New Rule 2 Exercises that use lots of muscles in coordinated action are better than those that force muscles to work in isolation

Isolation exercises have their place, and some trainers use them successfully when teaching their clients the basics of strength training. But most of the time, the average person in a health club gets little benefit from a biceps curl, lateral raise, or leg extension. Harking back to New Rule #1, those muscles weren't designed to work in isolation, so exercising them that way is almost always a poor use of your valuable time and energy.

This is one of those rules that seems intuitively wrong to most people. If you want bigger biceps, why wouldn't you do biceps curls?

I'll explain that in much greater detail later in this chapter, but for now I'll leave it at this: If you were being chased by a lion across the savanna and your only hope for escape was to pull yourself up on a tree branch, would you try to curl yourself up onto that branch, using your biceps in isolation? No, you'd grab that branch with both hands and pull with every damned muscle in your body that could save you from becoming the leonine equivalent of a high-protein lunch. (Lions are the original Atkins dieters.)

No matter how big and strong your biceps are, they're of little use to you unless all your other pulling and climbing muscles are proportionately strong.

I know you don't go into the gym thinking, "What can I do today to save myself from a future lion attack?" But here's why the lion matters: Your body has no reason to develop your biceps so that they grow out of proportion to other muscles on your body. That would make you biomechanically dysfunctional, and your body will resist that.

Besides, once you start isolating all the little muscles on your body, you commit yourself to spending a lot more time in the gym. (And, no matter how much you like them, biceps really are puny compared to the muscles of your chest, back, and thighs. Mine are, anyway.) But even if you have all the time in the world, Alwyn and I hope to convince you that you'll be better off doing more basic, streamlined workouts.

31 Days To Bigger Arms

31 Days To Bigger Arms

You can have significantly bigger arms in only 31 days. How much bigger? That depends on a lot of factors. You werent able to select your parents so youre stuck with your genetic potential to build muscles. You may have a good potential or you may be like may of the rest of us who have averages Potential. Download this great free ebook and start learns how to build your muscles up.

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