Thursday, February 9, 2012

Why "Isolation Training" With Weights Is A Bad Strategy

This week we have a special guest article for you, by a certified personal trainer. Read on to find out how to get the most out of your workouts, and why this popular method of working out may not be as beneficial as you'd think.

What you need to know about Weight Training for a strong lean body that both looks good and is injury resistant
by Mike Geary - Certified Nutrition Specialist, Certified Personal Trainer

Wrist straps allow lifting heavier without hav...Image via WikipediaWorking as a personal trainer & 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. 

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