Bookmark Website  | Free Registration  | The Team
The Lounge  | Champions  | The Wire |  Schedule |  Audio  |  Arcade  |  The Top Ten  |  Historical  |  Email  |  Video

Body Part Isolation vs. Complex Movements in Strength Training - Build Real Muscle Instead of Fake!


Working as a fitness professional, there is one type of question I get all the time that shows that many people are missing the big picture regarding the benefits of strength training. This popular question usually goes something like this:

"What exercise can I do to isolate my _______ (insert your muscle of choice - abs, quads, biceps, triceps, etc)?"

It doesn't matter which muscle someone is asking about, they always seem to be asking how to 'isolate' it. My first response to this question is always - "Why in the world would you want to isolate it?"

The first thing I try to teach my clients is that the body does not work well in muscle isolation. Rather, it works better in movements along a kinetic chain; that is, large portions of the body assist other portions of the body in completing a complex movement. In fact, there really is no such thing as true muscle isolation. There is almost always a nearby muscle group that will assist in some way with whatever movement you are doing. However, this article compares attempting to 'isolate' body parts via single-joint exercises to the much more effective strategy of performing multi-joint complex movements.

When you attempt to 'isolate' muscles by performing single-joint exercises, you are actually creating a body that is non-functional and will be more prone to injury. Essentially, you are creating a body that is a compilation of body parts, instead of a powerful, functional unit that works together.

Now if you really want to end up hobbling around in a body bandaged up with joint problems, tendonitis, and excess body fat, then by all means, continue trying to 'isolate' body parts. On the other hand, if you would rather have a lean, muscular, injury-free, functional body that works as a complete powerful unit to perform complex movements (in athletics or even everyday tasks), then you need to shift your focus away from muscle isolation. Believe me, focusing on how well your body functions will give you the side effect of a body that looks even better than it would have if you focused on muscle isolation. For example, take a look at the physiques of any NFL running backs, wide receivers, or even world class sprinters. Trust me when I say that these guys pretty much NEVER train for muscle isolation (their strength coaches wouldn't be crazy enough to let them), yet they are absolutely ripped to shreds! Just look at guys like Maurice Green or Terrell Owens and tell me who wouldn't want a physique like those guys.

Another benefit to moving away from the 'muscle isolation' mindset to a more 'complex movement' mindset is that you will find it much easier to lose body fat. The reason is that by focusing more on multi-joint complex movements as opposed to single-joint muscle isolation, you not only burn a lot more calories during each workout, but you also increase your metabolic rate, and stimulate production of more fat burning and muscle building hormones like growth hormone and testosterone.

Let's look at an example. The machine leg extension is a single joint exercise that works mainly the quadriceps, can potentially cause knee joint instability in the long run, and doesn't even burn that many calories. On the other hand, exercises like squats, lunges, step-ups, and deadlifts are all multi-joint complex movements that work hundreds of muscles in the body (including the quadriceps) as a functional unit, create more stable and strong joints in the long run (when done properly), and also burn massive quantities of calories compared to the single-joint exercises.

If you're interested in discovering more ways to create a body that looks as good as it functions, visit http://truthaboutabs.com

Michael Geary, NCSF-CPT, AFAA-CPT, and author of "The Truth about Six Pack Abs" 2004-2005


MORE RESOURCES:

Build Muscle With This Simple Upper-Body Workout Routine
STACK News
To build muscle, every athlete needs a challenging upper-body workout routine. Here's one for intermediate and advanced lifters that works multiple muscle groups. You can do this two to three times a week, with two days rest in between to give your ...



Yahoo Health

How to Build Muscle and Burn Fat At the Same Time
Yahoo Health
The twin goals of building muscle and burning fat are usually tied to workout routines. After all, what you do in the gym or outdoors goes a long way toward transforming your body into a lean, fat-burning machine. But training regimens usually account ...



Build Muscle Size and Power With Specialized Chest Training Workouts
STACK News
Want to know something about building a powerful, massive pair of pecs? Standard flat Bench Presses with a barbell may not give you the results you're after. Why not? Although barbell Bench Presses are a very important power movement for chest training ...



Kettlebell Workouts to Lose Fat, Improve Work Capacity and Build Muscle
STACK News
People look at kettlebells as if they were staring at a mythical creature. Sure, Kettlebell Swings have become more popular for fat loss and as a conditioning finisher at the end of workout sessions. But very seldom do people use them exclusively in a ...



Mstarz

Best High-Protein Foods for Your Diet to Build Muscle, Tone Body
Mstarz
If you're someone who works out – or someone who just knows things but doesn't necessarily work out – you know that protein is key. But what are the best foods to eat when you're trying to build muscle, burn fat and tone your core? Well, that's what we ...

and more »


Men's Health News

Muscle Scientist Explains How 10 Seconds of Lifting Can Make You Bigger
Men's Health News
For years, fitness experts and exercise scientists have said that if you want your muscles to grow, then you must put them under tension for 40 to 70 seconds at a time. But there's nothing magical about 40 to 70 seconds, says Men's Health fitness ...



Daily Mail

Experts reveal how red meat, chocolate and booze all dampen desire
Daily Mail
While foods such as oysters, chilli and asparagus are well-known aphrodisiacs, there are some others which dampen sexual desire instead of fanning the flames. Experts say that consuming the wrong foods can destroy your libido by causing lethargy, ...



Latinos Health

Cameron Diaz weight loss tips & tricks: Actress turns 43 while keeping her ...
Latinos Health
Bass shared that weightlifting four days a week can help build muscle, relieve stress and increase bone density. It is better to pair weightlifting with arm-strengthening exercises as well. As for the lower body, Bass advised not to forget to contract ...



Lifehacker Australia

How Many Kilojoules Does Swimming Burn? [Infographic]
Lifehacker Australia
It's finally springtime, which means cossie weather is nearly upon us (eek!) If you're still carrying some of that post-winter flab around, you might be planning to give public pools a miss this year. Bad move. As this infographic from Bakyard Ocean ...



Feds crack down on steroids
The Hill
Steroids are commonly used to build muscle mass, but they are often manufactured in unsanitary conditions and can have negative health effects, the DEA noted. The crackdown comes as Major League Baseball exits the so-called steroid era that shook the ...

and more »

Google News


Advertisement



Section Site Map - Submit News - Feedback - Comments - Advertise with Us

Copyright 2006 Luminati Inc. All rights reserved.