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How do you select the exercises that will work best for you?

This is an excerpt from Delavier's Anatomy for Bigger, Stronger Arms by Frederic Delavier & Michael Gundill.

In this book, we have carefully selected the most effective exercises for the arms. However, they might not all work well for you. Indeed, morphologies differ from person to person. There are tall people and short people as well as arms and forearms of various sizes.


A unique morphology should correspond to an individualized choice of exercises. We would be lying if we pretended that every body type could adapt to every exercise. Certain sizes are well suited to some exercises and less so to others. This is the concept of anatomomorphology, the foundation of the Delavier strength training method.

There are two complementary ways to choose your exercises:

1. By elimination: Some exercises do not work well with your anatomy. You should eliminate those. Other exercises do not match your goals. These two parameters restrict the possibilities and, therefore, make your choice easier. However, simple elimination should not be your only criterion. Rather, you should find exercises that work well for you.

2. By selection: Often, the only way to determine compatibility between your morphology and an exercise is to try that exercise. You will find some exercises that you like right away. But most of the time you will find them a bit strange and they will be hard to do since they recruit muscles that you are not accustomed to using. With time, the novelty will fade and you will feel the contraction in your arms more and more.


Learn to Differentiate Between Exercises

Your choice will be easier once you understand that there are differences between exercises. You should learn to recognize them and use them to your advantage. Every exercise has both advantages and disadvantages. Only by mastering the concept of advantages and disadvantages will you find exercises whose

– advantages most closely match your needs, and

– disadvantages least conflict with your goals.

So we will be particularly attentive to describing the advantages and disadvantages of each exercise pre-sented in the section on exercises. From there, you will have a solid and logical base from which to choose.


A Situation in Constant Evolution

As far as the choice of exercises goes, it is important to realize that things are not set in stone. With time, you will start to enjoy certain exercises that you did not like before. When this happens, your first reaction is to regret that you did not realize it sooner. You might feel that you have wasted time. But this is rarely true, since your mind–muscle connection is constantly changing. A month or two months ago, your arms were perhaps not ready for that exercise. The progress you made means that you can now feel a new exercise very well. So do not have any regrets.


The opposite thing can also happen: You feel less and less from an exercise that you really liked before. This exercise guaranteed rapid progress at first, but now it seems ineffective. This is not just a feeling. It means that it is past the time to remove that exercise from your program. After several weeks of not doing the exercise at all, you can attempt to reintroduce it.


You must constantly adapt to your muscles' devel-opment and, most important, be flexible when faced with these changes. This commonsense observation might make you wonder how you can know when it is time to change your training program.

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Learn more about Delavier's Anatomy for Bigger, Stronger Arms.