Anatomy of Exercise is revolutionary for its insights into how different muscles of the body actually work during exercise. The book is organized by body area and shows common sequences in the progression of a typical workout. Lifelike anatomical illustrations demonstrate each exercise and reveal in colorful detail exactly which muscles are engaged, which are being conditioned and how those muscles respond.
The following features help the reader gain the greatest benefit from each exercise and thereby improve fitness and well-being:
No other book provides such rich detail tailored to the general reader. Beginners, those already committed to exercise, competing athletes, trainers, coaches, physiotherapists, massage therapists and the many others involved in fitness will find Anatomy of Exercise fascinating, instructive and practical.
Pat Manocchia is the owner, founder and director of La Paletra Center for Preventative Medicine in New York City. A pioneer in the integration of health and medicine, he was the fitness expert for Good Morning America and was contributing editor to Women's Sports and Fitness and Allure magazines.
This is not the first book ever written that concerns itself with the anatomical structures that are involved in exercise, nor is it intended to be the final word. It is not meant to be an exhaustive exploration of exercise vocabulary either. This book takes a unique and comprehensive stance on the anatomy of exercise, useful to laymen and professional alike.
Predominately, books that have included exercises with anatomical representations, whether or not they included instructions for performing the exercises, were targeted at two groups of readers: body builders and scientists. What I've tried to do with this book is to make this kind of information accessible and useful to anyone who exercises, including bodybuilders and scientists. To that end, this book includes exercise types typically overlooked in similar works, such as aerobic activities, stretches, and stability work. Moreover, this book takes into consideration the ways in which the body's systems depend on one another to generate movement.
In other texts of this nature, exercises have for the most part been depicted as using a specific muscle group because the book was intended to show how to develop size or strength in that particular muscle or group. Unfortunately, what often doesn't get mentioned is how the adjacent muscles and structures, as well as some that are not directly or obviously involved, contribute to the exercises and subsequent improvement. Hip and spine position, for instance, contribute to almost every major exercise and are integral not only to the proper biomechanics of a given movement, but the subsequent improvement of the targeted muscle.
For each exercise, the muscles indicated in the illustrations are identified as the ones that are primarily involved in the movement, whether they are active or stabilizing. Active or primary muscles are defined as those that contract to move a structure, while stabilizing muscles are defined as those that either co-contract, or, by their activation, stabilize either the primary or a secondary structure to allow movement. In a push-up, for instance, the primary active muscles act to extend the elbow and adduct the humerus (upper arm) at the shoulder joint. Primary stabilizers act to ensure that the elbow and shoulder joints remain steady and track properly; however, without the contraction of the deep spinal and pelvic musculature, as well as anterior leg musculature that contract to keep those joints stable and allow the ankle joint to act as a fulcrum, the movement is not possible.
The contribution of the secondary stabilizers varies in degree, depending on the movement. For example, in a barbell curl, since the weight is in front of the body and is translated in a curvilinear fashion that creates a greater forward lever and subsequent need for stabilization as it moves upward, the back and hip muscles become more relevant with regard to movement contribution. If the movement could simply not be performed without the contribution of these muscles, they were included.
The point here is to make the reader aware that during any given movement, some muscles that may not play a major role in the actual execution may still be necessary contributors for proper biomechanics and form while the exercise is being performed. The basic method I used to determine this was to ask whether or not the movement could be performed if the secondary stabilizers were injured, but readers should be aware that the specifics are open to some debate.
There is an enormous amount of variation that can be made to these exercises, since for any one single exercise there are perhaps four or five different ways to alter the stimulus (by changing the grip, foot position, altering the speed of the movement, and so forth). I have included some of these variations for many of the exercises.
This book contains the basic exercise vocabulary that any program can, and should, be built around, whether you are an elite athlete, a raw beginner, or are suffering from an injury. The specific exercises to use as well as intensity (the weight used, when relevant), volume (number of sets and repetitions), duration (time per session), and frequency (sessions per week) will all be determined by your own specific capacities and goals. The best and most effective way to determine these things is to consult a professional in the fitness/wellness/strength training profession for a program and prescription that suits your unique abilities and objectives.
The text is laid out in a structure that mimics the progression of a typical workout. While the text encompasses all of the elements pursuant to a comprehensive workout, it is not intended to be prescriptive in any way. The best use of this book is as a reference manual for understanding both positioning and muscular involvement for the included exercises, and should stimulate some thought, when performing a given exercise, about how the rest of your body plays a part in any particular movement.
Full Body Anatomy
Legs and Hips