Sometimes “hypertrophy” or muscle growth is associated with globo gyms, barely-there tank tops, and Pumping Iron.
While our focus in CrossFit is based on functional, core-strengthening movements, single-joint movements (think hamstring curls or tricep pushdowns) have a lot of benefits.
For starters, lean muscle mass is good for you. Muscles act as a support system for your body. CrossFit Athlete Miranda Oldroyd literally walked around (and trained!) with a broken neck after a car accident because her muscles were strong enough to hold everything in place. Doctors later figured it out and claim her strength may have prevented her from becoming paralyzed and even may have saved her life! Check out her story here.
Single-joint movements themselves can act as both prehab and rehab for your joints, especially in the shoulder. By isolating the movement, you can target and strengthen muscles that support specific ligaments, tendons, and bone joints. These exercises can be used to ensure you don’t get hurt or help come back from an injury faster.
Lean muscle also helps keep body fat in check. More muscle requires more energy so calories are less likely to get stored as fat, especially when you are training regularly and eating well.
This boost in your metabolism is also great for performance. So not only does more lean muscle mean you’ll be stronger and able to lift more, it also means your body will become more efficient at using energy during your training.
And, let’s be honest, having some lean muscle makes you look and feel better about yourself too!
If you’re interested in gaining the benefits of adding lean muscle mass, I highly recommend checking out Coach Katie’s upcoming excursion class, Operation: #buffstuff. It’s designed specifically for all the benefits listed above!