For us mere mortals, building a lean and muscular physique takes years, if not decades.
As such, it’s best to employ joint-friendly exercises as your training “cake” (do them regularly) with other effective yet potentially problematic moves serving as the “icing” (do them less frequently or at least with caution).
Here are some GENERAL guidelines to clue you in. Of course, this is not an exhaustive list, and your mileage may vary greatly.
Cake: Dumbbell presses, Floor presses, Football/Swiss bar presses, Cable presses, Push-ups.
Icing: Barbell bench presses, Full-range weighted dips
Cake: DB rows, chest-supported rows, machine rows
Icing: Pull-ups, barbell rows
Cake: Landmine and neutral grip DB presses (or Football/Swiss bar)
Icing: Military Presses, Behind the Neck Press, Close-grip BB upright row
Cake: DB curls, Cable/machine curls
Icing: BB curls, reverse curls
Cake: DB Triceps extensions, Pressdowns
Icing: BB or EZ bar extensions
Cake: High bar squat, DB/BB split squat
Icing: Low bar squat
Cake: Trap bar deadlifts, RDLs, Leg curls,
Icing: Deadlifts, Deficit pulls.
Again, it’s not that the “icing” exercises are bad—most are good basic lifts. But they expose your joints to considerable wear and tear if performed consistently and need to be respected accordingly i.e., use excellent form, NEVER work them through pain, etc.
Or you can just slam an ephedra macchiato and go grip ‘n’ rip. You can always grow a new set of elbows, right?
— Coach Bryan