Marta Montenegro: Packing More Lifts into One Move for Major Results

Sometimes, doing more will bring great results.

This is the case in the exercise selection when lifting weights -- the more muscles that a single move targets, the more the overall benefits.

If you are looking to trim fat to get toned and ripped, you will be better off doing complex moves instead of isolated exercises. If you’re choosing between a bicep curl or lunge-to-bicep curl, choose the latter.

“Connecting the lower-body and upper-body movements through the trunk makes the whole body stronger, as each muscle group is trained for its respective function. This becomes increasingly important as you look for improving in sports and/or other physical activities,” says Brian Biagioli, Ed.D., executive director of the National Council on Strength and Fitness.

Doing More in Less Time

When doing a lunge-to-bicep curl to a shoulder press, there is a large muscle mass recruitment, which will set up the conditions to spike the growth hormone and insulin-like growth factors (IGFs), which are critical to build up muscle mass and to shrink body fat.

Consider the following if your goal is to improve performance.

A study published by the National Strength and Conditioning Association showed that when complex exercises vs. isolated exercises for the rotator cuff were tested, only the group who did the complex moves improved muscle performance significantly.

Workout with Added Benefits

The authors conclude that isolated exercises are only effective when the training goal is to strengthen the weaker muscle group -- so bicep curls may have a place in this case or when looking for specific muscle definition, the way bodybuilders or figure competitors do.

If you do lunges, bicep curls, push-ups and back rows as separate moves, push yourself a little bit harder to maximize the benefits of these exercises by layering them with other moves.

Your way to getting ripped is right here -- less time at the gym and faster results.

Better than Your Best Workout

Do these exercises in a circuit fashion, one after another.

  • Rest at the end of the circuit no longer than 60 seconds.
  • Do 2-3 times the circuit for 10-12 reps each exercise.
  • Do a light warm-up at the beginning and a stretch at the end.
  • Feel free to add some of these moves to your existing workout.

Bicep curl to lunge to overhead press (works legs, arms and shoulders): In a standing position perform a barbell curl, bring the bar to shoulder height and step back one leg into a lunge. Finish the move by returning to initial position and extending the arms into a shoulder press. Perform the exercise as one smooth move.  Alternate between one leg and the other.

Marta Montenegro is an exercise physiologist, certified strength and conditioning coach and master trainer, who teaches as an adjunct professor at Florida International University. Marta has developed her own system of exercises used by professional athletes. Her personal website,, combines fitness, nutrition and health tips, exercise routines, recipes and the latest news to help you change your life but not your lifestyle. She was the founder of nationally awarded SOBeFiT magazine and the fitness DVD series Montenegro Method.

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