use it at all? tough one to answer.
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Re: Maximum Fibre Recruitment on Exercises using EMG

Postby Karlos on Fri Jun 05, 2009 12:51 pm

Yeah, definitely not the whole story.

simon m wrote:KP

I've read this before but "real world" results are very much different. For Example, no one has ever created large quads just doing leg extensions, but plenty have using squats.

The same can be said of declines as the decline bench is nowhere near as effective in real life as the incline as whilst you can use more weight on the decline due to redcued ROM, the incline is a more comfortable as your head is not below your heart and therefore you can push in comfortable and concentrate on feeling so the muscle/mind connection is stronger and the resulst will be better.


Agree with the squats obviously, but i think what you're saying about decline is entirely down to your experience. I find inclines very uncomfortable and wouldn't get a good chest 'workout' at all, plus i don't mind being on a decline bench at all.

kp1512 wrote:Id agree - but dont forget this was looking at the exact muscle.
Squats are top as they effect the entire body and legs - so it would be interesting to see a total body impact on squats and heavy leg presses. People have made huge legs on Leg Presses without squats - ie Dorian and co.

Not sure about decline though - how many people actually use it as much as say bench? How many use it at all? tough one to answer.
.

A big plus to heavy squats etc is the hormonal response they cause and i've always thought people who are assisted (particularly pro's who are often on abit of everything) could get away with more 'direct stimulation', as the hormonal response from the likes of squats would be pretty negligible for them anyhoo.
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Re: Maximum Fibre Recruitment on Exercises using EMG

Postby simon m on Fri Jun 05, 2009 1:03 pm

Having your head below the level of your heart whilst expending force is a very poor idea and I don't know anyone would would trying to shift maximal weights this way. If you do Karlos, then you are the only person I've come across who does.
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Re: Maximum Fibre Recruitment on Exercises using EMG

Postby Karlos on Fri Jun 05, 2009 1:10 pm

lol i've done 3rms on the decline, it's certainly no worse than maximal deadlifts or squats with a belt!- Infact blood pressure wise, it doesn't even come close in my experience. TBH though my decline is not huge, 20 degrees from parallel probably.
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Re: Maximum Fibre Recruitment on Exercises using EMG

Postby Bison on Fri Jun 05, 2009 1:20 pm

Karlos wrote:Agree with the squats obviously, but i think what you're saying about decline is entirely down to your experience. I find inclines very uncomfortable and wouldn't get a good chest 'workout' at all, plus i don't mind being on a decline bench at all..

Karlos I used to be like you and hated Inclines, now they're probably stronger than my flat!

Mind to muscle dude and being able to focus the stres a weight causes onto the target muscle. Use only a slight incline, use DB's and start light. Stretch at the bottom and go in at the top, push the DB's together to squeeze the chest. You might not get it straight away but after 2-4 workouts you'll notice the difference trust me.

You could even use some "pre-fatigue" and do a few flyes first ;) :D

Once you stop using the delts and triceps to do most of the work you're upper chest will come on leaps and bounds mate.
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Re: Maximum Fibre Recruitment on Exercises using EMG

Postby exclusive on Fri Jun 05, 2009 1:27 pm

I love decline!!! Ive maxed out on it plenty of times and felt fine, Worked upto 3 plates 1rm before, infact did a 3rm yesterday as missed going really heavy since the huge cut. :D
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Re: Maximum Fibre Recruitment on Exercises using EMG

Postby Karlos on Fri Jun 05, 2009 1:38 pm

Bison wrote:Karlos I used to be like you and hated Inclines, now they're probably stronger than my flat!

Mind to muscle dude and being able to focus the stres a weight causes onto the target muscle. Use only a slight incline, use DB's and start light. Stretch at the bottom and go in at the top, push the DB's together to squeeze the chest. You might not get it straight away but after 2-4 workouts you'll notice the difference trust me.

You could even use some "pre-fatigue" and do a few flyes first ;) :D

Once you stop using the delts and triceps to do most of the work you're upper chest will come on leaps and bounds mate.


I've never got the whole upper chest thing tbh? Where is this legendary upper chest? :lol: I'm not taking the piss, i really don't get how you can isolate the pectoral minor?
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Re: Maximum Fibre Recruitment on Exercises using EMG

Postby Dtlv74 on Fri Jun 05, 2009 1:42 pm

Karlos wrote:A big plus to heavy squats etc is the hormonal response they cause and i've always thought people who are assisted (particularly pro's who are often on abit of everything) could get away with more 'direct stimulation', as the hormonal response from the likes of squats would be pretty negligible for them anyhoo.


I think that is the important bit - leg extensions may be more effective than squats at working the muscles fibers of the quads, but squats may still provide a greater stimulation of protein synthesis due to the hormonal response and activation of various pathways leading to growth.

With compounds too you are able to use a heavier load than any of the muscles worked could handle in an isolation movement - this load sharing allows stimulation of the biggest, strongest type II fibers which an isolation exercise, even if done heavy, might not hit so well.
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Re: Maximum Fibre Recruitment on Exercises using EMG

Postby health4ni on Fri Jun 05, 2009 1:52 pm

What muscle fibres of the quads do they test? There's quite a few muscles that make up the quads and different leg exercises hit different parts of the quads differently. IF they say just tested say the Vastus Medialis then it's a flawed experiment. Interesting though.
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Re: Maximum Fibre Recruitment on Exercises using EMG

Postby Bison on Fri Jun 05, 2009 1:53 pm

Karlos wrote:I've never got the whole upper chest thing tbh? Where is this legendary upper chest? :lol: I'm not taking the piss, i really don't get how you can isolate the pectoral minor?

Hiding under my moobs..? :lol:

The reason I've started to target my upper chest is because once you get a good amount of muscle on the pecs they can look bottom heavy, I do actually look like I've got tits when wearing a T-Shirt sometimes lol. I think a fuller chest like Arnie had for example looks far better?

I know a lot of it's down to genetics but we can try :)
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Re: Maximum Fibre Recruitment on Exercises using EMG

Postby Bison on Fri Jun 05, 2009 1:54 pm

health4ni wrote:What muscle fibres of the quads do they test? There's quite a few muscles that make up the quads and different leg exercises hit different parts of the quads differently. IF they say just tested say the Vastus Medialis then it's a flawed experiment. Interesting though.

Exactly, what about the triceps for example? Do they measure all the heads?

Overhead tricep extentions will hammer the long head but what would decline bench do or tricep pushdowns??
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