🏋️‍♂️ The best exercises for every muscle group

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Here’s what’s on tap for today’s edition:

  • The top exercises for each muscle group

  • Deadlift variations for every scenario

  • A concerning report on intermittent fasting

Bodybuilding

Better Than Your Best

Credit: Will Tennyson / YouTube

You might be hitting the gym regularly, packing your own chicken and rice while your friends scarf down chili dogs, and measuring your sleep with the hottest fitness tech. But if you’re still making bad exercise choices, your muscles will probably be the same size as last year.

Not to fear. Two members of the social media elite, Will Tennyson and Jeff Nippard, have gone out of their way to pick the absolute best exercise for each major muscle group.

The duo isn’t just picking movements willy-nilly — they have a system similar to a Wittgenstein truth chart to filter out all but the most pump-worthy movements. There are some standards in here, like the incline barbell bench press for the chest. But what about Smith machine squats for your quads? Or the Bayesian cable curl for your biceps?

They’re pretty serious about maximizing muscle growth potential with as few exercises as possible, so you’ll need to take notes before you head to the gym.

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Exercise Tips

Different Types of Tugging

Credit: Bojan Milinkov / Shutterstock

Some people have aged out of Jón Páll Sigmarsson’s claim that “There is no reason to be alive if you cannot do a deadlift,” the same way they’ve aged out of using Conan’s desire to “hear the lamentations of their women” as hype fuel for their training. 

For those who grow weary of doing deadlifts week in and week out, you can execute various swaps to get similar results. The eight deadlift alternatives we’ve scrounged up below do a great job of targeting your glutes and hamstrings while being less punishing on your body overall. 

If you have access to a stocked gym, you can pound out glute-ham raises as a main lift. If not, you can have a friend grab your ankles and do hamstring-exploding Nordic curls. Don’t have friends or a stocked gym? Hip hinges can still light up your posterior chain. Remember, Sigmarsson never had access to this BarBend article.

Nutrition

When “IF” Should Concern You

Credit: Egora_Shmanko / Shutterstock

Intermittent fasting has been a hot trend in nutrition for most of this century. Popular for both its impact on body composition and touted health benefits, IF takes up a large percentage of nutrition discussions on social media. 

But earlier in the month, the American Heart Association (AHA) highlighted an in-review study with a shocking headline: That time-restricted feeding may increase your risk of cardiovascular mortality by as much as 91%. 

If you’ve spent any time around scientific studies concerning training and eating, you probably already know that everything has been proven and disproven (the same things, mind you). Before you go revamping your entire meal prep plan, here are a few things to keep in mind about the study’s limitations:

  • The full research text has yet to be published or peer-reviewed in an academic journal. 

  • This is observational, longitudinal (measured over time) data, which doesn’t present an especially strong causative relationship.

  • Subjects were “tracked” for a median period of eight years, reporting only on their dietary behaviors.

  • Their data displayed a significant risk of cardiovascular mortality, but their data showed no significant negative impact on all-cause mortality from fasting. 

If your IF eating schedule is working for you, take everything with a grain of salt (unless, of course, salt is bad…), but do take the time to increase your understanding by reading our breakdown of the study below.

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Everything Else

Haack Stuns

Credit: John Haack / YouTube