Based on my own experience (as well as deferring to Eric’s greater knowledge base), I have to strongly agree with him regarding training movements instead muscle groups. When I was younger, I was involved in college athletics, and almost all of our gym training featured compound movements - I made a lot of improvements and never had any significant injuries from training. After my college athletic career was over, I was only interested in training for appearance - I was a little lazy too, so I started to use more machines - I also stopped doing the really draining compound movements.
Over time, I started to accumulate a lot of training injuries. Personally, I believe that this was due to some of the unnatural angles and stresses that machines can generate, especially for someone like me who’s tall. I also believe that machine training caused me to develop muscle imbalances that led to other imjuries (or aggrivated existing ones). Anyway, after finding T-Nation and wanting to get back in to decent shape again (I had devolved into a fat guy who benched a lot and used machines for everything else), I started re-learning the compound exercises. It was a very humbling experience - probably worse than being a beginner - being older and having more responsibilities in life didn’t help either.
However, over the past few years, I have made a lot of progress in terms of re-mastering compound movements - I’ve even started to pick up the Olympic lifts for the first time at 38. The switch back to compound movements has also lead to better appearance, better athletic performance, better posture, etc. - and best of all, no significant training injuries. I’ll never make the mistake of dropping the compound movements again. As I said before, I’ll defer to anyone who know of any formal studies, but in my experience, you can’t beat the compound lifts.[/quote]
Very interesting advice. I’ve actually wanted to switch to compound movement, but, I hate to admit it, one of the main reasons why I haven?t is that, although fairly muscular, I?m a pretty thin middle aged guy. If I start doing squats and dead lifts, I feel that the people in the gym will think: what is this guy trying to prove? Even the guys that are huge don’t do compound movements in general from what I’ve seen.
I know, I know: quit worrying about what other people think! But I?m just being honest?