Muscle Isolation Exercises vs. Total Body Movements For Fat Loss Success

Muscle Isolation Exercises vs. Total Body Movements For Fat Loss Success

If you workout or exercise at your local gym you’ve probably heard this question pop up in between sets a number of times:

“What is the best exercise to isolate my biceps?”

Really this question is about building huge biceps using the dated bodybuilding term “isolation”, but that’s another point in another post.

When I heard this question for the umpteenth time this past week it really disturbed me because people are still missing the true benefits of resistance training and building a stronger body.

ATP Tennis Pro Ana Ivanovic Demonstrates a Total Body Movement

Does Muscle Isolation Really Exist?

The human body doesn’t work up to its potential when muscles are isolated. Rather, it works better when larger portions of your body assist other portions in completing a complex movement (ie. a tennis serve).

In fact, many researchers have noted, there really is no such thing as true 100% muscle isolation. Dr. Christoper Norris, talks openly in his book Back Stability: Integrating Science and Therapy about nearby muscle groups almost always available to assist in some way with whatever movement you are doing.

However, for the point of this post let’s equate muscle isolation to single-joint exercises and compare it to multi-joint exercises and total body movements. NOTE: I’m gonna interchange the terms total body movements, with compound and complex to keep you on your toes.

Who wants to do concentration curls at every workout and then go to pick up your gym bag and throw your back out? Sounds far fetched, but this is what happens when we focus exclusively on single-joint exercises.

Everyday movements, which differ from holding a weight wedged against our knee, put us at risk of injury. What you end up with is a strong body part or two, and a bunch of weak body parts. Think Hershel Walker and the Dallas Cowboys of the late 80s. Awesome running back, horrible team.

None of us should strive for a systematically weak body. Instead, we should be setting our sights on a stronger, more functional body that works as a complete system to perform total body movements. Before you write this off as just another fad, take a closer look at how some professional athletes are preparing these days.

In the last year I’ve read articles about pros in every major sport – Bruce Bowen (NBA), Jarome Ignila (NHL), Tom Brady (NFL), Ryan Braun (MLB) just to name a few – using total body movements in their training regimen. Muscle isolation exercises were no where to be found, unless of course you’re still reading those bulky bodybuilding magazines.

Total Body Movements for Faster Fat Loss?

Every single trainer will say, without hesitation, the added benefit to using more multi-joint movements and less isolation exercises is the higher probability of losing body fat.