Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Multi-Joint vs. Single-Joint Exercises

Single-joint exercises (aka isolation exercises) are those where one muscle group is engaged. For example biceps curl, preacher curl, leg extension, leg curl, wrist curl, front raise, lateral raise are all single-joint exercises. Technically speaking there is no typical single-joint workout. Even if the above workouts mainly focus on one particular muscle, the nearby muscle plays a small role and works as ancillary muscle.

Multi-joint exercises comprise complex movements engaging more than one muscle group simultaneously. So which is the better choice between the two? Multi-joint exercises always play a better role compared to any single-joint exercise.

Below are the main factors that should hopefully be enough to change your focus towards performing multi-joints workouts vs. single-joint workouts.
  1. Burn more calories. Multi-joint exercises use a large group of muscles and comprise complex muscle movements unlike isolation exercises. By working on more than one muscle group, we burn substantially more calories than doing any other isolation or single-joint exercise.

  2. Best weapon to fight fat. It's a proven fact that an intense training session comprising mostly multi-joint exercises works best for increasing the resting metabolic rate (RMR) substantially which supports a fat-burn or weight-loss program. Performing multi-joint workouts 3-4 times per week can keep your metabolism elevated up to 36 hours post exercise. Unlike multi-joint exercises, single-joint (isolation) exercises ARE NOT effective enough to keep RMR elevated post workout.

  3. Build full functional body. Most people tend to exercise their favorite body part only - chest, shoulders, back, quads, etc. This practice leads to an unbalanced or asymmetrical physique which decreases normal biomechanical function while increasing the risk of injury. Whereas in multi-joint exercises, multiple muscle groups engage simultaneously to work in a harmonious pattern while increasing strength and coordination along the kinetic chain. For this reason alone, multi-joint workouts are best for building a functional fit body.

Here are some examples of multi-joint exercises:

  • Squats - Recognized mostly for building powerful thighs and hips, squats also add size to the upper body - including the back, shoulders, chest, and arms - due to their anabolic effect.

  • Deadlifts - The deadlift is another anabolic king because it not only increases lower body growth, but that of the upper body as well.

  • Leg Presses - These enable you to use heavier resistance than do leg extensions or curls, thus promoting more muscle growth. While three or more sets each of leg extensions and leg curls mainly work the quadriceps and hamstrings respectively, three or more heavy sets of leg presses or squats will strengthen and add more mass to the quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes - in a shorter time frame!

  • Front, Side or Reverse Lunges and Stepups - These are also excellent time-saving multi-joint lower body exercises, and they are particularly more functional for sports and daily activities than leg extensions or leg curls.

  • Bench Presses, Dips and Pushups - When it comes to the upper body, bench presses, dips and pushups not only add mass to the chest, shoulders and back, but the triceps as well. In fact, they do it much more effectively than single-joint tricep pushdowns or kickbacks. Also, eliminate those single-joint dumbbell flyes for the chest for several weeks; these exercises will build up your chest muscles to a greater degree in less time.

  • Overhead Presses - Excellent for shoulders and triceps.

  • Pulldowns, Pullups, Barbell Rows, and Dumbbell Rows - You'll see your biceps grow without doing one curl; not to mention the added size of your back muscles from doing these exercises.

  • Upright Rows - They're also a bicep and forearm-building movement, as well as a wonderful shoulder and upper back exercise.

I strongly suggest practicing more multi-joint workouts complemented with single joint exercises as needed (in case multi-joint exercise is not possible every time). Whatever the case be, stay active, keep movin' & most importantly....have fun!


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Workout of the Day

"The Newsom Smackdown"

Here's a great workout developed by my good friend, colleague and training partner, Ross Newsom, CPT - owner of Got 2 Get Fit (Tacoma, WA). I 'tweaked' the reps a bit by adding more as you progress through each exercise.

Complete 10 sets of all exercises (in order) listed below. Go as fast as you can, keeping good form and resting as needed (no more than 30 sec.).

Don't confuse this workout as being easy! Give it a shot & see for yourself.
  • Pull-Ups - 10 reps
  • Pushups - 10 reps
  • Crunches - 20 reps
  • Speed Squats - 30 reps
  • Jumping Jacks - 40 reps

As my bro Ross says, "Work Hard, No Excuses!"


Monday, July 19, 2010

It's A Daily Thing

Guest blog from Parella Lewis - our local NW weather anchor & news reporter
-- (http://theparellalewis.blogspot.com/)

I am a lover of great motivational quotes. I love the ones that get me thinking and propel my thoughts to a higher standard. I am always grateful to get a “shot” of something positive into my day! Raging optimism is a powerful force that will defeat negative intent any day. But just how much power can something like a simple quote really have?

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”
- Helen Keller

I think that most people will agree that being positive is a good thing. The challenge is that it must be authentic to have relevance and it requires consistency to have power. As with anything worth while, it is a daily effort. And with anything "real", it isn't always easy. The main struggle takes place in our mind. It is the very gateway to where the real power lies, our spirit. But before we dig in too deep, let's look at a few basic principles.

“People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing – that's why we recommend it daily.”
- Zig Ziglar

We must guard our thoughts carefully. Fear is the main cause of negativity. It breeds aggression, hostility and deep-seeded doubt. If we can cut down on the negative, we automatically allow more positive in and eventually out. When we put good things into our minds, good things come out. When we surround ourselves with good people, we become more effective. Notice that we have "to put"... these things aren’t automatic. It is a constant effort of the human will to swim upstream of a rigorous, negative flow. The good news is that it gets easier every time we do it!

"When you consistently maintain a positive frame of mind, you'll become known as a problem-solver rather than a complainer. People avoid complainers. They seek out problem-solvers."
- Joseph Sommerville

These are all pretty basic thoughts. Here's where the commonality twists a little. We are made of three parts: spirit, soul and body. Our soul is made up of our mind, will and emotions. Therefore, it is the soul (mind) that is the "bridge" into our spirit. Are you still with me?

The truth is that we can spend all of our time motivating ourselves happy and still feel empty at the end of the day. Why is this? Because we are only "feeding" the gateway or the bridge to what really propels us! The SPIRIIT controls the soul (mind, will and emotions) and body. If we were to simply engage our spirit with the only language it understands, faith, we could bypass all the other stuff!

"The antidote to frustration is a calm faith, not in your own cleverness, or in hard toil, but in God's guidance."
- Norman Vincent Peale

As I spend more time in prayer, my faith automatically grows. Fear ends where faith begins. Faith bypasses the mind, cuts off fear and injects a steady stream of hope and peace.Instead of just engaging my mind in positive activity, I am feeding it's primary source of power. So while some motivational quotes speak to my soul, the ones that leave a lasting impression are the ones geared toward my spirit. The ones that remind me of my purpose,destiny and original design by God to be different and accomplish great things with Him. It is in these that I can feel flames billowing up inside me, pushing back doubt and anxiety. A fierce peace shields my soul and protects against restlessness. And yes, even this is a daily effort. Just because I know something, doesn't mean that I don't need to be reminded of it.

So how much power is in a single quote? I guess it all depends on where the words are aimed. Whether it's your spirit or your soul, positive response is a powerful force that only allows for great things. The difference between soul and spirit ...functioning on a high level ...or accomplishing the impossible. Either way, the daily effort is well worth it!

When we let go of fear, only then can we gracefully move from
what was into the miracle of what can be.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

4 Excuses for Not Working Out

Get your butt up & move! Seriously! There's truly no excuse for you not being fit, healthy and happy. Yet, I hear many and all sorts of excuses all the time.

Some of the lamest excuses ever for not working out and taking care of yourself are:
  • “I Don’t Have Time” – That is the lamest excuse ever, and one that I don't buy at all! C'mon....who doesn't have time? It’s not a time-management problem you're having - it’s a self-management problem. If you have time to go to happy hour with your buddies and/or gal pals after work, you have time to workout. If you have time to be on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or any other social site, you have time to workout. If you have time to watch 3-4 hours of reality TV, then you definitely have time to workout. Lame!!

  • “I Have An Injury” – You can work around nearly all injuries. Athletes have injuries and yet win Olympic gold metals with them. Some athletes don’t even have full use of their limbs and yet play ball-busting, gut-wrenching games and competitions. If you have an acute injury, then follow the protocol for rehab and recovery as prescribed by your doctor. However, don’t allow that injury to be the excuse for not getting back into a healthy fitness regime. If you do have a chronic injury, try an exercise that is soft on the injury with little stress or impact to the body. There is always, always a way.

  • “Too Busy With The Kids” - Okay, so let me get this straight. You're blaming your kids for your lack of fitness routine? Nice one, but no dice! Wouldn’t you rather your kids see what a rock star you are? Wouldn’t you rather have your kids see how strong, fit, capable, self-respecting and self-loving you are? After all, it's you they learn from - mirror and mimic. Want to be the best mom or dad you can be for your kids? Then start exercising and become active now! You can even turn fitness into family fun while also including the kids. Strap ‘em on and take them for a walk. Use the baby as weight - afterall, they do weight something, right?! There are all kinds of post-natal yoga, Pilates and workout DVDs that involve the little ones.

  • “I Can’t Afford It” – WHATEVER! You don’t need a dime to workout. Not even one shiny little penny. Get your butt outside and go for a walk. Put a mat down on the floor and do some planks, leg lifts, squats and lunges while you are watching TV. Go to a park or playground and get your fitness program rollin'. There are thousands of videos on Youtube you can watch for FREE! Money is the last thing you need to be fit.
I gotta go….jump squats are next on my to do list!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Happy Anniversary

Two years ago yesterday, July 12th, my wife and I tied the knot in a glorious ceremony east of Seattle. The day was perfect - clear blue skies, warm sunshine followed by a great reception & celebration that our family & friends still talk about to this day. Thanks to all our loved ones for their love & support. It means a lot to us!