Frank Mikulka's Weekly Fitness Tip
Multi-Joint Exercises (October 04, 2005)

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I was told when I do my resistance training that I should do multi-joint exercises. What does this mean? Are there single joint movements? Iím a little confused; can you explain? (Lee, Bethpage)Answer

Multi-joint exercises require the use of two or more joint motions in order to complete the exercise. Simply put, itís a compound movement. For example, a squat which involves: hip, knee and ankle uses more muscles. On the other hand, a single joint motion is an exercise that utilizes one individual joint motion to perform the exercise, in other words, isolation exercises. For example, a triceps press down isolates the triceps or a leg extension isolates the quadriceps.

Itís good to use both compound and isolated movements when you train. But if lack of time is a consideration, then opt for compound movements Ė more muscle bang for the buck. Also, compound movements prepare you for activities of daily living.

Compound movements: Bench press, rowing exercise, squat and military press.
Isolation movements: Biceps curls, triceps extensions, lateral raises and leg extensions.

Listen to Frank Mikulka’s Weekly Fitness Tips every week on Debbie Mandel’s Turn On Your Inner Light Show every Tuesday evening from 7:00 to 7:30 pm on WGBB 1240AM. Also available on