Nothing in Isolation!

Funny story..

Yesterday at the gym where I work we got in a brand new triceps machine.  The latest concept is that it has 3 different settings in order to better target (isolate) the 3 individual heads of the triceps muscle.  I shuddered at the the very thought as I looked upon the foul machine with disdain…

Tricep-ExtensionThen someone called me over to look at it and give it a try.  My initial instinct was to run away, but I acquiesced, pretended to be interested, and tried it out.  Well, true to its advertising it certainly isolated the triceps very well.  And, I am extremely happy to report that the whole experience of isolating one muscle group, and now parts of a muscle, is extremely foreign to my body.  I had to stop myself from shivering as I extricated myself from its vile grasp!!

Never Do This!

Just in case you have not received the message, allow me to be very clear here, I do NOT recommend using machines to exercise, EVER!  They restrict your body’s true range of motion to one dimension and completely obviate any need for stabilizer, postural, or core muscles to activate at all.  Combine that with the fact that nothing in martial art, sport, or real life ever happens in isolation or in one dimension and you start to see how dis-integrating your body via machine-based training is a recipe for disaster!  If you prefer to look like a Frankenstein body built out of disparate parts that have zero ability to function as a cohesive unit, then by all means enjoy your machine-based training.  Otherwise, stick with me and you will perform with integrated whole-body strength with fluidity and grace.

How to Actually Train Triceps

Now, let’s assume that you want to actually train your triceps in the right way, as part of an integrated whole that coordinates with, and is supported by, the rest of the body.

So what exercises do I suggest?  Here is a short list…

  • Push-ups (close push-ups, handstand push-ups, one-arm push-ups, pike push-ups, arrow push-ups)
  • Pull-ups (Yes, pull-ups work the triceps – amazing, right?!)
  • Overhead Presses (kettlbell, dumbbell, barbell, sandbag, etc..)
  • Dips (add weight if too easy!)
  • Bridges
  • L-Sit holds

Want to develop your triceps in concert with the rest of the body?  How many of the above exercises do you do on a regular basis?  Get after it!  Get strong – stay strong!!

 

PS – Sick of being average?  Ready for extraordinary?  Let me know how I can help you…
If you are ready for a Warrior Life, click HERE <<===

Jon

Jon Haas is a certified Underground Strength Coach -Level 2, an ACE and FMS certified Personal Trainer, and has been involved in the martial arts for over 30 years. He has been training in the Budo Taijutsu warrior arts of the Bujinkan for more than 25 years and is currently ranked as a Kudan (9th degree black belt) under Jack Hoban Shidoshi. He is the founder of Warrior Fitness Training Systems and author of the book, Warrior Fitness: Conditioning for Martial Arts, as well as numerous other online training programs.

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About The Author

Jon

Jon Haas is a certified Underground Strength Coach -Level 2, an ACE and FMS certified Personal Trainer, and has been involved in the martial arts for over 30 years. He has been training in the Budo Taijutsu warrior arts of the Bujinkan for more than 25 years and is currently ranked as a Kudan (9th degree black belt) under Jack Hoban Shidoshi. He is the founder of Warrior Fitness Training Systems and author of the book, Warrior Fitness: Conditioning for Martial Arts, as well as numerous other online training programs.

3 Comments

  • Jeremie

    March 1, 2015

    Hi Jon. I just had a question. Your programs interest me very much and I want to get them but the only internet I have right now is my phone. It’s not capable of downloading your programs and I don’t want them on my phone anyways. Is there any possibility that you’ll have hard copy versions of your programs? Actual books and DVDs? I know it’s cheaper etc these days to go digital but some of us are still old school. Anyways thanks for your time.

  • Jon

    March 1, 2015

    Hey Jeremie,

    I actually do have hard-copies of a couple programs. My Warrior Fitness book and the Warrior Fitness Guide to Striking Power. I’m looking into putting additional programs into hard copy as well. 🙂

    Jon

  • Sharkman

    April 8, 2016

    Interesting article on isolation machines. I agree with the fact that you will always develop more functional strength using body weight exercises, kettlebells and other non isolation equipment. I do believe machines have their place however they are good to maintain some level of Fitness during injuries and can be used as a go-between while you are in the recovery period if used sparingly. Also machines can be used to up the intensity of certain exercises for example one could do set of dips and then immediately go to the above-mentioned tricep machine without any rest in between and completely tax the muscle. I’ve also used machines in a circuit style training methodology in between sparring just to make things more difficult and interesting this is created a very high conditioning factor as well. Now don’t get me wrong I do agree with you machines are not the best way to build functional strength but I do believe they can be used in conjunction with free weights kettlebells and calisthenics… it’s just all about using your imagination to keep things interesting and unique.

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