Why You Should NOT Isolate Muscle Groups When Weight Training
Many people are wondering how they can isolate a particular muscle group and what exercises they should do to strengthen it, but by isolating a certain muscle group we are completely missing all of the benefits we can get from strength training.
Our body is a unit that completes itself; it does not work well when we separate it in parts. It works best when one part of the body assists in the movement of the other part of the body. Even if we wanted we can never completely isolate one muscle group because there is always a neighboring muscle group that helps to complete the movement we are performing.
When isolating a certain muscle group by doing a single-joint exercises we create a non-functional body that is very susceptible to injuries. By doing this we separate our body into parts instead of viewing it as a unit that supports itself.
If we focus our exercises on just a particular muscle group we can even end up with joint problems, tendonitis or other problems, but if we view our body as a unit and stop focusing on muscle isolation we can have a functional, injury free, muscular body that works as a whole to complete complex movements.
Giving priority to proper function of our body we can get better results than we would ever get with muscle isolation. Just one look at the athletes like sprinters, running backs, wide receivers, soccer players… can give you a confirmation of this theory. Neither of their coaches tells them to strengthen a particular muscle group because they know that our bodies do not function in that way, but still they all have very muscular bodies.
Benefits of transferring our focus from muscle isolation exercises to complex movement exercises do not end here. When we exercise by taking our whole body into consideration we will also much easier lose body fat. By engaging more muscles into movement we burn a lot more calories during each exercise, we increase our metabolic rate, and even activate higher production of hormones such as growth hormone and testosterone that help is burn fat and build muscles.
Just for comparison we can take leg extension machine which is a single joint exercise that focuses on quadriceps. This exercise that is so widely used can cause knee instability in the future. As an alternative to this we have exercises such as step-ups, squats, deadlifts, lunges… which are all complex movement exercises that require us to use hundreds of muscles in our body, make them work together as a unit and in the end make our joints more stable and strong. These exercises, compared to single joint exercises, burn huge amounts of calories.