Sculpt Yourself

SRV Athletics is changing! For the better! We are now Sculpt Yourself, offering Online and One on One Personal Training and Nutrition Consultation in Mumbai, India. Please take a look at our new website hereWe also have a blog with original and curated health and fitness related posts from all over the internet, updated fairly frequently.

So we hope you stop by and enjoy reading our posts!

Thank You for all your support, and we wish you all the very best in everything you do!

-Sculpt Yourself


Exercise Adherence Techniques.

Getting started and continuing an exercise program can be a challenging yet, rewarding undertaking. Fifty percent of those who begin an exercise program will drop out with-in six months. You can implement various techniques to improve your adherence to these new lifestyle changes.

Determine where you are going to exercise. Some people find it more convenient to exercise at home. Others may find they have fewer distractions at an exercise facility. If you choose to exercise at a gym, pick one that is nearby, since you may be less likely to exercise at a club that is further away.

You are more likely to stick with your program if it is fun and convenient. Start by identifying activities that you enjoy. Then, determine the most convenient time to exercise with the least distractions.

Your first few workouts should be brief and well within your abilities. Gradually increase the duration and intensity of your exercise. Do not start out with a program your coach had you perform in high school or college. Individualise your program and begin back gradually. When working out with a partner, try to choose someone with a similar fitness level. As a beginner, you may work too hard if you exercise with an experienced partner. Studies have demonstrated you are less likely to continue your program if you exercise at higher intensities too soon. Likewise, long workouts are also associated with higher drop out rates.

Set realistic goals that contribute to long term lifestyle changes. Set both behavioral and outcome goals. A behavior goal could be exercising on weekdays at 7 P.M. for 30 minutes. Examples of outcome goals include losing 10 pounds in 2 months or jumping 1 inch higher by next game season. Understand the objectives behind your outcome goals so you can set appropriate behavioral goals. Focus on achieving your behavior goals since you will have much more control in achieving this type of goal. Do not get discouraged if your short term outcome goals are not achieved by your initial deadline. Change your behavioral goals in accordance to the achievement of your outcome goals. Re-evaluate your plan if you discover a more effective means to attain your objectives or are not certain you can consistently achieve your behavioral goals.

Commit to your goals. Initially, you may be very motivated to stick to your program. It is not unusual for your motivation to dip occasionally. To get yourself through these times, try these techniques:

Establish a routine so physical activity becomes a habit. Plan on a definite time to exercise. Write these times in your planner as you would an appointment. Set recurring alarms on your watch or Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) just before your scheduled time to exercise. Set out your workout clothes or pack your workout bag the night before.

If you feel like not working out, agree with yourself to have a very short, light workout. Quite often, after getting ready and warming up, you will find enough motivation to push through a full workout. If you miss your scheduled workout, realize not all is lost. Forgive yourself and reevaluate your behavioral plan. Adjust your strategies to prevent future drop outs and recommit to your program. Develop a back up plan in case of unforeseen circumstances. Agree not to use your back up plan unless absolutely necessary. If you have not successfully stuck to your program in the past, analyze past obstacles and implement new strategies to overcome these barriers.

Perform a variety of exercises and activities. Engage in utilitarian activities such as walking to the store, walking the dog, or catching up on yard work. Try new activities you think you may enjoy. Consider less traditional forms of exercise like kayaking, urban hiking, or participating in sports leagues or pickup games. Check to see if your company offers wellness incentive programs, fitness facilities, or corporate sports competitions. Perhaps, plan and train for an adventure vacation or sports event. Learn about these new activities by reading an instructional book, joining a training group, or hiring a personal trainer.

Plan your workouts by selecting exercises for the next month or week. Implement a variety of activities. Consider scheduling a different activity on specific days of the week adjusting in accordance of your changing interests. If you workout with weights, change your exercise program every month to alleviate boredom and to restimulate progress. When walking, jogging, or cycling, vary exercise routes or trails. Use diversions such as listening to music, watching television, or reading during exercises that you would otherwise find a bit boring.

Utilize social support. Find an exercise partner, hire a personal trainer, or exercise in a group setting. A training partner or exercise instructor can provide feedback, assistance, and motivation. Participate in physical activities with your spouse, family, or friends. Be creative. Every week, take turns having family members choose their favorite family activity.

Share your goals with those close to you or others that are likely to ask you about your progress. Ask them for their support. Having explained that you have set aside a particular time to exercise can potentially minimize future conflicts or misunderstandings. Those close to you will have the opportunity to understand the importance of your goals and the time you have set aside for them.

Write your goals on paper and post them where they are in view for you to see every day (e.g. refrigerator, mirror, date book, etc.). Some people may even find it helpful to sign a personal fitness contract with their personal trainer or friend.

Monitor your progress. Record your activity and progress in an exercise diary or log. You can even record your diet in a journal or a food exchange check list. Consider purchasing an electronic monitoring gadget like a pedometer, heart rate monitor, or stop watch to track your progress.

Find an exercise professional who can monitor your progress. Regular fitness tests can objectively measure the effectiveness of your program and can possibly save you months or even years of hard work. If progress is not significant, immediate changes can be made to your program. A fitness professional can help you decide the tests most compatible with your fitness goals and how often you should test.

Although some individuals may thrive on competition, many beginners may get discouraged when they compare their fitness levels and abilities with others. Comparing yourself to others may bring about either disappointment or conceit. Remember, it is not so important where you are today as it is where you will be tomorrow.

Certainly, you do not need to implement every strategy outlined in this article. Start out with the techniques you believe will have the most impact in your adherence to your program: find activities you find fun and convenient, set goals, start out gradually, monitor your progress, perform a variety of exercises and activities, use diversions, and utilize social support.


8 Carbs You Should Be Eating

Yuanita Christiani and the useful posts

A recent study showed that eating a low-carb diet could help people lose more weight and cut heart risks better than a low-fat diet. But before you completely swear them off, keep in mind that we couldn’t survive without carbohydrates.

They’re essential fuel for our bodies — and brains — especially when participating in any kind of physical activity. But our bodies also need carbs to regulate mood and to keep our intestines moving. Plus, keep in mind that not all carbs are created equal. In fact, even on food labels, you’ll see the total number of carbohydrates in a packaged food is broken down into different types, usually sugars and fiber.

Fiber’s the good stuff: Often stripped from processed grains like white bread and white rice, it can help keep you full, lower cholesterol, prevent heart attacks and much, much more. Without fiber, refined grains lead to blood sugar…

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The Importance of Frequent Meals.

Any person who is involved in any kind of fitness regime, knows that eating small meals frequently throughout the day, is better than having a few large meals. There are numerous benefits to doing the same. Increased meal frequency appears to have a positive effect on various blood markers of health, particularly LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol, and insulin. It also appears to help decrease hunger and improve appetite control.

However, due to varied lifestyles, it may not always be possible to have small meals throughout the day. The logistical requirement of carrying around your meals with you throughout the day, the availability of a microwave to heat them before consumption, and adequate time and place to actually have the food, puts a lot of people off. Nevertheless, if you are someone who has decided to go ahead and adopt such a meal plan, here are a few pointers to get you started.

  • Eat a snack during the time you are without food the longest during your waking hours
  • Eat small meals every 2.5 or 4 hours throughout the day
  • Plan 3 meals and 2 or 3 snacks distributed throughout the day, every 2.5 to 4 hours
  • If eating less than 3 meals, eat an additional meal
  • Introduce breakfast by drinking milk, fruit or vegetable juice
  • Add an additional food to breakfast
  • Eat cereal for bedtime snack instead of a high fat snack food
  • Prepare extra for meals so leftovers are on hand
  • Plan time for preparing a nutritious lunch or snack for hard to get away times
  • Slightly decrease portion sizes of your largest meals

A little bit of planning too, in this regard, would go a long way.

  • Write weekly menu with accompanying shopping list
  • Keep shopping list (with pen or pencil) conveniently located in kitchen
  • Prepare foods the evening before and refrigerate for the next day

In order to make this change to your lifestyle more motivating and to keep yourself committed to it, you may try doing a few more things. Pick one goal each week that you feel confident you can modify in your diet for years to come. Every week, record date of commitment by goal. Share your goal with those close to you and put a note of your goal on your refrigerator so you are more likely to succeed.

Good Luck!

The Importance of Posture

Ever tweaked a muscle when working out? Whether due to a loss of focus or chronic poor form, getting hurt when exercising can be a huge setback. Good posture means maintaining correct alignment of your body in a seated position, while standing, and during motion. Most athletes and active people pay attention to posture during exercise, but after a few minutes at the desk we start to slump. Being able to maintain good posture is a combination of flexibility, strength, endurance, and awareness. Most people have the ability to achieve proper alignment, however in just seconds they can start to lose their alignment.

Posture is both static and dynamic, yet we must practice good posture in the gym but also at home. Attempting great posture during lifts will not always translate over to good posture sitting or even standing. It is a combination of the numbers game. Meaning, the average person spends roughly seven hours a day sitting at work, then add in driving time, meals, watching TV, and other activities. This can translate into over twelve hours a day sitting. No amount of good posture while lifting for the hour or two you work out can make up for the sheer amount of time spent in poor position while sitting.

Positioning in exercise is critical to force output, energy conservation, and safety. An athlete in a good position is resilient and tends to remain injury free. The body is meant to move large loads and have great endurance. Poor positioning and posture not only require additional energy but also strain the body in unnatural ways and directly correlates to higher injury rates.Fortunately, weight lifting and cardio needn’t be dangerous if you can keep a few concepts in mind.

First, try this posture test: When viewed from the side, an imaginary vertical line should pass through your earlobe, the tip of your shoulder, midway through your trunk, over the bony part of your thigh, and then through both your knee and ankle. If there is any deviation from this alignment, like if your ears are in front of your shoulders or your shoulders roll toward your chest, you are set-up for potential injury.

Aside from maintaining ideal posture, try these technique modifications to avoid injuring yourself during 5 common exercises:


Don’t let you knees drop inward. This common mistake can be remedied if you actively spread your knees apart.

Our advice: Doing air squats with a mini band around your thighs is a good way to train proper technique.


Avoid low back injury by maintaining your natural lumbar curvature.

Our advice: Imagine a broomstick running along the length of your spine; if your pelvis curls off the bottom of the stick during the deadlift, then you’ve lost your lumbar curve.


Decrease the risk of shoulder impingement by mimicking the natural plane of shoulder motion.

Our advice: Hold your elbows slightly forward of your chest, rather than directly at your sides.


Spare yourself unnecessary spinal compression by preventing your head and belly from sagging to the floor.

Our advice: Tighten your core and shoulder girdle so that you are one straight line from the top of your skull to your ankles.


Land as softly as possible to decrease impact on your joints.

Our advice: One method to do this is by decreasing your stride length, while simultaneously increasing your cadence.

Good Luck!

Exercise and Type 2 Diabetes

The incidence of type 2 diabetes is on the rise, which experts largely attribute to the rise in obesity. Type 2 diabetes, which is responsible for 90 to 95% of all diabetes cases, is more common in adults, but as rates of childhood obesity increase, more young children are being diagnosed with the disease. The good news is that simple lifestyle changes can prevent and, in some cases, counter the course of this disease.

Type 2 Diabetes Explained

Following digestion, a hormone called insulin is released into the blood from the pancreas. Among insulin’s primary roles is its ability to allow carbohydrates (absorbed in the form of glucose) and proteins to enter muscle cells, where they are stored or used for energy. With type 2 diabetes, some insulin is produced, but the body does not effectively use it. This condition is known as “insulin resistance” and prohibits glucose from entering the cells. In turn, blood glucose rises to abnormal levels in the blood. If unchecked for extended periods, elevated glucose levels lead to heart disease, kidney failure, blindness and nerve dysfunction.

Type 2 diabetes is strongly linked to lifestyle factors, especially diet and exercise. People at highest risk of developing type 2 diabetes have a family history, as well as other cardiovascular risk factors, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity and a sedentary lifestyle.

However, the same techniques that are used for prevention of this disease—a healthy diet and regular exercise—can be used to control and possibly reverse its progression.

Exercise Can Help

The latest research has put exercise at the forefront in the prevention, control and treatment of diabetes because it decreases insulin resistance. Following regular exercise training, cells can better respond to insulin and effectively take glucose out of the blood and into the cell. Exercise also helps to decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease by decreasing blood pressure, cholesterol levels and body fat.

Exercise Recommendations

If you have type 2 diabetes, you should adhere to the following exercise guidelines:

  • Always consult with your physician before starting any exercise program to determine the potential risks associated with exercise.
  • Cardiovascular exercise—Strive to accumulate a minimum of 1,000 kcal expended through physical activity each week. Pending current conditioning levels, this may require three to seven days per week of low-to-moderate intensity exercise for 20 to 60 minutes (walking and other non-weightbearing activities such as water aerobics and cycling are good choices). Daily exercise is highly recommended.
  • Resistance training—Perform resistance-training activities at least two days per week, targeting  the major muscle groups. Complete a minimum of one set of 10 to 15 repetitions of each exercise at a low-to-moderate intensity.
  • Flexibility—Perform stretching exercises at least two to three days per week, stretching major muscle groups to the point of tension (not pain) for 15 to 30 seconds. Complete two to four repetitions of each stretch.
  • The ultimate goal is to expend a minimum of 1,000 calories per week via physical activity for health benefits, or 2,000 calories per week for weight loss. Keep in mind that these are goals that you should work up to gradually over time.

What are the precautions?

If you have type 2 diabetes, you must monitor your glucose before and after exercise to understand how you respond to certain types of activities. Also, exercising with a partner and wearing an ID bracelet indicating one’s diabetic condition are very important.

Finally, don’t forget to check with your physician prior to beginning a physical-activity program and return regularly to assess the diabetic complications. If complications of the eyes, kidney or heart are present, your physician should provide you with clear boundaries regarding the intensity of any physical activity.

Additional Resources

American Diabetes Association
Centers for Disease Control
Mayo Clinic


Periodized Training.

You have the best intentions regarding your workout, but find that your motivation has been sapped.

Lately, no matter how hard or how often you work out, you just can’t seem to progress any further. You’re stuck on a plateau.

It turns out that the exercise you’ve been doing has worked so well that your body has adapted to it. You need to “shock” or “surprise” your body a bit. You need to give it a new challenge periodically if you’re going to continue to make gains.

That goes for both strength and cardiovascular training. “Periodizing” your training is the key. Instead of doing the same routine month after month, you change your training program at regular intervals or “periods” to keep your body working harder, while still giving it adequate rest.

For example, you can alter your strength-training program by adjusting the following variables:

  • The number of repetitions per set, or the number of sets of each exercise
  • The amount of resistance used
  • The rest period between sets, exercises or training sessions
  • The order of the exercises, or the types of exercises
  • The speed at which you complete each exercise
  • There are many different types of periodized strength-training programs, and many are geared to the strength, power and demands of specific sports. The most commonly used program is one that will move you from low resistance and a high number of repetitions to high resistance and a lower number of repetitions.
  • Such a program will allow your muscles to strengthen gradually and is appropriate for anyone interested in general fitness.

Research Shows Better Results

A frequently cited study conducted at the Human Performance Laboratory at Ball State University has shown that a periodized strength-training program can produce better results than a non-periodized program. The purpose of the study, which was published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise in 2001, was to determine the long-term training adaptations associated with low-volume, circuit-type training vs. periodized, high-volume resistance training in women (volume = total amount of weight lifted during each session).

The 34 women in the study were divided into those two groups, along with a non-exercising control group. Group 1 performed one set of eight to 12 repetitions to muscle failure three days per week for 12 weeks. Group 2 performed two to four sets of three to 15 repetitions, with periodized volume and intensity, four days per week during the 12- week period.

As the chart shows, the periodized group showed more substantial gains in lean muscle, greater reductions in body fat and more substantial strength gains than the non-periodized group after 12 weeks.

Periodizing Your Cardiovascular Workout

You should also periodize your cardiovascular training for the same reasons—to further challenge your body while still allowing for adequate recovery time.

If, for example, you’re a recreational runner, running for fitness, fun and the occasional short race, you’ll want to allow for flat, easy runs, as well as some that incorporate hills and others that focus on speed and strength.

What you don’t want to do is complete the same run every time. If you run too easily, and don’t push yourself, you won’t progress. And chances are you’ll get bored. Conversely, too much speed or high-intensity training will lead to injury or burnout, and most likely, disappointing race results.

If you are serious about improving your time in a 10K or completing a half marathon or even a full marathon, you’ll need a periodized program geared to each type of race. Many such programs are available from local running clubs, in running books and magazines, from some health clubs, as well as on running websites.

Specially designed periodized training programs are also available for cycling and many other sports.

Periodized training will ensure that you continue to make measurable progress, which will keep you energized and interested in reaching your goals.

Additional Resources

Marx, J.O et al. (2001). Low-volume circuit versus high-volume periodized resistance training in women. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 33, 635–643.
American College of Sports Medicine Position Stand
American College of Sports Medicine



Tabata training is one of the most popular forms of high-intensity interval training (HIIT). It consists of eight rounds of ultra-high-intensity exercises in a specific 20-seconds-on, 10-seconds-off interval. It may only take four minutes to complete a Tabata circuit, but those four minutes may well push your body to its absolute limit.

Tabata training was born after Japanese scientist Izumi Tabata and his colleagues compared the results of moderate intensity training and HIIT.

Tabata training should be done with one movement. So, if you choose a movement like front squats, or thrusters, or burpees, you do it at absolute maximum intensity for 20 seconds, take a 10-second rest, then begin again. Part of what makes Tabata so difficult is performing four minutes of the same movement at kill-yourself intensity. If you’re not absolutely toast after those four minutes, you didn’t go hard enough.

Some people now vary the exercises during a session. It’s also popular to increase or decrease rounds and intensity. Although this variation may not technically count as Tabata Protocol, adding or subtracting rounds or changing movements every other round can be useful. (If you really want an insane full-body workout, try three rounds of Tabata!)

Either way, Tabata burns a lot of calories and provides a killer full-body anaerobic and aerobic workout. Tabata training also improves athletic performance, improves glucose metabolism, and acts as an excellent catalyst for fat burning. The Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) effect is off the charts for Tabata Training.

Tabata Training can be done with a number of different exercises. The idea is to use an exercise that gets the whole body involved, or at least the major muscle groups. It can be done with barbells, dumbells, kettlebells or just bodyweight exercises. If you want to add tabata to your weight workout, simply pick four barbell exercises that you can easily transition between. Perform the first exercise for as many reps as you can in 20 seconds, rest 10 seconds, then perform the second exercise as fast as possible for 20 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds, and repeat this process for the remaining exercises.

Here’s a sample of a four-exercise barbell Tabata complex (with each movement done twice):


1. Reverse Lunges
2. Shoulder Press
3. Romanian Deadlifts
4. Back Squats

Once you’ve completed all four exercises you’re only half way done, because you’ll only be two minutes into the Tabata. Go back to the first exercise and repeat the entire complex again without ever dropping the bar.

Here’s a sample of a four-exercise dumbbell Tabata complex:


1. Bicep Curls
2. Incline Flyes
3. Arnold Shoulder Press
4. Side Lateral Raise

* 20 seconds on each exercise with a 10 second rest in between x 2 sets

And for a fast, cardio shred try this workout:


Sprinting – sprint for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds x 8 times
Jump rope – jump for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds x 8 times

Lactic Acid

As our bodies perform strenuous exercise, we begin to breathe faster as we attempt to shuttle more oxygen to our working muscles. The body prefers to generate most of its energy using aerobic methods, meaning with oxygen. Some circumstances, however, such as lifting heavy weights, require energy production faster than our bodies can adequately deliver oxygen. In those cases, the working muscles generate energy anaerobically. This energy comes from glucose through a process called glycolysis, in which glucose is broken down or metabolized into a substance called pyruvate through a series of steps.

When the body has plenty of oxygen, pyruvate is shuttled to an aerobic pathway to be further broken down for more energy. But when oxygen is limited, the body temporarily converts pyruvate into a substance called lactate, which allows glucose breakdown, and thus energy production, to continue. The working muscle cells can continue this type of anaerobic energy production at high rates for one to three minutes, during which time lactate can accumulate to high levels.

Contrary to popular opinion, lactate or, as it is often called, lactic acid buildup is not responsible for the muscle soreness felt in the days following strenuous exercise. Rather, the production of lactate and other metabolites during extreme exertion results in the burning sensation often felt in active muscles, though which exact metabolites are involved remains unclear. This often painful sensation also gets us to stop overworking the body, thus forcing a recovery period in which the body clears the lactate and other metabolites.

Methods to reduce Lactic Acid:

1) Stay hydrated: Lactic acid is water soluble, so the more hydrated you are, the less likely you are to feel a burn while you workout and cause lactic acid build up.

2) Breathe deeply: The cause of the burning sensation you feel in your muscles while exercising is twofold: it is partly due to the build up of lactic acid, but it is also due to a lack of oxygen.

3) Work out frequently: The more physically fit you are, the less glucose your body will need to burn and there will be less acid build up.

4) Be cautious when lifting weights: Weight lifting is an activity that tends to promote lactic acid build up because it requires more oxygen than our bodies can deliver.

5) Decrease the intensity: Decrease the intensity of your workout if you start to feel a burn. The burning sensation you feel during intense exercise is the body’s defense mechanism trying to prevent overexertion.

6) Stretch after your workout: Since lactic acid disperses 30 minutes to an hour after your workout, stretching helps to release lactic acid, alleviating any burning sensations or muscle cramps you might be experiencing.

7) Stay active: Rest after your workout, but lead an active life. Muscles need activity as well as oxygen and water to stay healthy. If you feel a burn in your muscles occasionally, there is no cause for alarm; lactic acid in small amounts is not damaging to your body and may even have some beneficial effects on your metabolism.

8) Increase your magnesium intake: The mineral magnesium is essential for proper energy production within the body. Healthy magnesium levels will help the body to deliver energy to the muscles while exercising, thus limiting the build up of lactic acid. Therefore, you should make an effort to increase your daily magnesium intake, preferably through your diet.

9) Eat foods rich in fatty acids: A healthy intake of foods rich in fatty acids helps the body to break down glucose, a process which is essential for normal energy production. This can help to limit the body’s need for lactic acid during a tough workout and keep you going for longer.

10) Eat foods containing B vitamins: B vitamins are useful in transporting glucose around the body, which helps to fuel the muscles during a workout, thus reducing the need for lactic acid.

Our ACSM Certified Personal Trainer journey.

Sandip and Rohan from Team SRV Athletics are on their way to become ACSM Certified Personal Trainers! The four month, in-depth and thorough training will make them qualified to plan and implement exercise programs for healthy individuals or those who have medical clearance to exercise. The CPT facilitates motivation and adherence as well as develops and administers programs designed to enhance muscular strength, endurance, flexibility, cardiorespiratory fitness, body composition, and/or any of the motor skills related components of physical fitness.

The American College of Sports Medicine was founded in 1954 by a small group of physical educators and physicians who recognised that health problems were associated with certain lifestyle choices, especially smoking and lack of exercise. Since then, ACSM members from all professional backgrounds have applied their knowledge, training and dedication in sports medicine and exercise science to promote healthier lifestyles for people around the globe.

ACSM is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organisation in the world. With more than 50,000 members and certified professionals worldwide, it is dedicated to advancing and integrating scientific research to provide educational and practical applications of exercise science and sports medicine.

To find out more about ACSM and if you too are interested in their various certifications, you can click on the links above or read their FAQs here.

Wish them luck!

HEALTH: Top Benefits of Drinking Water


You will be amazed of the benefits of drinking water as follow:

pour water

1.  Lose weight: Drinking water helps you lose weight because it flushes down the by-products of fat breakdown. Drinking water reduces hunger, it’s an effective appetite suppressant so you’ll eat less. Plus, water has zero calories.

2.  Natural Remedy for Headache: Helps to relieve headache and back pains due to dehydration. Although many reasons contribute to headache, dehydration is the common one.

3.  Look Younger with Healthier Skin: You’ll look younger when your skin is properly hydrated. Water helps to replenish skin tissues, moisturizes skin and increases skin elasticity.

4.  Better Productivity at Work: Your brain is mostly made up of water, thus drinking water helps you think better, be more alert and more concentrated.

5.  Better Exercise: Drinking water regulates your body temperature. That means you’ll feel more energetic when doing exercises. Water also helps to fuel…

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Exercises: Compound Vs Isolation.

Any kind of exercise involves movement. Exercise, and so movement, helps in increased calorie expenditure and strengthens muscles by working them. Movement, in the context of exercise, can be categorized into two: Compound and Isolation.

Compound Exercises:

Compound exercises use multiple muscles in unison with each other to perform a certain task, which is ideal for greater strength increases. For healthy adults who are trying to get the most out of a training program, compound exercises are generally preferred and recommended. There are many reasons to use compound exercises during your workout. Since it uses more muscle groups, it:

  • means more calories burned during exercise.
  • simulates real-world exercises and activities.
  • allows you to get a full body workout faster.
  • improves coordination, reaction time and balance.
  • improves joint stability and improves muscle balance across a joint.
  • decreases the risk of injury during sports.
  • keeps your heart rate up and provides cardiovascular benefits.
  • allows you to exercise longer with less muscle fatigue.
  • allows you to lift heavier loads and build more strength.

A great example of a compound exercise is the squat exercise, which engages many muscles in the lower body and core, including the quadriceps, the hamstrings, the calves, the glutes, the lower back and the core.

Isolation Exercises:

Isolation exercises work only one muscle or muscle group and only one joint at a time. Isolating a specific muscle is sometimes necessary to get it to activate and increase its strength. Isolation exercises are often recommended to correct muscle imbalance or weakness that often occurs after an injury. Often, after an injury, a muscle becomes weak and other muscles compensate for that weakness. If you never retrain the injured muscles to fire properly again, it may set up a biomechanical imbalance that is difficult to correct. Therefore, isolation exercises are also frequently used in physical therapy clinics and rehab centers in order to correct a specific muscle weakness or imbalance that often occurs after injury, illness, surgery or certain diseases.

Another reason to perform specific isolated exercises is to increase the size or bulk of a specific muscle group. For example, if you want big biceps, you’ll probably want to add some bicep isolation work to your regular exercise routine.

Most healthy adults will use compound exercises for the majority of a training program and use isolation exercises to complement that program as needed.

Therefore, if you are interested in getting a complete, efficient and functional workout, doing predominantly compound exercises during your training is ideal. However, there are times when isolating a specific muscle, muscle group or joint is necessary and recommended. If you aren’t sure what is best for you, a personal trainer or athletic trainer can help locate any muscle imbalance or weakness you may have and design a program to fit your needs.