To paraphrase a wise man, “Small, weak, and injured is no way to go through life.” But if you design your workouts around the wrong exercises, that’s exactly how you’ll end up; dreadfully unmuscular, embarrassingly weak, and prone to chronic injuries.
Proper exercise selection can be tough. There are countless lifts to choose from and most of them have several similar-but-different variations. Fortunately, there’s a set of objective criteria to qualitatively rate exercises, which allows you to make the most effective choice between any group of exercises with the same purpose – like figuring out why an overhead extension is a better choice for triceps than a pressdown.
Admittedly, this is only a partial list of criteria, but they do apply to the vast majority of exercises. Let’s take a look at exactly what these principles cover and learn how to apply them to several basic exercises.