Effective Single-Joint Exercises and Their Benefits

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Single-joint exercises with dumbbells or machines
Image by Ryan Covele, used with his permission

We’re excited to have personal trainer Ryan Covele over today with a post on single-joint exercises. Wahhhhh? What are examples of single-joint exercises with dumbbells or machines? Um, and what are benefits of doing them? Great questions and Ryan answers them here.

In this blog, I want to discuss some effective single-joint exercises and their benefits. For starters, single-joint exercises always use less weight than multi-joint exercises because single joints alone are less durable than multi-joints. There are a variety of ways to do single-joint exercises. These include the use of dumbbells or machines.

Single-Joint Exercises for Elderly People

If you’re an elderly person with little muscular strength, then it would definitely be most appropriate to use machines because they are safe and easy to use. Effective exercises that you can do using machines are the bicep curl for the upper body, the leg curl for the lower body, and leg extension for the lower body.

The bicep curl works the bicep muscle at the elbow joint, the leg curl targets the hamstrings at the knee joint, and the leg extension targets the quadriceps at the knee joint. Perform 8-12 repetitions for 1-2 sets, 1-2 days a week. Be sure to rest 1-2 minutes between each set.

Single-Joint Exercises with Dumbbells

If you’re a healthy adult with moderate muscular strength, then you can perform single-joint exercises with dumbbells. One example is the tricep kickback, which involves putting one knee on a bench and a 5-10 pound dumbbell in one hand.

After that, hold the dumbbell in your left hand if the right knee is on the bench. Then extend your left arm backwards while keeping your elbow in a fixed position. Return to the starting position after the extension and repeat for 8-10 repetitions. Perform 2-3 sets 2-3 days a week and rest 1 minute between each set.

Be sure to stay consistent with each of the single-joint exercises with dumbbells or machines for best fitness. It doesn’t matter if you’re old with little strength, or younger with moderate strength. If you want to maintain a strong body, then consistency is key. More resistance over the course of time will be most beneficial in building bone mineral density and reducing the chances of osteoporosis. Have a fit day!

Note: Please see your doctor before making any changes to your fitness routine to avoid injuries or other issues. Your GP knows you best!

About Ryan Covele

I’m Ryan, a first-year graduate student at Ball State University, an ACE-certified personal trainer, and strength and conditioning coach. My mission of my blog is to inspire people all over the planet through fitness and exercise through speaking, writing, personal training, and being the top strength and conditioning professional in the industry.

21 COMMENTS

  1. Great advice here Christy, I am 64 and although I think myself pretty fit, I know my muscle strength is far from what it once was..
    There is an old saying, ‘ Use it or Lose it’ .. I have two small weights that I lift in a morning in each hand.. My legs are more the problem… I walk often, but know too that their strength is not as it once was, even though I am active in our allotment and garden..
    We need to keep on top of exercise..
    Love and Hugs.. And a great topic.. <3

    • Thanks Sue for sharing your thoughts and I do hope you’re able to rebuild strength in the legs so you can continue to get much enjoyment out in the garden. My dad has started doing strength training on his legs to rebuild the muscles; it’s a slow process. I hope yo stick with it and know I’m hoping you feel more fit soon ((Hugs))

    • Thank you all for your time spent reading this post. If you have any questions, then feel free to ask me. My goal in life is to inspire people all across the face of the Earth and change the lives of billions of people from a health perspective. Feel free to subscribe to my Youtube channel at Ryan Covele, my Instagram @coveleryan, and my Facebook page named Flexin with Ryan. Feel free to follow my Twitter as well @ Flexin with Ryan.

  2. Very good article for single joint exercises because they are often ignored and not given the appropriate emphasis. We could not agree more that these exercises are very beneficial for the elderly people (and for everybody actually) and one of the main reasons for that is that elderly people tend to have muscle atrophy and osteoporosis problems so these exercises will make their quality of life better.

    • Thanks for leaving such a wise comment about the benefits of single-joint exercises for elderly people and those of all ages. Having osteoporosis can be a challenge but it’s good to have these fitness suggestions to help make things a bit easier.

  3. It’s very refreshing to read this post on isolation (single joint) exercises. We read so much online about how compound (multi-joint) are so important that one can easily get the idea that isolation movements aren’t important – which they are!

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