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Save a doomed workout with a better understanding of anatomy

Muscular proportion and symmetry are created by intelligent exercise choices—not by chance. That's why Dr. Nick Evans, a highly regarded authority on strength training, nutrition, and weight training injuries, believes that knowledge of anatomy is the key to success for any serious bodybuilder. By taking the guesswork out of bodybuilding anatomy, he emphasizes that efforts at the gym will be more productive and efficient, producing maximum results in minimum time.


“It's no secret what you want from your workouts: a custom-built body,” says Evans, author of Bodybuilding Anatomy, a book whose first edition sold more than 50,000 copies and has proven to be a trusted resource for serious strength training enthusiasts, bodybuilders, and strength and conditioning professionals. “In order to change the way you look, you must modify your anatomy. You should skillfully use weights to sculpt your body, not just to indiscriminately pack on pounds of flesh. The real secret is that to change anatomy, you must first know anatomy.”


Evans, an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sport injury, is an expert on musculoskeletal anatomy and has written for numerous scientific publications. He is also the author of the book Men's Body Sculpting (Human Kinetics) and was a regular columnist for MuscleMag International and Oxygen. He points to several examples of knowledge of anatomy being beneficial to a bodybuilder. “When you know shoulder anatomy, you'll realize that each of the three sections of the deltoid muscle demands a different exercise,” he reveals. In regards to the back, he points out that “Three slabs of muscle cover your back. If you train only the lats, your back workout is incomplete. To add thickness across your upper back, you need to target the trapezius.” Meanwhile, to create a foundation of strength in the lower back, bodybuilders must work the erector spinae muscles.


Evans explains the triceps make up two-thirds of the muscle mass in the upper arm, there are 10 ropelike muscles in the forearms that are on display when people wear short-sleeved shirts, and each zone of the abdominals—the upper abs, the lower abs, and the obliques—benefit from a varied set of exercises. Evans stresses that it is also important for bodybuilders to learn how to adjust their grip, where to position their feet, how to position their bodies, and how to manipulate exercise trajectory and range of motion in order to emphasize different sections of the targeted muscle. “With no guidance, surely you're doomed to circulate around the gym, stuck in a holding pattern” he warns.


The updated second edition of Bodybuilding Anatomy offers 19 new exercises among the 100 total, each with step-by-step instructions on proper execution. The book is also highlighted by new artwork, with 141 full-color, detailed anatomical illustrations complementing all of the book's exercises. For competitive bodybuilders, there is an in-depth look at six of the popular poses used in competitions to accentuate specific muscle groups and put a sculpted physique on display.