3 Best Muscle-Building Exercises

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Never confuse activity with achievement. The best intentions can be undone first and foremost by making poor exercise choices. So let’s be perfectly clear: Some movements are better than others when it comes to building muscle. If you want to build titanic triceps—which make up roughly two-thirds of your arm mass, by the way—then you should check out the 10 exercises below. They’re the best for building solid back-arm mass.

Why it’s on the list: The guys who literally wrote the book on how to optimize training with EMG-based exercise selection point to this as the best overall triceps activation exercise.1 While this move—also known as a French press or lying triceps extension—doesn’t necessarily isolate the lateral or long-triceps head more than the other exercises, the arm position perpendicular to your body combines the activity of the two heads to catapult this movement to the top of the list.

Building a pair of sleeve-stretching arms is on the brain of many gym-goers, but nobody approaches it the same way: Some guys head straight for the cables to perform all manner of push-downs, while others embark on a 90-minute tour of every exercise they know. Alas, the result of either method is lackluster growth.

Lie on your stomach on the ground. Keep your legs together and straight out behind you. Put your palms flat on the floor next to your shoulders, fingers pointed forward. Your forearms should be approximately a shoulder-width apart.

  • Support your body weight with your toes and forearms.
  • Keep your torso level with the floor.
  • Your elbows should be bent, pulled in close to your body and pointed back.

As you can see, when each of the three heads become pronounced, they form the distinctive “horseshoe” shape.

You can also see that the lateral head is the largest of the three and this is the one that both develops the fastest and most determines the overall look of your triceps.

In short, when people think of “big triceps,” they’re thinking of big lateral heads.

That said, if you want the full, “3-D” look, you want to make sure all three heads are well developed.

Why it’s on the list: The guys who literally wrote the book on how to optimize training with EMG-based exercise selection point to this as the best overall triceps activation exercise.1 While this move—also known as a French press or lying triceps extension—doesn’t necessarily isolate the lateral or long-triceps head more than the other exercises, the arm position perpendicular to your body combines the activity of the two heads to catapult this movement to the top of the list.

Even doctors may be tempted to give up trying to convince their overweight patients to lose weight. Although Medicare now covers up to 20 visits for weight loss counseling each year, few doctors (or perhaps I should say a few patients) have taken advantage of this benefit. Yet only a 5 percent or 10 percent reduction in weight can often result in a significant improvement in health risks like high blood pressure, blood sugar or serum cholesterol levels. In other words, you don’t have to become model-thin to improve your health and life expectancy.

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