Training & Nutrition Insider Secrets for a Lean Body HTML version

Training & Nutrition Insider Secrets for a Lean-Body
2.2 Body Part Isolation vs. Complex Movements in Strength 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 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