The Change Challenge
For the Next Twelve Training Sessions
Go into any gym and you will see people working their biceps and pectoral muscles one day, deltoids and triceps the next day, and occasionally some form of leg press or knee extension for a leg day. This “muscle isolation” training comes from the drug enhanced world of bodybuilding. For the average fitness client and any athlete, isolating muscles is of little value. The muscles are slaves to the orders sent from the brain. Your brain recognizes movement patterns–crawl, hip hinge, squat–not individual muscles. The drivers of performance and fitness are the neural and hormonal changes produced by exercise. Isolation exercises dampen that neural response. For many fitness clients, isolation exercise activities are all they know. Simply moving these folks to multi-joint training activities is the easy step that improves performance and abolishes pain. Read on for the training challenge that will make you more successful in all of your training endeavors.
For the next twelve training sessions, discontinue all muscle isolation exercises. At every training session, perform four or five multi joint drills. Do not sit for any training activity. Master lifting your bodyweight through TRX rows, dips, pull ups, push ups, and get ups. Get better at squats, lunges, hip hinge activities, and carries. Learn some exercises that build power. Nearly everyone can perform basic agility ladder drills and medicine ball throws.
If your objection is that you are unable to perform these beneficial exercises, then we have found your fitness problem. Let’s start to fix it. Your strength will improve, carry over to real life activities will be significantly better, and you will have less of that pesky lower back, shoulder, and neck pain. Multi joint drills produce the efficient neural control that will lead to bigger and better bis, tris, delts and pecs. Give it a try.
Mike O’Hara PT, OCS, CSCS