There are many ways to achieve great results in the gym. At limitless we primarily focus on weight training to improve body shape and composition. At the initial stages of a training programme, if the goal is fat loss and body shape change its important to get as many muscles working as possible.
We use “compound” exercises, which means you are working more than one muscle at a time. For example – the squat uses the core, the legs (front and back). A deadlift uses the back of the legs, the core, and requires upper body stabilisation whilst doing the movement. A row exercise will use the back muscles and the front of the shoulders. Getting muscles working in synchronicity is important not only for fat loss results, but to make sure the body is working equally.
Once the body is used to doing compound movements and you are seeing results, you can layer in some “isolation” exercises to define a singular body part, but I would still keep the main bulk of the workout focussed on exercises that challenge several muscles at any one time.
Another way to work with compound movements is to alternate from lower body to upper body movements. This is a great way to get the heart pumping without doing hours of cardio! An example of this would be a squat and then barbell shoulder press. Or a deadlift then a single arm dumbbell/kettlebell row.
Isolation exercises could include working your biceps or triceps – but very few exercises work only one muscle group. Exercises like a tricep rope pushdown performed on a cable machine may go well with a workout that is more upper body focussed. When you are lifting, squatting, pressing or pulling – if you are working all of your muscles together ,including engaging the core muscles, you will feel so much stronger through your abdominal.
At Limitless we tend not to do ab-specific programming as the strength you build from lifting etc, will make you feel much stronger through this area.
As I mentioned before, if you wanted to layer in some ab exercises at the beginning or the end of a compound workout this is fine, but compound movements are the key to success!