Using A Mixed Training Approach For Better Results
By Nick Tumminello
Resistance training exercises can be categorized into four types: explosive, cross-body, compound and isolation exercises.
When it comes to using resistance exercise there are four approaches that are most commonly taken: Olympic-style lifting, functional training, powerlifting, and bodybuilding. Each of these approaches focus on a different type of resistance exercise.
Olympic lifters use explosive training, compound exercises are most commonly associated with powerlifting, isolation with bodybuilding and cross-body is typically associated with ‘functional training’.
However, for the purposes of improving general health, fitness and functional capacity each of the four types of resistance training should be used in a program.
It is much more beneficial to look at them as complimentary due to the fact that they each have unique benefits that the other may lack.
Let’s take a quick look at each of the 4 Resistance Training Approaches…
Explosive exercises involve a coordinated effort of the entire body to summate force., which is the sum of the total force of individual muscles added together.
These are extremely useful because power, when used in athletic movements require power generated from the entire body.
No one throws, jumps or runs using just one area of their body!
This is important for your clients, because as they age the first thing to go is their ability to create power. It’s also helpful to remember that ‘athletic movement’ and ‘power’ are relative based on your client’s ability and their goals.
The best explosive exercises to use are medicine ball throws, especially for those just getting back to explosive training. The loads can be kept very light (3-8lbs) and the movement should be done as fast as possible.
The human body moves in a crisscross manner. Typically during movement the arm and shoulder on one side link diagonally on through the hip and leg on the opposite side.
We’ll call this the ‘x-factor’. Cross-body exercises are exercise applications that are specifically focused on providing loading that challenges these ‘x-factor’ linkages.
Typically these are used when standing or when the body is rotating, resisting rotation, or dealing with unbalanced load.
These cross-body exercises can be used as assistance or the primary exercises to develop strength in a functional manner. They will challenge not only the targeted muscle but also the core muscles.
Think of a standing single-arm band chest press, dumbbell core rows, or off set loaded lunges as examples.
You are likely familiar with compound exercises as multi-joint movements that involve several muscle groups. These are your conventional strength movements such as squats, bench presses, chin ups, rows, deadlifts, etc.
These are typically used to stimulate increases in general strength and improvements in hypertrophy.
These are single joint movements that focus on individual muscle groups. You will recognize them as typical bodybuilding exercises such as biceps curls, triceps extensions, shoulder raises, leg extensions and leg curls.
These exercises focus on developing improved motor control, strength and hypertrophy while contributing to overall muscle balance, development and connective tissue strength.
A Mixed Approach To Resistance Training
No single type of exercise will be able to address everything your clients want in building muscle, improving health, getting more fit or training for fat loss.
A mixed approach to program design that utilizes all four categories of resistance exercises will provide superior training results to a program using only one type of resistance training exercise.
The mount of time spent on each category and the placement of the category in the workout will depend highly on the specific goals of your clients.
If you want to complete look at how to use a mixed approach to program design check out
The S3 Programming Method