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"Doing more exercise with less intensity,"
Arthur Jones believes, "has all but
destroyed the actual great value
of weight training. Something
must be done . . . and quickly."
The New Bodybuilding for
Old-School Results supplies
MUCH of that "something."

 

This is one of 93 photos of Andy McCutcheon that are used in The New High-Intensity Training to illustrate the recommended exercises.

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Poll: Multi-Joint v. Single Joint
Which is better? Multi-Joint or Single-Joint exercises?
Multi-Joint Multi-Joint 37%
Single-Joint Single-Joint 62%
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HrothgarRannulfr

Ohio, USA

Which is better? Multi-Joint or Single-Joint exercises?

Why?
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gorlando

it's just like saying, what is better, blondes or brunettes. or watermelons or bananas. neither is better. both have advantages and disadvantages, in addition to personal preferences. i use both single and multi joint.
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Bubba Earl

Georgia, USA

I prefer to make muti-joint the primary focus of my routine and Single joint sa secondary. I do both
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Drew Baye

Florida, USA

RARII wrote:
Which is better? Multi-Joint or Single-Joint exercises?

Why?


Better for what purpose? Both have their advantages and disadvantages.
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HrothgarRannulfr

Ohio, USA

Drew Baye wrote:
Better for what purpose? Both have their advantages and disadvantages.


Ok, Drew. Good question. Better than my original question, actually.

1. What are the advantages and disadvantages of multi-joint exercises as compared to single-joint exercises?

2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of single-joint exercises as compared to multi-joint exercises?

Thank you.

Roger
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HSDAD

I think you have to start with what your strength training goal is. But even so, the quick answer is that you need both. But how you balance that is dictated by what you're trying to do.

Using myself as an example, in my job I have to lift and manipulate human beings. . .sick and immobile human beings some of whom weigh in excess of 300 or even 400 lb. I'm looking for strength necessary to do this and have no interest in parading around in thong style posing trunks showing off my physique (I would need an industrial sized drum of Nair to do that anyway).

So for me, compound movements are the rule with emphasis on deadlift varieties, chinups, rows and standing presses. I also do dips and occasionally squats, leg extensions and curls and some other stuff, but really the big three are deads, chins and standing press. And with those three, there really isn't a single muscle in the body that doesn't get some serious work save maybe the pecs. But since most bench-press reared lifters are already too strong there anyway (compared to their bent rowing strength), that's not really a problem. This provides excellent and very functional development of muscles and joints for lifting in my day to day activities, and builds lots of muscular bulk.

But for aesthetics, you would certainly need to do other exercises. The advantage of single-joint movements regardless of all the junk-science regarding CNS stimulation is in ROM. Compound movements rarely take a muscle through it's full ROM to the degree possible when a muscle is isolated. For my purposes, this isn't so important, but for the full development of any given muscle, it is.

The real use I see for isolated movements is in pre-exhaust situations to increase inroad (i.e. leg-extensions before leg presses). THis requires special equipment or a very accomodating gym to be done regularly. But it can help to bring up muscles that are aesthetically lagging.
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testicularityX2

This is the way I see it. Compound movements are for the demonstration of strength. And to hone your skill in that lift or at lifting real world objects.

But for sheer muscular development of the individual component muscles why waste effort on a bench press if you got great "pec decks" and triceps extension machines? This presupposes you got access to good machines that efficiently fatigue the muscle as they should do.

Same goes for the deadlift or squat. Give me the wonderful MEDX lumbar machine (medical version preferred), hip extension, thigh curl any day. Then, just for the skill of it, once in a blue moon i'll do an actual barbell deadlift so i can get SKILLED at lifting the occasional box off the floor.

But better yet, if you lift boxes for a living then it would be best throwing away the barbell and "deadlifting" those boxes for skill. In other words, just do the specific activity with the actual objects under consideration you wish to hone your skill.

In summary, if you are not a powerlifter or O-lifter then isolate whenever and wherever you can for superior muscular fatigue and development and occasionally practice lifting COMPOUND style for skill.

Isolation trumps compound by a wide margin! Given the choice I'll take good isolation any day of the week and twice on Sunday (when i do a double-split;)
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Drew Baye

Florida, USA

RazorDragon wrote:

1. What are the advantages and disadvantages of multi-joint exercises as compared to single-joint exercises?

2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of single-joint exercises as compared to multi-joint exercises?

Thank you.

Roger


Sure thing, but first, an important note on semantics:

Technically, not all rotary exercises are single-joint. While exercises like curls and leg extensions (elbows and knees) are single joint, some rotary exercises like lateral raises involve movement around several joints (acromioclavicular, sternoclavicular, and glenohumeral), and although spinal exercises like cervical and lumbar extension and flexion are often rotary, they involve movement around multiple intervertebral joints. For this reason, we use the terms "simple" and "compound" instead of "single-joint" and "multiple-joint".

As for advantages and disadvantages of each, here are the main ones:

Simple exercises tend to provide the involved muscles with meaningful resistance over a greater range of motion, and are more effective for targeting specific muscles or muscle groups.

Compound exercises may not be as ideal for each of the muscle groups involved, but have other advantages. Since more muscle is used, they place a greater demand on the cardiovascular system, and may have a greater effect on testosterone and growth hormone levels. They are also more time efficient since they make it possible to work more muscle groups with fewer exercises.
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testicularityX2

Drew Baye wrote:
RazorDragon wrote:

1. What are the advantages and disadvantages of multi-joint exercises as compared to single-joint exercises?

2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of single-joint exercises as compared to multi-joint exercises?

Thank you.

Roger

Sure thing, but first, an important note on semantics:

Technically, not all rotary exercises are single-joint. While exercises like curls and leg extensions (elbows and knees) are single joint, some rotary exercises like lateral raises involve movement around several joints (acromioclavicular, sternoclavicular, and glenohumeral), and although spinal exercises like cervical and lumbar extension and flexion are often rotary, they involve movement around multiple intervertebral joints. For this reason, we use the terms "simple" and "compound" instead of "single-joint" and "multiple-joint".

As for advantages and disadvantages of each, here are the main ones:

Simple exercises tend to provide the involved muscles with meaningful resistance over a greater range of motion, and are more effective for targeting specific muscles or muscle groups.

Compound exercises may not be as ideal for each of the muscle groups involved, but have other advantages. Since more muscle is used, they place a greater demand on the cardiovascular system, and may have a greater effect on testosterone and growth hormone levels. They are also more time efficient since they make it possible to work more muscle groups with fewer exercises.


i disagree, there is NO evidence that compound exercises stimulate more anabolic hormones.a set each of lumbar extension, hip extension, thigh curl and thigh extension, 4 sets in total would reasonably be superior to ONE set of squats in terms of greater physiological impact on the "system biologic" and would reasonably stimulate GREATER hormone response (assuming greater dose:response as you are doing)
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Mr. Strong

Those 4 exercises would not be superior to squats in any way. I have done sets to failure of the exercises you listed and they are not more effective as a set of squats. Sounds to me as though you are making excuses not to squat.
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splice

Mr. Intensity wrote:
Those 4 exercises would not be superior to squats in any way. I have done sets to failure of the exercises you listed and they are not more effective as a set of squats. Sounds to me as though you are making excuses not to squat.


I agree 100% with you. One set of PROPERLY done squats to failure will work far better.

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Drew Baye

Florida, USA

testicularityX2 wrote:

i disagree, there is NO evidence that compound exercises stimulate more anabolic hormones.a set each of lumbar extension, hip extension, thigh curl and thigh extension, 4 sets in total would reasonably be superior to ONE set of squats in terms of greater physiological impact on the "system biologic" and would reasonably stimulate GREATER hormone response (assuming greater dose:response as you are doing)


This is why I said "may". I have read and heard conflicting information on this as well.

The key is probably not how many joints are involved, but how much muscle, and the intensity of work.
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