Is All Muscle Functional? | The Art of Health with Alexander Cortes

Key Takeaways

  • “Strength is context-specific” – Alexander Cortes
  • Bench pressing will improve your dumbbell press but it won’t improve your basketball performance
    • “If you build muscle bench pressing and then you go do an activity that does not require horizontal plane pressing strength, that muscle you built is not serving any purpose. It could even be inhibitory to the activity.”Alexander Cortes
  • Try to find movements with the highest degree of positive transfer to the skill you want to improve
    • Alexander recommends doing: chin-ups, dips, lunges, push-ups, body-weight squats, and other calisthenics movements
    • “Those things are going to be useful in pretty much every sport you can do”Alexander Cortes
  • More muscle can actually make you less functional
    • “The assumption that being more muscular is going to automatically make you better at a thing is a false assumption” – Alexander Cortes

Intro

  • Alexander Juan Antonio Cortes (@AJA_Cortes) is a fitness and health blogger
    • Check out his website and sign up for his daily newsletter
    • Also, check out the Podcast Notes from Alex’s appearance on Modern Wisdom

Is All Muscle Functional?

  • “Strength is context-specific” – Alexander Cortes
  • There are two main types of exercises:
    • General exercises build strength along the general patterns of movements
      • These are push, pull, squat, and lunge type exercises
      • It will build muscle that is useful for most sporting activity
    • Specific exercises will improve a specific metric of performance relative to the sport
  • Bench pressing will improve your dumbbell press but not your basketball performance
    • “If you build muscle bench pressing and then you go do an activity that does not require horizontal plane pressing strength, that muscle you built is not serving any purpose. It could even be inhibitory to the activity.”Alexander Cortes
      • Functionality is context-specific
  • Sometimes there is an overlap in exercise benefits
    • Deadlifting could help you improve your sprinting or jumping ability
      • Sometimes there is a negative transfer: The biggest bodybuilders often make horrible boxers because they tire out quickly
  • Try to find movements with the highest degree of positive transfer to the skill you want to improve
    • Alexander recommends doing: chin-ups, dips, lunges, push-ups, body-weight squats, and other calisthenics movements
    • “Those things are going to be useful in pretty much every sport you can do”Alexander Cortes
  • More muscle can actually make you less functional
    • “The assumption that being more muscular is going to automatically make you better at a thing is a false assumption” – Alexander Cortes
      • Your strength goals and sports goals may diverge

Additional Notes

  • If you’re not an athlete, do whatever exercises you want
  • If you’re an athlete, focus on the exercises which improve your performance and not those which help you look more muscular
The Art of Health : ,
Notes By Alex Wiec

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