Friday, January 25, 2013
Article # 237. Combination Lifting Exercises
Combination Lifting Exercises
Time is a major concern if you have a busy schedule and are looking to fit workouts into your day. When 60-plus minutes of training is not an option, you can incorporate combination exercises into your routine. These exercises combine two or more movements in one motion. This will allow you to make fast progress in less time.
Theory behind Combination Exercises
A compound exercise involves more than one joint movement at a time. When you activate more than one joint with an exercise, you in turn work more than one muscle. This leads to a maximal amount of muscle fiber recruitment. Combination exercises involve compound exercises, isolation exercises or both. Isolation exercises work only one muscle and involve one joint at a time. A dumbbell triceps kickback is an isolation exercise. Being that you only extend your elbow, the triceps are the main muscles targeted. A one-arm, bent-over row with triceps extension is a combination exercise that has an isolation and compound movement together. Lateral to front dumbbell raises are two isolation exercises combined.
Combination exercises require the use of weight training equipment. Being that machines focus on one movement pattern, they are unsuitable for combination exercises. A leg press machine, for example, works the glutes, quadriceps and hamstrings. This makes it a compound exercise, but you are fixed in one place as you push the platform away from your body, making it impossible to add another movement. Free weights, such as dumbbells, barbells, medicine balls and resistance bands, make better options for combination exercises. According to the National Strength and Conditioning Association, free weights also cause more muscle activation than machines because they have freedom of motion.
Proper technique is important when you combine two or more exercises together. For example, the front squat with press exercise works the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, deltoids and trapezius simultaneously. Stand with feet about shoulder-width apart and hold a barbell across the front of your shoulders with your hands about shoulder-width apart and palms facing up. Slowly lower yourself into a squat by bending your knees; stop when your thighs are parallel to the floor. Steadily rise back up and push the bar above your head until your arms are fully extended and hold for a second. Slowly lower the bar and repeat. Keep your back straight and abs tight throughout.
Under normal circumstances, your goal is to use a heavy resistance with exercises to fully tax your muscles. This is especially the case with a compound exercise such as a lunge. When you do a combination exercise, you need to reduce the weight because of the additional movement. A lunge with biceps curl involves the muscles of the legs and biceps brachii. Being that the biceps are smaller, you cannot lift as much weight, so you need to compensate by using a lighter resistance.
When you want to add variation to your workouts, the weight of the body can be used for combination exercises as well. A burpee for example, is a combination exercise used in boot camp and circuit workouts. You perform it by lowering yourself into a squat, kicking your legs backward, performing a pushup, then kicking your legs back forward again. Once you kick your legs forward, you have the option of just standing back up or jumping into the air. This exercise combines elbow, shoulder, knee, hip and ankle movement, which recruits muscles throughout the entire body. Pullups with knee raises, pushups with rotations and double crunches are other examples of body weight combination exercises.