Mike Israetel on How to Find the Best Weightlifting Exercises for Your Body

Have you ever done an exercise and just not “felt” it? Sure, you performed the lift, but your target muscles don’t feel like they worked very hard.

Or maybe you felt it in the “wrong” areas? Like your forearms feeling zapped after barbell curls while your biceps still feel fresh.

Or maybe you felt it, but in a bad way. For example, bench pressing started bothering your elbows and you never really felt it in your chest before your triceps started giving out.

These sorts of problems aren’t uncommon.

And the good news is there are often modifications and tweaks you can fine-tune to make exercises more effective and work better for you.

These aren’t necessarily obvious fixes you can discover intuitively, read about in a textbook, or even hear about by word of mouth either. Sometimes you have to experiment.

Of course, this is a double-edged sword, because you can end up “fixing your form” for months on end, without ever really settling on anything.

This is where experience and intelligent methodology come into play and that’s why I invited Dr. Mike Israetel back on the podcast.

In case you’re not familiar with Dr. Israetel, not only does he hold a PhD in Sport Physiology, but he’s the co-founder of Renaissance Periodization, a successful blog, coaching program, and fitness platform, so he’s worked with thousands of people and definitely knows his stuff.

In this episode, Mike covers . . .

– The importance of having a checklist for evaluating a muscle building stimulus
– “Feeling” exercises and the difference between tension perception and “the burn”
– The benefits of getting a pump
– Criteria for judging whether an exercise is worthwhile
– Why you might want to experience soreness
– Stimulus to fatigue ratio and sustainability
– The importance of experimentation to account for biomechanical diversity among people
– A magic skullcrusher tip for those with elbow pain
– And more . . .

So if you want to learn about a methodological approach to tweaking your own form and exercise choices to find what works practically for you, you’ll love this episode!


0:00 – Intro

8:21 – What are some common form mistakes that people make that are not obvious?

28:13 – What is the stimulus to fatigue ratio?

34:26 – What are some exercises that you can improve on?

41:58 – What are some tips to help your biceps and triceps?

46:19 – Do you have any barbell preferences?

Mentioned on The Show:

Mike Israetel’s YouTube: www.youtube.com/c/RenaissancePeriodization

Mike Israetel’s Instagram: www.instagram.com/rpdrmike/

Mike Israetel’s Website: renaissanceperiodization.com/

Books by Mike Matthews: legionathletics.com/products/books/

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