Isolation VS Athleticism

isolation or athleticism for strength training


Isolating muscles leads to imbalances, poor body mechanics and injuries.  Most folks dedicate most of their time in the gym to creating these imbalances without even knowing it.  Isolation is executed by folks who are there for improving their looks, not for those who are developing athletic strength.  Changing your focus away from your image, and gearing more towards strength training and health are surefire ways to avoid confusion in your protocols.

Examples of Isolation, and how to change it up:

Bench Press – While a great exercise, most overdo it.  Pressing too much makes your chest tight, pulling your shoulders into a forward slump.  This affects your body mechanics, and will cause you to be injured during another type of lift, most likely a press or a pull.  I’m still a fan of building up your chest – just don’t make it 2-3x stronger than your core, lower back, glutes and legs can support – Do push ups in volume, wheelbarrows, and kettlebell military presses instead.

Curls – Curls are for looks only.  If you want to get truly strong, go in with a buddy and play some tug of war with the battle rope.  Or you could try some bent over rows – challenging your core, back and legs while pulling – Now that’s an ATHLETIC  pull – and you’ll be the real deal compared to the scissy who craves your attention to their fat biceps.  Think about it some – when in life is weight ever held out in front of us like it is during the classic curl?  Answer – NEVER.  Practice like you play –

Back Squat/Machine Squat – These are great exercises for your quads, back, and hips – also great for expanding lung capacity and for your heart.  But most folks erroneously believe that this builds the entire lower body, but are stuck with a weak butt, hamstrings and back after years of squatting!  Balance out your routine with some barbell and kettlebell deadlifts (there are many variations).  The Deadlift is the the #1 most powerful human movement, the #1 builder of your posterior chain (butt, hamstrings, shoulders, trapezius and back), as well as the proven #1 fat burning resistance exercise that exists.



By Dan Piper, CPT, RKC, FMS,

Strength Training at Dan’s Barbell and Kettlebell Club, Alameda, CA

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