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Movement Vs. Muscles Part 3-Multi Joint Vs. Single Joint

by Taylor Tollison

In part one of this series I introduced lifting weights to get strong and why that is important. In part two I talked about training movement vs. muscles.

In this article I am going to provide examples of good vs. bad exercises.  When possible, while strength training choose exercises based on these criteria:

  • Squat instead of leg extensions. The squat works over the hip joint and the knee joint. Leg extensions just work the knee joint. You can also use lunges, split squats, bulgarian split squats, front squats as good alternatives.  Single Leg Exercises are great. Think movement. If you think of training your quads you'll do exericses like the leg exension (Which are not horrible), it's just that you can do better.
  • Bench press instead of flies. Bench press works the shoulder joint and the elbow joints. Flies only isolate the shoulder joint. Bench press will work the triceps and the chest muscles and some shoulder muscles. The bench press works the pressing movement.  Remember we are trying to work movements not muscles.  Don't think "I need to train my chest".  Think "I need to train the pressing movement."
  • Push-ups are a great exercise. See how many you can do in a row. If you struggle with even doing 15-20 pushups why go to the bench press. For the money the push up is a better exercise than the bench press because it involves so many muscles. You get a core workout, a chest workout, shoulder stability, triceps. Push up works the pressing muscle mentioned above.
  • Pull ups rather than bicep curls. Pull ups work the shoulder joint and the elbow joint while the bicep curl isolates the elbow joint. Pull ups give you a lot of bang for the buck. One of the benefits is it does not isolate a single muscle. If you want to get a bicep workout incorporate pull ups and horizontal rows into your workout. As a soccer player why are you doing the bicep curl anyways.  The pulling movements like that of the pull up and rows are important.
  • Single leg deadlift or regular deadlift instead of Hamstring Curls.
  • Add variety to minimize stagnation.
  •  Don't do an exercise just because you see someone else in the gym doing it.  Listen to the wrong people and you might end up injured, working towards the wrong goal, or just doing exercises that give you minimal results.