Don’t have time to read this article? Let me sum it up in a few words for you: “Single joint movements are for meatheads.” Too harsh? Not really. The only reason to do single joint movements is to improve aesthetics at the sacrifice of function.
Here are 3 exercises that produce minimal results and are a complete waste of time:
1. The Leg Extension
The leg extension is for people who are afraid of the squat rack. I suppose there are people out there who squat a ton and then use the leg extension machine as a “finisher”. Whatever. And there’s that guy sitting on the leg extension machine banging out reps, weight stack smacking away who has never had a broomstick across his shoulders let alone a few hundred pounds.
Why do I think the leg extension sucks? Because you are cheating yourself from the opportunity of training the opening and closing of the hip, which is essential to virtually all athletic movement. If you are going to train the legs without any hip involvement, you are totally wasting your time.
2. Bicep Curls
Bicep curls are for the beach. Really, is there any reason to do bicep curls other than to make your arms “look good”? I suppose beauty is in the eye of the beholder and some people probably like that bulging bicep/scrawny back combo.
One thing you’ll never see is a thick strong back that looks like a topographical map of the Rockies with tiny twig biceps. This is because when you do compound pulling movements like pullups and rows that build a strong back, you also strengthen the biceps. So again, we’re dealing with efficiency or lack there of. Kill two birds with one stone and pull instead of curl.
3. Calf Raises
The only thing that should do calf raising is a cow. This one really gets me going. Think about what the calf muscles do from a functional standpoint and you can’t help but think about sudden explosive changes in direction: sprinting, jumping, and lateral foot work.
Despite this fact, gym goers everywhere are pinched underneath shoulder pads that bear the weight of the stack of a calf machine as they do their best to stand tall and pulse their ankles through flexion and extension for three sets of ten. Skip some rope. Do some box jumps. Run a hill sprint. Do anything but brag about 250 pound calf raises.
We could easily add lateral raises, triceps kickbacks and a host of other exercises that I didn’t mention in this list of exercises that suck. But I think you get the point by now.
Train movements- not muscles and you’re sure to get a superior workout.