Achieve your optimum health and fitness for a lifetime!


By John Litteral 12-9-22


Multijointed movements are exercises that require more than one joint to move during a repetition, while single jointed movements only require one joint to move during a repetition. Multijointed movements can be referred to as compound movements, and single jointed movements are often referred to as isolation movements.  When it comes to getting stronger and building muscle, it is essential to train heavier with multijointed movements. Examples of multijointed movements are bench presses, squats, deadlifts, and overhead presses. These movements involve not only more than one joint to move, but they require more muscles to be involved in the movement. That is why these exercises are so important, because you can use a lot more weight with multijointed movements than you can with single jointed movements. You can make more progress in gaining more strength for a much longer period of time than you can with single jointed movements. You can increase lifts by hundreds of pounds in weight over years with multijointed movements verses single jointed movements, which don’t allow for much increase in weight. Large gains in strength begin to slow down with single jointed movements after about 6 weeks of training.


Just because multijointed movement exercises like the bench press, squat, overhead press, and deadlifts are the foundational exercises for gaining muscle mass, it does not mean that single jointed exercises do not play a role in building bigger muscles. Single jointed movements will allow you to develop a FULLER MUSCLE DEVELOPMENT. There are accessory muscles that assist the larger muscles in multijointed movements. Those accessory muscles will grow as the larger muscles grow when you train with multijointed movements, but isolation exercises specifically target those accessory muscles and stimulate them to grow even larger, which in turn develops more muscle mass. And the more muscle that grows the more calories that will be burned.

Many powerlifters and those who train for only strength (strength training) are typically not concerned about doing isolation movements because their goals are usually set for moving as much weight as possible, and nothing more. Sometimes powerlifters will train some of their accessory muscles in order to improve their lifts, but it is usually done for only improving their lifts. Bodybuilders train isolation movements in order to develop their muscle mass to its fullest potential.


There is a reason why most powerlifters can lift heavier weights than bodybuilders, but bodybuilders often have a lot more muscle mass and look stronger than powerlifters. One reason why bodybuilders look bigger and stronger is because they train their accessory muscles with isolation movements as well as doing multijointed movement exercises. Another reason why bodybuilders look bigger than powerlifters is because they do exercises that hit their muscles from different angles. For example, a powerlifter usually only trains their chest with exercises that are focused on improving their flat bench press performance. A bodybuilder will do a variety of chest exercises that stimulate muscle growth on all parts of the chest. The flat bench press that powerlifters do most stimulates the chest mostly in the middle and bottom of the pec. Bodybuilders do a variety of chest exercises that not only stimulates the middle and bottom pecs, but also the upper chest and side of the pecs. That allows the chest to develop fully from top to bottom and therefore appear bigger. The same principal goes for all other muscle groups.

Another difference between the powerlifter and the bodybuilder is that powerlifters train to lift as much weight as possible with the least amount of effort. They train to do certain movements as efficiently as possible. A bodybuilder often trains in a very different manner, such as lifting a lower amount of weight and creating as much stimulation to the muscle as possible. In other words, the powerlifter tries to make heavy weights feel easy, and bodybuilders try to make light weights feel harder. That’s not to say that bodybuilders can’t lift heavy weights. Gaining strength is very important for getting bigger muscles, but the goal ultimately for bodybuilding is to create as much stimulation to the muscles as possible to get as much growth and development as possible.

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