Com­pound iso­la­tion

Island Life - - Island Fitness -

Tra­di­tional iso­la­tion ex­er­cises in weight train­ing are ex­er­cises that in­volve only one joint and a lim­ited num­ber of mus­cle groups with one pri­mary mus­cle. In re­cent years, the fit­ness in­dus­try has changed quite a bit with the in­tro­duc­tion of MMA Con­di­tion­ing, Cross-fit, Zuu train­ing, Hiit and sim­i­lar sys­tems sweep­ing the in­dus­try. There has been a def­i­nite shift to­wards Olympic lifts, power lifts, high in­ten­sity in­ter­vals and heavy con­di­tion­ing pro­grams, rather than the old school body­build­ing pro­grams in tra­di­tional gyms. As a strength and con­di­tion­ing coach, I must be very spe­cific in my ex­er­cise se­lec­tion for all clients in­volved in my pro­grams, so I per­son­ally have moved in the di­rec­tion of what I call “Com­pound Iso­la­tion”, choos­ing to tweak most of my iso­lated ex­er­cises to in­volve more than one joint, stand­ing or seated to in­tro­duce more mus­cle groups to a move­ment or use un­sta­ble ac­tions to cre­ate more ef­fi­cient, ef­fec­tive load to mul­ti­ple mus­cle groups. By no means am I say­ing that iso­la­tion ex­er­cises are not use­ful, es­pe­cially for body­builders, spe­cific move­ment and strength and re­hab and mus­cu­lar im­bal­ance, but I will say, iso­lated mus­cles can ex­pe­ri­ence much heav­ier vol­ume of load for a per­cent­age of a move­ment dur­ing com­pound ac­tiv­ity. Pic­tured, we have Nel­son Law, Power House Ath­lete and Van­u­atu Na­tional Rugby league player de­mon­strat­ing our three fea­tured ex­er­cises. Nel­son has per­son­ally ex­pe­ri­enced the dif­fer­ence in us­ing typ­i­cal, tra­di­tional body­build­ing ex­er­cises that gave him an out­stand­ing beach body physique, to now car­ry­ing the ath­letic, func­tional, sports spe­cific physique as a re­sult of al­ter­ing his train­ing prac­tices to­wards com­pound train­ing for his sport spe­cific and in­jury preven­tion re­quire­ments. This has also lead to Nel­son hold­ing a much more bal­anced and pro­por­tioned aes­thetic look. Here are three of my fa­vorite ‘iso­la­tion’ mus­cle group ex­er­cises, bi­ceps, tri­ceps and shoul­ders all per­formed in a more com­pound ef­fec­tive vari­a­tion.


stand­ing bi­ceps curl

Start in a stand­ing po­si­tion with feet shoul­der width apart and nice soft knees. Hold the bar shoul­der width apart us­ing an un­der­hand grip (palms fac­ing up­wards). Let the bar hang in front of your thighs and re­tract your shoul­der blades. Bend at the el­bow, keep­ing the el­bows tucked in by the ribs and ex­hale un­til the bar is in line with the col­lar bone. Pause, then lower the bar whilst in­hal­ing back to start­ing po­si­tion. Do not jerk the bar at any stage of the lift. Re­peat mus­cles used: Ma­jor mus­cles used are the bi­ceps brachii, brachialis and bra­chio­radalis. As­sis­tor mus­cles used are del­toid, wrist ex­ten­sors and flex­ors.

So next time you are in the gym, why not try out these three vari­a­tions. You could even add them to the four com­pound ex­er­cises we dis­cussed in our last ar­ti­cle, now that would be a real Power House ses­sion!

en­joy the lift

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