How I Learned to Love Multi-Joint Exercises

Great suggestions.

Franco Colombu, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Ken Waller (squatting)Do you want to lose weight? Is your desire to lose weight complicated by an extreme dislike for almost all forms of cardiovascular training? Do you hate running; do you refuse to shell out half a grand for a decent bike; or are you too insecure about your sexuality to do the Denise Austin workout- you know the one, it comes on the Lifetime channel at 7 a.m., err, or so I hear from others? What are you to do?

Well there is good news, you can lose weight in both an efficient and manly way, without the hassle of putting on reflective clothing to run at night, buying an expensive bike, or worrying your friends might catch you engaged in an aerobics workout at the local gym. Don't worry, you can thank me later. For now let's just talk about my not-so-revolutionary weight loss technique.

First of all, you should know that my suggestions are based in personal experience. I have lost 40lbs over the last eight months. How? Well certainly not due to running- which I've done on and off, but mostly off. My weight loss could be partially due to an improved diet, although I've had some quite noticeable errors in nutritional judgment. In my defense, who can resist the allure of three-cheese pizza? The one thing I did consistently was my weight training regimen; it was my key to steady and sustained weight loss. It could be yours too!

You ask, but isn't weight lifting for building muscle? Well yes, but there is much more to the world of weights than big muscles. Done properly your resistance training routine can both build muscle and burn substantial calories during and after your workout. There is one big psychological hurdle you'll have to overcome. Especially those of us who lifted weights back in high school. This might be tough news to take, so maybe you should sit down. Okay, I'm sorry to tell you this, but, no more bicep curls.

Before you get in a huff let me explain. The key to weight loss through weight lifting is multi-joint exercises. There are two reasons that multi-joint exercises are preferable to single-joint exercises. First, they build muscle efficiently and they do it in a balanced fashion. Second, by bringing together so many muscle groups you burn more calories in the same amount of time. Sure bicep curls look really cool in the mirror and no doubt you think they give the ladies in the gym the chance to check out your guns- you know who you are sleeveless shirt guys. Yet, you are wasting valuable time. So stop it already! Well okay, you can do them, but limit them to no more than one of out your three weekly workouts.

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So if multi-joint is the way to go, what kind of exercises should you be doing? Well, good news is you are probably already familiar with most of them. Ever heard of squats, deadlifts, chin-ups, shoulder press, bench press, clean and press, leg press, push-ups, or even pull-downs? But there's more.

It's not just the exercises you do, but it's also how you do them. Do you stand around and talk with the cute girl on the hip abductor machine instead of moving on to your next exercise? Well if you do and you get her number good for you! Otherwise, you are wasting your time again. Keep your time between exercises down to 30 seconds or less, and if you can try using a couple supersets in your workout. Supersets, for the uninitiated, are two exercises back to back, NO rest. From experience I've found the following workout both challenging and efficient.

If you've got the time and you are a glutton for punishment, don't be afraid to add another cycle to your routine. But truth be told, once will probably be enough- assuming you are lifting enough weight for the appropriate number of reps. How much weight? How many reps? Ah, ha! You'll have to come back here next week to find out. 'Til then, happy lifting!

For further reading check out... Multi-joint Exercises - More Muscle in Less Time

Note: This article is meant as a corrective on the tendency of many men to do countless sets of bicep curls, tricep pushdowns, wrist curls, et al. By no means am I encouraging you to completely purge single-joint exercises from your routine. Indeed, it would be wise to save one every third or fourth workout to incorporate and rotate in single joint exercises. Also, be keen to your own weak spots, and incorporate single joint exercises to fortify any weaknesses.

John Kaiser

John Kaiser is a devoted husband and father, and author for Straight to the Bar. He blogs over at Total Transformation Test.

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