You Can't Isolate a Muscle, But Does it Matter?

A favorite phrase of well-informed personal trainers, when asked how to isolate a certain muscle, is "you can't isolate a muscle."

Technically, it is true. Muscles never truly work in isolation. For instance, even during an exercise like preacher curls, which seems like it completely isolates the biceps, there are other muscles at work. The primary movement in any biceps curl is elbow flexion. Although you may focus on the biceps brachii, there are two other muscles at work with the biceps to flex the elbow, the brachialis and brachioradialis. In fact, some folks may inform you that the brachialis is the prime mover and not the biceps, since the brachialis is the only one which is a pure elbow flexor.

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Rubber Band Hand Extensions

All muscle groups have corresponding antagonist groups and the muscles of grip are no exception. While the gripping of objects is a performed by the flexion muscles of grip, the opposite action, opening the hand, is performed by the extensors. Perform grip training but make sure to also spend some time exercising the extensors of the hand. These muscles are exercised simply by opening the hand against resistance. There are several effective methods, such as opening the hand after pushing it into a bucket of sand, but banded hand extensions are by far the easiest to use, and there is absolutely no need to buy expensive elastic band to do them.

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Supine Bridge Exercise for Glute Activation and Dynamic Warm Up

The supine bridge is used to the glues and hamstrings for hip extension and the entire core musculature for stability. It is sometimes called a "glute bridge" to emphasize the role of glute activation. The body is raised from a hook-lying position to a bridged position primarily through the action of the gluteus maximus.

Although this is a basic exercise, many may have a hard time achieving the bridge position using only the glutes and hamstrings and instead rely on lumbar extension. Differentiating lumbar and hip extension is a basic requirement of this exercise and all strength training. Those who have trouble isolating hip extension may wish to start with the Cook Hip Lift.

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Deloaded Barbell Rows

Deloaded Barbell Rows are rows requiring the resistance (or weight) to be deloaded onto the floor after each repetition performed. Therefore, every repetition performed is done so from a dead stop and the bar is picked up off the floor or a raised platform (if required), unlike a regular barbell row in which the bar remains suspended above the floor and tension is maintained in the body, shoulders, and arms.

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Dumbbell Lunge Press (aka Dumbbell Lunge and Press)

Also called a front lunge press, the dumbbell lunge press is basically a lunge combined with an overhead press. It can be performed with dumbbells in one or both hands and with a front or reverse lunge. This exercise is not only a great stability challenge and a full body strength exercise it is a great conditioning challenge and perfect for incorporating into conditioning days. Heavy weights are not required to make this exercise demanding.

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How to Perform the Front Squat Exercise (Barbell)

The barbell front squat is a squat carried out with the barbell positioned in the clean position, the bar resting on the lifters front deltoids. Front squats allow a more upright torso position than barbell back squats and are an excellent alternative or adjunct exercise. This article is meant to be basic technique instruction for the lift, followed by a discussion of the clean grip, which is the preferred grip for the front squat. Then follows many very useful tips and other information.

Although the clean grip is recommended this article assumes that the trainee is using the front squat as a stand-alone exercise and not as part of the development of the Clean or the Clean and Jerk. As such there will be no need to actually clean the bar to the shoulders.

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How to Perform the Military Press (Standing Overhead Barbell Press)

The Military Press has also been referred to as Shoulder Press or Overhead Press and while some may claim they are different exercises, we can say that the heart of the exercise is a vertical press with a straight bar.

Having several different names for the same exercise is quite normal in the strength training world. Names like "overhead press" and "shoulder press" are likely an attempt to use more useful and appropriate names for the military press exercise…but they fall short in several ways.

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Tweaking the Overhead Squat: Dislocates, Reaching Back, Grip Width and Mobility Drills

The basic bar position for the overhead squat is barbell held overhead and lined up in the imaginary "pocket" between the scapula and the back of the ears. Some people teach this as being between the shoulders and ears as well. It doesn't make a lot of difference. The bar will be somewhere in that area and with practice you will develop the proper position.

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Pull-Throughs (Hip Pulls) Exercise

The benefits of pull-throughs, sometimes called 'hip pulls', are many. One of the exercise's main advantages is that it allows one to train the posterior chain, the glutes, hamstrings and hip adductors without the lower back having to support a big external load. This is one of the main advantages the cable pull through versus deadlifts.

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Romanian Deadlift (RDL)

What Does RDL Stand For?

RDL stands for 'Romanian Deadlift.'

What is the RDL Exercise?

The Romanian deadlift is a deadlift variation that is begun from the hang position rather than from the floor. This exercise was originally used by weightlifters1 to improve performance in the competitive lifts but the RDL is not really as similar to any phase of the clean or the snatch as many believe.

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Anderson Squats

Looking through the pages of GUS you’ve probably seen Anderson being used to describe squatting exercises. Way back when Paul Anderson was a major powerlifter he would deload his barbell during his squatting. The term deload, in this case, implies that the barbell is rested on the pins of a power rack or similar apparatus such that you are no longer ‘loaded’ with the barbell. Anderson used various methods, including digging holes or using chairs. After deloading he would brace himself and drive into the barbell, and complete the squat. Today, the pins of a squat cage or rack are used and we sometimes call the exercise Pin Squats.

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Can't Do One Pullup? Stay Positive

Countless articles have been written about pullups. MOST of those articles are assuming one has the ability to do at least a couple of pullups already. For those that can't even do one, which are MANY, well, that room is so silent you can hear a pin drop.

And when someone does speak up…it's questionable at best.

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How To Set Up the Dumbell Bench Press

Injuries and tweaks happen during dumbell bench press at two common instances. Picking the dumbells off the floor or a low rack. And during the setup.

If you get injured just picking up a heavy dumbell in preparation for a bench press then you need more than a short explanation on proper lifting. You need to get back to basics, and if I am to venture a guess, get off the machines. Strong strength trainees don't get bad injuries picking up dumbells. Strength training is supposed to prepare you to pick up heavy things.

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The Cook Hip Lift

You may be familiar with a glute bridge, formally known as a "Supine Hip Extension" or "Supine Glute Bridge". But you probably haven't heard of the Cook Hip Lift. Named after Gray Cook, it is a great beginning gluteal activator and is meant to be used as a precursor to the glute bridge, because it solves a problem that the glute bridge does not address very well.

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Suitcase Deadlifts

The suitcase deadlift is exactly what the name suggests. Lifting a weight similar to how one lifts and holds a suitcase. So, instead of the implement being in front of the body it is to the side.

This is a great core stability exercise. Its provides rotational torque so it is an excellent anti-rotation exercise. You have to resist the rotation from the off-balanced load and keep the torso "level" or "symmetrical".

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Suitcase Deadlifts

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