Multi-joint exercises like Deadlifts and Lunges go a long way toward maximizing strength and size gains.
But standing single-joint exercises, as this workout shows, are a nice complement and can also give you a total-body workout. Doing only single-joint movements during one workout each week can be a refreshing change from repetitive multi-joint pushing, pulling, squatting and lunging. Plus, single-joint movements individually target muscles and joints from different angles, making a conditioning program more interesting.
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Try this workout weekly between multi-joint exercises. You can intensify it by incorporating supersets and brief rests between exercises and performing all exercises upright. This promotes other essential sports and fitness attributes such as endurance, burning fat and building core strength and stability (compared with seated or supine single-joint movements).
- Two dumbbells @ 50% RM
- Two dumbbells @ 30% RM
- Water bottle
- Timer (optional)
- Do an upper- and lower-body dynamic warm-up (e.g., Arm Circles and Lunges).
- Finish with a cooldown upper- and lower-body static stretches for greater flexibility and range of motion.
- Hydrate before, during and after the workout.
- Sets/Reps: 1×15-20 (using the heavier DBs) immediately followed (superset) by 1×30-40 (using the lighter DBs)—or, alternatively, do as many fast muscle endurance reps as you can in 60-90 seconds using the lighter DBs. This provides that desired muscle-building “pump” for your isolated upper body muscles while simultaneously fatiguing your legs and hips during prolonged periods in a lunge or squat position.
- Rest 30 seconds between exercises.
- Note: Although the workout involves only upper body single-joint movements, the lower body and core muscles are also engaged, since all exercises are done from lunging, single-leg, or squat positions.
Single-Leg Shoulder Shrugs
- Perform the Shrugs with the heavier DBs with your left foot off the ground, your left knee slightly bent and your right leg in a Squat position (neutrally
- Hold the DBs with your arms extended near your legs for 10 reps.
- Quickly switch for 10 reps with your right foot off the ground.
- Immediately grab the lighter DBs and do 20 Shrugs with your left foot off the floor and 20 with your right foot off the floor.
A terrific shoulder, upper back, leg and core-building combo. Performing single-leg exercises also improves your balance.