Why You Should Not Try To Isolate Muscle Groups When Weight Training

Why You Should NOT Try to​ Isolate Muscle Groups When Weight Training
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 doesnt 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 singlejoint exercises to​ the​ much more effective strategy of​ performing multijoint complex movements.
When you attempt to​ isolate muscles by performing singlejoint exercises,​ you are actually creating a​ body that is​ nonfunctional 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,​ injuryfree,​ 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​ multijoint complex movements as​ opposed to​ singlejoint 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.
Lets 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,​ stepups,​ and deadlifts are all multijoint 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​ singlejoint exercises.

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