Fitness myth: Isolation exercises build stronger muscles | SierraSun.com
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Fitness myth: Isolation exercises build stronger muscles

Ryan Egan
Special to the Sun
Courtesy Rebel Fitness AcademyRyan Egan demonstrates a one-leg squat with a kettlebell, creating tension across a chain of muscles.
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TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; Contrary to popular belief, if you want to get a stronger, more resilient and powerful body, isolation exercises are not the solution. The popular body building training practices that train muscles individually and are seen in gyms across the country leave people with underdeveloped movement patterns and more injuries.

The truth is, isolation training has nothing to do with actual functional strength, performance and long-term health. So all those biceps curls while standing in front of the mirror are just wasting time. Our bodies know and use movements involving chains of muscles working in a uniform, synchronized effort.

When you isolate a muscle or set of muscles by using machines like a leg press or sitting down for preacher curls, you remove the effective action of synergist stabilizing muscles that allow you to create more tension across the chain of muscles involved in whole, complex movement patterns. Isolation training not only severely decreases your performance, but it also trains and#8220;partsand#8221; to work independently. It is kind of like baking chocolate chip cookies and baking the chips separately. Isolation training also severely limits the very crucial development of structural tendons and ligaments around and close to joints. These important structures react and develop effectively during properly executed strength and conditioning practices.

The bigger and more complex the movement, the more muscles get called into action. The key to building strength is movement control and tension. The more tension that is created inside a muscle the more strength or force it exhibits. Properly learning how to utilize tension and control the forces around you during athletic-type training practices develops the body holistically.

Training how to move and build lots of tension across a large chain of muscles will develop superior strength and a superior looking physique and#8212;-just tune into the menand#8217;s Olympic gymnastics this summer to see the results of a well-executed strength program.

High repetitive training that runners and cyclists perform can be the most hazardous. Isolating their bodies to one regimen of exercise can lead to debilitating and life-altering injuries from poor development and poor mechanics. The idea that running more will make a faster runner, cycling more makes a better biker is misleading. Complex strength training not only boosts performance on the trail and bike but also may keep you running, biking and active for many years to come.

Building strength in a healthy way comes from learning how to train your muscles together. Using complex exercises associated with kettlebells, gymnastics and movement-based programs will guarantee awesome strength gains, reduce injury risk, catapult sport performance carryover and keep you healthy and vibrant for decades.

Most people avoid big and powerful strength training because it can have risks. Which it can, but a good coach will teach you to properly and safely train using and#8220;big bang for your buckand#8221; exercises.

Proper strength training is tough. It takes time, patience and coaching, but the bonus goes beyond the short term. Results can last a lifetime.

and#8212; Ryan Egan is the founder of Rebel Fitness Academy in the Truckee Airport Business Park. To suggest a myth youand#8217;d like busted, e-mail ryan@rebelfitnessacademy.com.


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