Best Muscle Building Exercises

dumbbell-curlsLest anyone ever suggest that muscle building involves little more than mindlessly lifting the heaviest weight manageable for a few sets of low repetitions using your limbs… continue reading.

Bodybuilding not only produces some of the best physiques, but recruits some of the most inquisitive minds. Today, anyone engaged in a strength training program can take advantage of thoroughly scientific investigative methods which explore exactly what the best muscle building exercises are.

Amateur and professional athletes alike may find themselves calling into doubt what they previously considered their “ideal” routine, as they discover that what is truly ideal is whatever is most appropriate for them at the present moment.


When muscle building exercises are selected, the choices made are dependent upon the physiological response induced by a particular movement. Though science has classified resistance training exercises in many ways, one of the most credible and complete classifications involves the use of EMG – Electromyography. EMG is a technique which records and evaluates the electrical activity produced within specific groups of skeletal muscles. Any movement causes electrical activity, and EMG allows researchers to determine which exercises produce the most activity. In knowing this, an objective measurement can be obtained. When scientific research is applied, any routine’s effectiveness and appeal will be increased.

In Serious Strength Training by Dr. Tudor Bompa, Professor Emeritus, York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, results were obtained from the application of EMG to different muscle groups, and the findings published are summarized below. Exercises are listed from top to bottom, beginning with the highest levels of stimulation to the lowest, for each muscle group.


chest EMGchest EMG2


shoulders EMG

shoulders EMG2


back EMG


biceps EMGbiceps EMG2


Triceps EMG


Legs EMG

The figures above show variance in the ability of different exercises to induce motor unit activation. Some exercises differ by only small amounts – others considerably more. Though some individuals may find these differences inconsequential on paper, other athletes may see that by applying these findings to their regime, their muscle building progresses more than they thought possible.

Last Updated on November 17, 2014