Building a Strong and Healthy Body

Posted by administrator Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I am often asked why I structure resistance programs completely different to convention training methods. For example why do I place the compound exercises before the isolations when usually most conventional programs will have you do it the other way around. Here is a brief explanation as to why I order them this way.

Simple...If you want conventional results, train conventionally! If you want much, much more from your training program read on...

All the exercises in any successful, well balanced Resistance Programs have to be ordered specifically to help you achieve the fastest possible results. And it is probably the complete opposite to what you may have been taught.

Compound exercises should always be performed before isolation exercises!
This is because a compound exercise movement more closely matches natural, functional movements of everyday life. For example, pushing or pulling something heavy. If we need to push something with force we naturally incorporate our arms, shoulders and chest muscles into the movement.

We do not simply try to push with arm strength alone. This is the way the human body is designed to work. The body will always try to adapt by growing stronger to make the task easier.

Because of this reason the body will prefer to grow in proportion, maintaining its strength ratio. For example, when we push an object with force, a certain percentage of the 'push' comes from the chest, the shoulders and the arm muscles. As the chest is the biggest pushing muscle it makes up a greater percentage of the overall 'push'. But what happens if we over train the Triceps muscles of the arms to do more than their natural share of 'pushing'?

The answer is that it upsets the ratio, creating imbalance in the body. As the body prefers to grow in proportion, you will be able to get far greater results if this natural ratio is adhered to.

The reason is that the body is structurally designed to work a certain way. This includes the frame (skeleton) and tissues (muscles, tendons, ligaments etc). Try and change the ratio and it will result in injury and imbalance. The body will naturally try and prevent this from happening.

It will be easier to increase both strength and muscle growth if the body gains them proportionally. Training the body in this way means that your pushing strength will increase but your pushing ratio will be maintained.
Starting with the more functional and natural movements of the compound exercises we can safely lift heavier weights. These are the muscle building sets. They require a heavier weight to be lifted less times.

Plus, having the full use of the supporting muscles during these heavier sets means a greater reduction of stress on the joints, allowing you to frequently increase the resistance while limiting the chance of injury.

It is these compound sets that form the strong foundation of any successful Resistance Program. This is evident in the way your body develops - stronger, more balanced and in proportion.

Isolation sets are the definition sets. These sets isolate singular muscles and fine tune their development.
Many people try to lift too much weight during an Isolation Exercise when only one muscle group is active, placing tremendous stress on the ligaments, tendons and joints. As a result, most people incorporate a swinging technique to assist them in the lift (this means that it becomes a compound exercise anyway).
The weight is now being moved by momentum, detracting greatly from the resistance that is actually being placed on the targeted muscle. This results in limited muscle growth and significantly increases the chance of injury.

If used correctly however, Isolation Exercises can be a crucial tool in creating muscle definition for that 'shredded' or 'sculpted' look.

By training Isolation exercises after the Compound, you have successfully pre fatigued the muscles (and satisfied the ego). You are now forced to lift significantly lighter weights. Doing this means you can now correctly perform the exercise without bad, swinging technique and effectively 'isolate' the muscle you are targeting.

It is the correct combination of both Compound and Isolation sets that can create a strong, functional, well balanced body.
Corey Johnstone is a former international level athlete and fitness professional. Co-founder of the website
He aims to empower people with the knowledge of exactly what it takes to create a healthy lifestyle. Together with his brother Lee, they designed the Fittime 12 Week Challenge as a revolutionary, no nonsense approach to fitness that provides people with the knowledge and tools necessary to transform their bodies and create healthy, well balanced lifestyles.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin

1 Responses to Building a Strong and Healthy Body

  1. Great post! yesterday i found another great video post about body building. Here is the link
    body building tips


Post a Comment


Recent Post

RSS Feed Subscribe posts via RSS FEED
Subscribe posts via email:

Delivered by FeedBurner