“The Physics of Resistance Exercise”
(printed version)


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The Physics of Resistance Exercise is a book that reveals how to improve your muscular development with minimum effort and maximum efficiency.

What is maximum efficiency? It’s the ratio between the amount of weight you use during an exercise, versus the amount of load the target muscle receives. It’s the cost / benefit of an exercise and for nearly a century, the conventional wisdom has been entirely wrong, in terms of which exercises are most beneficial.

The fact is you can get better results than ever before, using less effort than ever before, using the principles explained in The Physics of Resistance Exercise.

Doug Brignole is the author of this groundbreaking book. He is a 43 year veteran of competitive bodybuilding former Mr. California (1982), former Mr. America (1986), former and current Mr. Universe (1986 and 2019). He is also a savant, in terms of his biomechanics acumen.

The Physics of Resistance Exercise is endorsed by ten Ph.D. scholars from a variety of scientific backgrounds (physics, exercise science, neurobiology, biomedical engineering, paleoanthropology, sociology and psychology) and three orthopedic surgeons.

Resistance Exercise involves three primary components: musculoskeletal motion, physics and neurology. Every resistance exercise has a bio-mechanical profile, which can be evaluated using those three components. If your goal is to achieve optimum muscle development, with the least amount of effort, the wisest strategy would be to ONLY use the exercises that are highly efficient and disregard exercises that are inefficient.

A highly efficient exercise is one that: 1) utilizes an ideal direction of anatomical motion for each muscle, and 2) uses limb angles that load the target muscle with the highest percentage of the weight being used, and 3) avoids neurological interference, which occurs during some multi-joint exercises, and which compromises benefit.

This may seem complicated, but it’s actually very logical. Those who enjoy understanding science (mechanics), will be fascinated by the first 16 chapters of the book, which are chalk full of revelations that explain what is required for optimum benefit from resistance exercise. Chapters 17 through 25 discuss each muscle group and which exercises are best (also second best, third best, worst, etc.) for each of those muscle groups. So those wishing to cut to the chase can just read the final (body part) chapters.

One of the facts you’ll learn is that the angle of the limb that is moved by your target muscle, is neutral (not loading its operating muscle) when it is vertical (i.e., parallel with gravity), and it is maximized (loading its operating muscle the most) when it is horizontal (i.e., perpendicular with gravity). This is a universal physics fact.

The percentage of load that your target muscle gets from an exercise is directly related to the angle of the limb that is being operated by your target muscle relative to gravity (i.e., the direction of resistance).

The target muscle gets 0% of the weight being used, when the limb is vertical; it gets 100% of the weight being used, when the limb is horizontal; and it gets a percentage between 0% and 100% when the limb is somewhere in between. Therefore, a limb that is at a 45 degree angle (half way between vertical and horizontal) would load its target muscle with approximately 50% of the weight be used.

A muscle does not know the actual weight you’re using. It only knows how much load (resistance) it’s encountering. That load could be caused by a lower percentage of a heavier weight, or a higher percentage of a lighter weight.

Consider the following: 90% of 100 pounds is 90 pounds (efficient) and 30% of 300 pounds is also 90 pounds (but inefficient). Whether you choose the efficient exercise or the inefficient exercise, the muscle experiences the same 90 pounds of resistance either way.

The spine and joints, however, prefer the lighter weight. Therefore, we should perform exercises that cause our joints to move naturally, and which provide the highest percentage of muscle loading, with the minimum amount of weight, and thus minimal skeletal strain.

People foolishly select exercises that allow them to move more weight, because they assume their target muscles will be more loaded, but that is not true. The extra effort and the increased strain on the joints, of using a heavier weight, does not automatically produce greater muscle load. This misguided belief is due to a lack of awareness, ego, dogma and misinformation.

We’ve been mislead to believe that it’s better to do heavy basic / compound exercises, but that’s entirely wrong. Rather than thinking of those exercises as ones that allow us to use a heavy weight, we should view them as exercises that require us to use a heavy weight with no additional benefit. In fact, we can load our target muscles as much or more while using less weight by selecting exercises that utilize better physics. This saves our spine and joints from unnecessary strain and injury risk, eliminates wasted effort, and makes the entire process more enjoyable.

This little fact is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of logical revelations made in this book.

Deadlifts, Bent Over Barbell Rows, Upright Rows, Chin-Ups, Hanging Leg Raises, Parallel Bar Dips and Barbell Squats, are just SOME of the exercises you can stop doing right away. They’re all inefficient, as you’ll clearly see when you read this book.

Doug Brignole won the 2019 Mr. Universe competition at the age of 59, this past November, using none of the traditional exercises mentioned above. He continues to workout and get great results at 60 years of age with no joint or spine injuries at all, using only the highly efficient exercises explained in this book.

Yes, you can get good results using  conventional exercise methods, but it requires two or three times more effort, more time, and more skeletal abuse than is necessary. Why use more effort for the same benefits you can have using less effort with less injury risk?

Train smart, using the logical and sensible biomechanics principles explained by Doug Brignole in The Physics of Resistance Exercise.


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(printed version)

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