You’ve heard me go on and on about this before. I just don’t get the single joint movements. You know. . . the biceps curl, the leg extension, the calf raise. . .
It’s not that these movements are inherently evil. It’s that they are thieves of your time. Why do a bicep curl when a pull up is going to hit the biceps and the lats and the shoulders in the same amount of time? Why hit the bicep curl when the movement is seldom, if ever reproduced in real life activity?
If you’ve been hitting the single joint movements and you want a taste of the other side of the fence, here is a quick and dirty crib sheet for your conversion to the “other side”:
Build Muscle Lose Fat
- Bicep Curls vs. Pull Ups. Pull ups, chin ups, call ’em what you want. All I care is that you have full extension at the bottom of the movement and your chin is above the bar at the top of the movement. How you place your hands is up to you. The pullup will work the bicepsa just like a curl will, but it will also give you a crazy strong back.
- Leg Extensions vs. Squats And don’t give me crap about focusing on specific “heads” of the quadriceps unless you shave all of your body hair and have a lifetime supply of bronzer at home. If you are a competitive bodybuilder and that fulfills you mentally and spiritually, have at it. But if you’re the average “joe” or “jane” who reads this site, ditch the leg extension machine for some real deal squats. As my buddy Craig Ballantyne says , “The squat can’t be beat when it comes to building muscle & losing fat”
- Flys vs. Presses. Have you been doing shoulder “flies”? Shame on you. When does your body even remotely reproduce that movement in real life? Answer: NEVER! Same goes for chest flies. If you are going to lay down on a bench, at least press some shit instead of flying some shit.
- Calf Raises vs. Box Jumps. Yes, I said jump. Just what do you think your calf muscles are there for? To provide swift changes in direction laterally and vertically? Or to do the rhythmic up-and-down happy dance under a weight stack while your shoulders are pinched under vinyl clad cushions? Jump rope, do box jumps, or just sprint your ass off for 100 meters. The calves are meant for high impact movements – anything else is a waste of time.
And don’t get me started on triceps inverted rows and what not. Yes, these have a place for some athletes (powerlifters for example). But for your average nine to five Joe just looking to get in shape and look good, single joint movements are inefficient at best and a damn near complete waste of time at worst.
Let me be clear: a compound movement involves two or more joints. That’s it. That’s the secret sauce. For lower body ask yourself if you are using your hip and your knee. For upper body, ask yourself if you are you using your elbow and shoulder. If yes, proceed with maximum intensity!
If you’re not already doing things like squats, deadlifts, shoulder presses, burpees, pushups and pullups – please raise your right hand and give yourself a swift “bitch slap” across the face. It’s time to leave the kiddy workouts behind and move on to the big boy workouts 🙂
P.S. – Do you do single joint movements? If so which ones? And if you’ve switched from single joint to compound have you seen a big difference? Leave me a comment below, Im interested to hear your story…