In our football lifting program, we hit every major muscle group with multiple- and single-joint lifts. A lot of people say, "I'm not doing tricep pushdowns [single-joint lift] today because I'm doing bench press [multiple-joint lift]." But if you have a problem with your bench press, and your max isn't where you want it, you won't know what muscle group is the limiting factor. Is it a weak front delt, pec major, pec minor, triceps? You can quickly identify that limiting factor by training in a single-joint fashion. So, we start every workout with a total body movementan Olympic lift of some sort. Then on upper body days, we follow that with a multiple-joint liftthe bench press for exampleand follow that with a single-joint lift for the pec, like a fly. If you don't do both, you're setting yourself up for injury.
Ron McKeefery is the head strength and conditioning coach for the University of South Florida.
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