skip to Main Content
A group of people in a fitness class doing squats with dumbbells.

Q | What’s better for my muscles: small, pulsing movements and isometric holds, or large, deep movements such as below-parallel squats?

A | There is no one movement that is best for your muscles. Our bodies like and need to move in various ways to function well.

Isometric holds and pulsing movements are common in Pilates mat and barre classes. The focus is on core stability and posture, and the exercises may improve stabilization, core engagement, and postural awareness. But you are not likely to increase muscle mass or functional strength with these types of movements, says Jamie G. Smith, an ACE-certified fitness instructor and choreographer based in Denver.

Large, dynamic movements that use your full range of motion, such as below-parallel squats, can be incorporated into functional exercises, cross-training, or boot-camp classes, or used in other fitness programs that focus on building strength. These movements increase bone density and improve strength for “everyday situations, like lifting kids, carrying groceries, and any other activity that requires a full-body action,” says Smith. This is especially true when additional weight is added to the exercises.

For most people, a balance of both exercises is best, she says. By performing a variety of movements, with varying loads and ranges of motion, you get the benefits of both types of activity while minimizing the risk of injury or overtraining that you may experience when you favor one modality. These movements can be incorporated into one training session or split into different sessions, depending on your preference.

Thoughts to share?

This Post Has 0 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

City and state are only displayed in our print magazine if your comment is chosen for publication.

More From Life Time

A Woman In A Plank On The Floor.

Virtual Training

Developed by top Life Time trainers, these specialty programs offer a variety of proven strategies that guide you toward a specific goal.

Explore Virtual Training Programs

ADVERTISEMENT

More Like This

Barbell
By Nicole Radziszewski
How to rebuild lost muscle mass after illness.
Bicep-Curls
By Maggie Fazeli Fard
Instead of biceps curls, rows or pull-ups might be the way to go.
By Experience Life Staff
Learn the moves for month 1 of our "Strong, Fast & Fit: Part II" six-month workout program.
Back To Top