Does the addition of single joint exercises to a resistance training program improve changes in performance and anthropometric measures in untrained men?

The present study compared changes in muscle performance and anthropometric measures in young men performing resistance training (RT) programs composed of only multi joint (MJ) exercises, or with the addition of single joint (SJ) exercises (MJ+SJ). Twenty untrained men were randomized to MJ or MJ+SJ groups for 8 weeks. Both groups performed the same MJ exercises. The difference was that the MJ+SJ group added SJ exercises for upper and lower limbs. Participants were tested for 10 repetitions maximum (10RM), flexed arm circumference, and biceps and triceps skinfolds. Both groups significantly increased 10RM load for the bench press (MJ 38.5%, MJ+SJ 40.1%), elbow extension (MJ 28.7%, MJ+SJ 31.9%), pull down (MJ 34.0% MJ+SJ 38.5%), elbow flexion (MJ 38.2%, MJ+SJ 45.3%), leg press (MJ 40.8%, MJ+SJ 46.8%) and knee extension (MJ 26.9%, MJ+SJ 32.9%), with no significant difference between them. The decreases in biceps (MJ -3.6%, MJ+SJ –3.9%) and triceps (MJ –3.4%, MJ+SJ -3.3%) skinfolds were significant for both groups, with no difference between them. However, the flexed arm circumference increased significantly more for MJ+SJ (5.2%), than for MJ (4.0%). The use of SJ exercises as a complement to a RT program containing MJ exercises brings no additional benefit to untrained men in terms of muscle performance and skinfold reduction, though it promoted higher increases in arm circumference.

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