Friday, May 20, 2011



The classic gym or fitness centers are normally outfitted with wall-to-wall exercise machines. Machines that are designed to isolate a certain body part. While these machines can be very nice and impressive to use, when it comes to boosting our metabolic rate and performing functional training exercises, machines simply fall short. Here's why:

The majority of machines are typically single-joint, isolation exercises that involve using only one joint at a time. An example would a leg extension machine that only involve the knee joint or the bicep curl which only involves the elbow joint.

(How many times in the course of day do you do this move?)

Though you can get a great 'pump' or 'burn' in that specific area it doesn't mean that it's actually being effective in providing the desired muscle-building stimulus we're seeking.

In contrast, multi-joint, compound exercises are more functional to what we do in the real world and activate more muscle groups at one time. The muscles you use, the greater the caloric burn, resulting in the greater fat loss. A great metabolic workout utilizes all the basic movement patterns such as these:

HIP-DOMINANT: Exercises that work the posterior chain and activate the glutes/ hip rotators such as the Glute Bridge, SLDL, kettlebell swings, and various hip extension moves.

PUSH: Any exercise that targets the chest, delts, traps, and triceps such as pushups, presses, and dips.

KNEE-DOMINANT: Any exercise that primarily targets the quads and involved flexion or extension of the knee. Classic examples are Squats and Lunges.

PULL: Any exercise that targets the lats, rear shoulders, upper & mid back, biceps, and involves some form of a pulling motion. Examples include Pullups, Bicep Curls, and Row variations.

CORE: Any exercise that targets the shoulders, hips and core and involves stabilization in all three planes of movement. Examples include Front, Side, and Reverse Plank variations.

Training ourselves in these basic movement patterns benefits in us in our day-to-day life by enabling to move well in different planes of movement. Life is not just moving straight ahead, but side-to-side and rotating. The aspect of functional training should train us better handle all the different things life throws at us. As an added bonus, it also impacts our body composition.
Research shows that doing compound exercises (ones that involve more than one joint) maximizes muscle growth, fat loss, and the boosting of our metabolism!


Jeff McDaniel

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