So far, our articles have typically focused on getting women into the free weights section of the gym.  While those articles are definitely needed, this one is for the Generation Y (16-29) guys who have figured out that they need to lift, but they aren’t getting the results they’re looking for.  The good news is that there is a solution.  The bad news is that it’s hard.

After about ten years of trying every type of workout I could find through books and the internet, I’ve found one major principle that has worked every time I have tested it.  That principle is that if you become strong and powerful, your body will look strong and powerful.  You really don’t have to look much farther than natural bodybuilders, olympic sprinters, and strongman competitors.  They are all very strong individuals, and their bodies merely display that attribute.

If you want to be strong, one of the worst things you can do is focus on isolation exercises that only target one muscle at a time.  While these exercises will result in enlarging a single muscle to some degree, they don’t address the major issue of creating and displaying full-body strength.  Strongman competitor Derek Poundstone doesn’t place well at World’s Strongest Man competitions because he has epic leg extension workouts.  Natural bodybuilder Layne Norton didn’t get his pro card because he only does concentration curls.  They both became powerful and win consistently in their sports because they focus on heavy lifting in basic exercises like the squat, front squat, dead lift, bench press, military press, barbell row, and clean.  The bodies of champions are forged with basic, multi-joint exercises.

Isolation exercises that only work one joint at a time can have their place in a workout program.  However, if they become the main focus, your ideal body is very unlikely to materialize.  Learn how to do basic leg, pushing, and pulling exercises.  They don’t have the glitz and glamor that some of the isolation exercises have, but they are the few exercises that will result in strength inside and out.