If you’re looking for new exercises to build muscle, I think you’ll like this post.
I’ve started lifting weights before Gmail, YouTube, and Facebook even existed. Can you imagine?
The net was not what it is today, and coming across great exercises to sculpt your body was actually pretty hard. Today, I’ll share with you my favourite books and websites to do just that, so you won’t have to search around for years like I did to come up with this list.
But why would you want to learn new exercises, anyway? Well:
– To build muscle faster! Researchers from Brazil have found you should build muscle faster (about 2.47% in 9 weeks) if you swap in exercises you feel like doing when you work out
– To target your muscles with more precision, so you can sculpt your body like the statue of a Greek God
– For variety, to keep training fresh and fun
– To avoid injuries, by tweaking your technique and adapting common exercise to your own anatomy and frame
Above all, for me, learning new exercises was like learning the craft. It was fun. I liked to experiment and discover how each muscle would feel when I did new exercises, or variations on old ones. How my body would react. Where I would get a pump, and which muscles would grow. Feeling sore for the first time in seldom-used muscles felt good, too.
I learned proper technique with a book, Delavier’s Strength Training Anatomy. I cherished that book, and it served me well for years.
Delavier has since published more interesting books:
I own the last two. They’re great.
If you’re looking for more exercise ideas, The Men’s Health Big Book of Exercises is a good bet. Nothing groundbreaking, but all the basics are there, including many variations of each basic exercise.
A free resource on the Web (with videos) is ExRx’s Exercise & Muscle Directory. Here too, you’ll find pretty much every basic exercise most trainers know. It’s thorough, with (for example) 92 exercises just for the abs. It’s also become the reference for exercise names. The names we use in Dr. Muscle come from ExRx.
More advanced new exercises to build muscle
For more advanced exercises, I’d recommend Nick Nilsson’s The Best Exercises You’ve Never Heard Of. It has 53 unique and innovative exercises, with tricks for performing them and common errors to avoid. It’s an eBook with photos and videos included. I was surprised to learn a bunch of new exercises from that book, even after years of training and experience as a personal trainer.
That book must have sold well, because Nick Nilsson published a bunch of other books with exercises “you’ve never heard of.” I also think Nick is a creative coach who likes to experiment and come up with new exercise no one has thought about previously. Oh, and Nick is huuuuuuuuge. Drug-free, I’m guessing, too.
– The Best Bodyweight Exercises You’ve Never Heard Of
– The Best Core Exercises You’ve Never Heard Of
– The Best Leg Exercises You’ve Never Heard Of
– The Best Abdominal Exercises You’ve Never Heard Of
– The Best Arm Exercises You’ve Never Heard Of
– The Best Chest Exercises You’ve Never Heard Of
– The Best Back Exercises You’ve Never Heard Of
– The Best Shoulder Exercises You’ve Never Heard Of
– The Best Fat Loss Exercises You’ve Never Heard Of
I ended up buying all of them, and I don’t regret it.
Collectively, these books can teach you hundreds of exercises. You don’t need hundreds of exercises to build muscle, of course. But learning new ones is fun and helpful, as we’ve seen above.
If you decide to learn new ones, let me know which ones you like the best. I’m always curious to learn more.
Thanks for reading this far.
Your friend in science-based natural bodybuilding,
Carl Juneau, PhD