Overcome a Strength Plateau
If you are exercising regularly, at some point you will reach a plateau, a point at which your body stops making gains. Most exercisers make the mistake of adding more sets or more weight to their routines, both of which may lead to injury. Break-down trainings is a better choice.
In break-down training, you push your muscles to a higher level of exhaustion by doing one set of reps with your usual weight, reduce the weight, and add 2-3 more reps. This provides deeper stimulus to muscle fibers so you may train more intensely and use a greater percentage of muscle strength.
In a study by the American College of Medicine, 60 adults aged 25 to 84 trained for four weeks, lifting a weight with which they could do one set of 8-12 reps per exercise. Half the group continued this routine for another four weeks. The other half, after doing the initial set, would lower the weight by 10% and complete 2-4 more reps. Adults who added these reps gained 39 percent more strength; the seniors gained 100 percent.
Isolation or Compound Weight Training
Isolation exercises isolate a specific muscle or muscle group to shape and define the body, to create the look of muscle separation and to achieve an overall symmetry of the physique, such as the preacher curl for the biceps. Lifting machines help isolate specific muscles. Examples of isolation exercises are: leg extensions, hamstring curls, dumbbell flies, cable crossovers, decline bench presses, side lateral raises, front raises, abductor/adductor exercises, shrugs, pushdowns, kickbacks, preacher curls, wrist curls, and seated calf raises.
Compound exercises employ a number of muscles and muscle groups. They require the work of several muscles at once and stimulate the most responsive muscle growth. The best results are achieved using free weights or dumbbells, since they encourage effort from many different supporting muscles. Examples of compound exercises are dead lifts, squats, bench presses, lat pull downs, pull-ups, dips, lunges, front squats, hack squats, upright rows, standing dumbbell curls, hammer curls, standing calf raises, and step-ups.
By combining both types of exercises, your body will develop overall strength as well as visible results.