Muscle Isolation vs. Integration

Exercises should connect muscles in the body the way muscles connect the body in the real world, in order to program proper movement. Primarily when we walk, run, and throw but also any type of athletic movement or daily function. If your body’s hurting, you can’t move as well as you used to, or your quality of life is limited then your body may be disconnected. Possibly from lack of exercise, prioritizing the wrong kinds of exercises, or old injuries that need to be rehabilitated with the correct kinds of exercises. Exercises that train your body for a specific purpose… not just to chase after that pump.

Muscles in our body connect and work together with other muscles to coordinate movement. If we only isolate muscles when we workout then we are “disconnecting” their coordination ability with other muscles. This sends the wrong signal to the brain, that it’s okay to use this muscle independently and then our body adapts to complete a movement with the wrong muscles. These adaptations throw off our alignment and we start to create imbalances that manifest as an ache, pain, or injury because are muscles no longer work in harmony with each other.

In the real world our body in connected from head to toe every time it moves. For example, we can’t use our glute to take a step without the hamstring and calf participating in the movement. Exercise should replicate as much of a real world scenario as it can, in order to be as effective as it can at improving ones ability to function. Specifically, creating muscle activation in multiple muscles at once in a way that the muscles are utilized in reality- back to the glute, hamstring, and calf example when we walk. We should concern ourselves with how the calf functions every time we take a step, rather than how big our calf looks, and how the calf synchronizes with the rest of the muscles to properly move our body. Therefore, true functional fitness isn’t as simple as using kettle bells instead of a machine when you workout, but how that workout is going to strategically make your body function better, in scenarios your body encounters in life outside of the gym.

If you want to move well, perform better, improve your posture, limit joint pain, and take control of your life then send us an email with any questions or concerns and find out how we’re here to help!