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How Many Exercises Should I Do per Muscle Group?

June 8, 2010

Jackie Corcoran, Personal Trainer at The Ridge Athletic Club, just picked up a new book at Barnes & Noble called “The Women’s Health Big Book of Exercises.”  It’s an awesome book that gives you the correct technique, muscle groups, and variations of tons of exercises.  The book also answers all of your common lifting questions, hence the title, of this post, How Many Exercises Should I Do per Muscle Group?

One.  It’s an approach that’s simple and effective. You actually obtain most of the benefits of weight lifting from the first exercise you do, when your muscles are fresh. For instance, let’s say you complete three sets of each of the dumbbell bench press, the incline dumbbell bench press, and the dumbbell fly. By the time you reach the last exercise, the amount of weight you can handle is far lower than had you done that movement first. See for yourself by trying the routine in reverse order: You’ll find that for the dummbell bench press, you’ll be able to lift far less than wehn you do it first–and have to use a weight you’d normally consider too light. So the benefit to your muscles will have diminished. That’s why, most of the time, sticking with one exercise per muscle group makes the most sense, especially if you have a limited amount of time to work out.” (The Women’s Health Big Book of Exercises, Campbell, page 16-17)

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