Isolated exercises are exercises that involve only one joint (which is why they are also called single joint exercises), in isolation from or with only minor participation of other muscles. As these exercises help you work on details, they can be very beneficial. 

Next to isolated exercises, there are also compound exercises, which involve cooperation of at least two joints. The best effects are achieved when these two are combined. Training plans should be elaborated in such a way as to make isolated exercises supplement compound exercises, which should be the core element of the workout.

What is the role of isolated exercises?

  1. A way to master the technique Isolated exercises allow you to perfectly focus on the muscle you are building up and involve all your power in this very group, paying attention to the slightest details of each movement. As a result, your workout is more effective and less injury-causing.
  2. A perfect way to start the training session Isolated exercises are done to induce preliminary fatigue of a big and strong muscle group, which are trained later during the workout mainly based on multi-joint movements.
  3. If used at the end of the training session, in turn, isolated exercises lay foundations for the next, much more intense workout.
  4. A good thing to try if you are injured Isolated exercises help you precisely adjust the load to individual muscle head pairs, as a result of which you can train even with injury of the specific muscle group. In this way the recovery and regeneration take less time.
  5. Additionally, isolated exercises facilitate the development of muscles which cannot be effectively pumped up with multi-joint exercises or are technically difficult to train.
  6. If you are a beginner:
    In this phase you want to quickly build as much muscle mass as possible. Focus on compound exercises, as they will get you the most benefits in relation to the time you need to spend doing them. You can consider introducing one isolated exercise into your training, i.e. standing barbell forearm curls. The main beneficiary of this exercise will be the biceps.  There is no need to do separate biceps exercises at this stage.
  7. If you have little time to work out, choose compound exercises. If you want to train the entire body, you would have to spend countless hours in the gym doing isolated exercises, while 3-4 properly selected compound exercises will do the job, giving you a perfect muscle stimulation and saving your time.
  8. If you have no plans to participate in bodybuilding competition. You can give up isolated exercises if you do a sport which does not require proportional muscles.
  9. Standing Barbell Arm Curls This exercise should be among the very first isolated exercises incorporated into a workout routine
  10. Seated or Standing Calf Raises The primary (main) exercises may not stimulate your calves enough, wherefore certain disproportions in the shape of both legs can occur after some time.

When are isolated exercises waste of time?

There is a certain hierarchy of importance of individual isolated exercises

When it comes to isolation exercises, there are many that are for it, and many that are against it too. Moreover, some will say that it is best to do certain types of isolating muscle exercises in order to enhance the overall workout routine, but when is it good and when actually is it a waste of time? For that reason, we are going to go deeper into this question, within our article topic today, so if you are a beginner or even a long-time workout enthusiast and just want to learn more we encourage you to read on to find our best answer, let’s get to it!

When it comes to exercise and doing work out routines, we all want to get the best workout to improve our overall body, and health. However, there are times that doing just isolating muscle exercises, could defeat our overall progress. That being said, in answer to our question mentioned earlier on, ” doing certain isolating muscle exercises could actually be both good and or bad”, if done for the wrong reasons as we will now explain why. 

Therefore, if you are wanting to become a bodybuilder for example, then perhaps doing certain isolation exercises such as for the upper chest area would be an ideal choice for you to target. However, many people would also greatly benefit more from their overall workout routine by doing what is called compound type exercise movements to use several muscle groups at the same time within their exercise workouts. Keep in mind, however, that using both types of exercises such as the types that will target certain muscle groups only while doing isolating muscle exercises can still be beneficial within your workouts as well. 

With that said, at this point you might still be wondering then are isolating muscle exercises good or bad to do? Well, the answer to that would be for you to decide first what goals are you trying to achieve with your overall workout schedules? If you are short on time, and doing these exercises to improve your overall appearance and health then we would suggest that you do compound movements, so that it is easier for your body to get the most benefits out of the workout, and several muscle groups will be engaged within the movements you do, instead of isolated targeted muscles.

On the other hand, if you recently injured a certain body part during your workout, then it might be best to give that targeted muscle group a rest for the time being. Therefore, in these certain types of circumstances doing instead certain isolating muscle exercises would allow your body to recover from the injury, but still, give you the benefits that exercise would help you with for your overall well being too. Moreover, it is worth mentioning that there are times that using certain isolation exercises that target say your biceps, are still beneficial to use even when you are not training just as a bodybuilder for example. 

Having said that, if you want to use both isolating muscle exercises, and compound types of exercises together in your same workout routine there are a few suggestions we would like for you to take into consideration. Therefore, we would suggest that you start with doing compound types of exercises so that your body is engaging more than just one type of muscle group, to begin with. Then you can move into certain targeted isolating muscle exercises during the same routine, and thus your body will still gain both the added benefits that each type of exercise routines can easily provide to you long term.

When it comes to deciding which types of exercises are better for a person to do such as isolating muscle exercises, or doing compound types of exercises the many suggestions for both can be overwhelming to decide upon which way to start with. However, we hope that our article helped to better clarify to our readers that there are times doing both types of exercises that target a certain muscle group, and doing compound types of exercises can both actually be beneficial long term. Finally, while doing exercises can be great, we want to encourage our readers to first consult with their own doctors, to ensure that whichever types of exercises you are ready to begin doing, whether it be isolating muscle exercises, or compound movement exercises that you are safe to begin doing them for your own workout routine, and that your doctor has cleared you to start an exercise workout that is specific for your body, and your own overall health needs in a safe manner.



How to develop a beautiful, manly back? What exercises to choose?

Muscle mass can be developed with the use of cable and pulldown machines. But when using a barbell, in a single activity you will “attack” more muscles than during isolated exercises with machines. In this way you will do fewer reps, but still involve the same number of muscles.

Below you can find the basic principles of barbell exercises, perfect for muscle expansion with simultaneous shortening of the duration of workouts.


Bring your torso forward, by bending at the waist, while keeping the back straight until it is almost parallel to the floor. Bend your knees slightly and retract your hips to maintain the spine’s natural curvature (meaning that the dorsal spine should be straight). Grasp a barbell with a pronated grip (supinated grip is also acceptable). Adjust the grip width depending whether you want to stimulate the external or the internal parts of your back: the wider the grip the more engaged the internal back muscles. Remember that the concentric movement (the one in which the muscles contract) should be performed explosively, while the eccentric movement should be controlled.


Lie back on a flat bench, pulling your shoulder blades together and keeping your shoulders retracted, so that your chest sticks out. Grab the bar with a pronated grip, with your thumbs wrapping the bar. Note: avoid monkey grip, as then the probability of dropping the bar is bigger and you can develop a thumb injury when immediately pressing the thumb against the bar. Use a medium width grip, making sure that your wrists remain straight regardless of the bar position. Keep your elbows wide apart, creating a 90-degree angle between the arms and the rib line. Raise the barbell in an explosive movement and bring it back in a controlled way, avoiding its spontaneous drop by means of gravity.


Grab the barbell with a pronated grip (with your thumbs wrapping the bar), a bit wider than shoulder-width. Lift the bar up over your head, keeping your wrists straight. Remember to keep your elbows in front of your body and not to the sides. Then, you will force your shoulder joint to work harder, ensuring its better stimulation. You can do the exercise seated (preferably with a back support) or standing (in a slight step position).


Stand upright, with your legs slightly apart and your knees slightly bent. Grab a barbell at a shoulder-width grip, with your palms facing upwards. Curl the weights forward while tilting your body slightly backwards and slightly raising your elbows. Bring the bar back by straightening the elbow.


Put the barbell on the upper part of the trapezius muscle. Pull your shoulder blades together and roll the shoulders back making your chest stick out. This will help you keep your dorsal spine straight. Stand with feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart, to make your body position stable at each stage of the movement. Go as low as you can, until the angle between your thighs and shins is smaller than 90 degrees; make sure that your knees are right above the feet and that they do not go beyond the toe line.


Stand in front of the barbell. Your feet should be spaced shoulder-width apart. Do a semi-squat, making sure that your shins contact the bar. Use an overhand grip. Stand up, remembering to contract the back, the legs, the abdominal muscles and the back. The movement resembles driving the hips forward. Your hands should play the role of hooks, supporting the barbell as you stand up. Keep your thighs, buttocks, belly and back muscles contracted. The bar should remain as close to your body as possible for the entire range
of motion.

When doing subsequent repetitions, bend your knees less and your hips more (bow rather than squat). Do not put the barbell back between individual reps, as then you would have to start each rep from the starting position.

When working out the whole body during one session, start with the upper body. Remember to train the biggest muscles first.

To make sure that your muscles receive optimum stimulation, do 4-5 series of all the exercises described above, with 8-15 repetitions of each.



The individual objectives of gym training can be many: from fat burning and weight reduction, through muscle mass growth, to enhanced performance, endurance and bigger strength. Nevertheless, whatever the goal, you need to be familiar with the basics and know how to start. With an inappropriate attitude right from the start you will quickly get disappointed and frustrated that you did not get to achieve your goals.

Training plan is a must

If you are chaotic in your workouts, or have overweening ambitions and choose to start with an advanced workout routine that is meant for bodybuilders, you will not come out unscathed. A reliable and effective training should be started by making a plan that will lead you to the results and figure of your dreams, keeping you at all times motivated and satisfied.

The pursuit of your goal will be a lengthy process, even if you are not planning to climb a podium. What you are going to need is patience, perseverance and consequence. But the results will be spectacular.

Full Body Workout (FBW) – a perfect workout for beginners

Each beginner training should involve full-body exercises. The FBW involves all muscle groups during a single session. The sessions are repeated three times a week. With a methodology like this, you will force your whole body to work and give your muscles the right stimuli to grow. And you will avoid overtraining whilst keeping your whole body fit.

Appropriate pauses between workouts are of paramount importance. The common mistake of increasing the intensity of trainings quickly leads to burnout and discouragement.


Warmed up muscles

Remember to warm up your muscles before doing the proper workout. About 10 minutes of an intense aerobic training with a stepper, running tract or an exercise bike, or jogging should be enough to improve your blood circulation. In stage two of the workout, do leg and arm swings, twisted bends and bends, to prepare your joints for the workout. Warm-up is an integral element of the training. Every single exercise needs warmed-up muscles, so you should do at least one warm-up series before each, increasing the number of repetitions. If you abandon warm-ups, you risk getting injured.

Appropriate series for each muscle

Remember to train all muscle groups during your training session. It is best if a training plan contains one or two exercises for each muscle part. Each exercise should be performed in 2 to 3 series, with 8-10 repetitions in each series. Increase the weight as the session progresses, finally leading to resistance and difficulty (muscle collapse).

If you do not feel fatigue after all reps, you should add more weight. But if you are unable to do at least 8 repetitions, this means that your weight is too big. Obviously, you need to adjust the parameters to your capabilities and fitness.

Remember to pause for c.a. 3 minutes between individual exercises. The recommendations above apply to the first 2-3 weeks of working out, in which the muscles adapt to the effort and the body gets prepared to further routine. It is important that you do not overtrain your body in this phase.

Technique is key!

Habits tend to quickly become man’s second nature, and gym exercises are no exception. Technical errors prevent progress, delay the results and make you prone to injuries. By nurturing the right habits, you will be able to easily use the proper technique in more advanced stages of your workout routine.

Increasing workout intensity can be harmful

The initial phase is the phase when your body gets adapted to the work and your muscles get shaped. Although tempting, do not increase the intensity of your training in this phase. Do not use the aid from a partner, do not unload weights during a pending series, do not perform combined series, giant series etc. In the initial phase, too strong stimuli quickly lead to overtraining and, in consequence, hinder muscle mass growth.

Pursue your goals wisely

By wisely sticking to your plan and supporting your trainings with a healthy diet, supplementation and rest periods, you will shortly achieve your goal and see the effects relatively soon. Then, your endorphins will boost your motivation, leading you towards success.



Beautifully sculpted abdominal muscles are every athlete’s dream and an objective of bodybuilders and all those concerned with their figure. How to sculpt the belly to make it the envy of all and a provider of a perfect postural support? Here are a few important facts.

Beautifully sculpted abdominal muscles are every athlete’s dream and an objective of bodybuilders and all those concerned with their figure. How to sculpt the belly to make it the envy of all and a provider of a perfect postural support? Here are a few important facts.

Construction of the abdominal muscles

Abdominal muscles are the muscles between the chest and the upper pelvis. The anterolateral abdominal wall is made by the  rectus abdominis muscle, the external oblique muscle, the internal oblique muscle, the transverse abdominal muscle and the pyramidalis muscle. The posterior wall of the abdomen, in turn, is composed of the quadratus lumborum, the psoas major, the psoas minor and the iliacus. Those involved in professional sport work hard to have a “six pack”, i.e. a nicely outlined rectus abdominis, while beginners wrestle with ways to burn belly fat. The best solution is to concentrate on simple and safe exercises to reduce fat tissue.

Easy exercises for beginners

  1. Parallel Bar Bent Leg Raise: keep your forearms strongly supported against the padded bars when doing the exercise. Make sure that your torso, back and buttocks adhere closely to the back support. Slightly bend your legs and let them hang freely. Raise the legs in a smooth motion. The straighter the legs, the more difficult the exercise. Do 3-4 series, 15-20 repetitions in each. 
  2. Abdominal Crunches: in this exercise, you bring your lower chest to the upper pelvis. Keep your knees bent at a 90 degree angle. You can rest your feet on a barbell or the wall. Raise your torso rhythmically. Do not touch the mat with your shoulders as you perform the lowering movement and do not return to the lying position. 3-4 series, with 20-25 repetitions in each should be enough. 
  3. Bench Knee Ups: sit on the edge of a bench. Slightly pull your knees to the chest and tilt your body a bit backwards remembering to keep natural spine curvature. Remember about a 30-45 degree bend in your knees.

Next to the exercises proposed in this document, to help your belly look better, you need to exercise your deep muscles, i.e. the internal oblique muscle, the pyramidalis, the transverse abdominal muscle and the quadratus lumborum. By training these muscles, you will keep your belly flat and avoid the “turtle effect”.

How to sculpt the belly. Exercises for deep abdominal muscles

  1. Seated Torso Twists: do the exercise seated, with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Keep your body straight and your arms pulled sideways. Slowly twist from side to side and stop the motion for about 1 second. 3-4 series, with 15-20 repetitions in each should be enough. 
  2. Single Leg Raises: do this exercise in a lying position, with one leg straight and the other leg bent so foot is flat on the ground. Raise the straight leg upwards, simultaneously raising your torso. 3-4 series, with 15-20 repetitions in each should be enough. 

More than exercises

In order to have a perfect belly, apart from the exercises you need a good diet, so that when working out, you burn more calories than you deliver to your body during the day. Your diet should be rich in vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.



If after a long time of regular training (at least 2 years), in which you went through beginner and intermediate training routines, you see that you are not making progress, even though adhering to the basic rules (proper nutrition and recovery), you probably should consider going to the next advancement level. Let us call it a beginner advanced routine.

 As representatives of intermediate level, you worked out 4 times a week, training each muscle group twice a week. After some time your muscles adapted to the stimulation and did not show traces of further growth. This means that the time has come to go to the next level,  that is, to increase the intensity of workouts by increasing the number of exercises for each group of muscles. What you need to do is add one exercise for each muscle group. In this way you will “attack” your muscles comprehensively, and stimulate them better.  Remember that as you increase the number of exercises for each muscle group and, consequently, the number of series, your workouts will take more time, which may lead to fatigue or overtraining. You surely want to avoid this!

In such case, you have no option but to increase the number of workouts. A three-day split will be the best solution here.

How to elaborate an effective 3-day system?

All workouts should be similar in terms of content, effort and time, meaning that the duration of all sessions should be similar and that you should feel equally exhausted after each. Remember not to train synergistic (ancillary) muscles during the same session or on the day preceding the workout for the main muscle group. For instance, what you should avoid is working on your biceps on Monday and on your back on Tuesday, as the majority of intense back exercises involve the biceps and if you tire it out the day before, it will probably not manage to recover until the day after, as a result of which you will have to cut down on the weights when training your back, preventing the optimum growth of your muscles.

When arranging a beginner split, pay attention to the order in which you exercise individual muscle groups during each session. Always start your workout with the biggest muscle parts of the upper body: the blood is pumped easier downwards than upwards.


Examples of workouts:

Workout A



  1. Front Lat Pull Down, 3×8-10
  2. Bent Over Dumbbell Raise, 3×8-10
  3. Seated Cable Row, 3×8-10
  4. Deadlift, 3×10-12

  1. Incline Bench Barbell Press, 3×8-10
  2. Incline Bench Dumbbell Press, 3×8-10
  3. Dumbbell Flys, 3×10-12

Workout B


  1. Seated Dumbbell Press 3×8-10
  2. Dumbbell Lateral Raise, Standing, 3×10-12
  3. Bent Over Dumbbell Raise, 3×12-15

  1. Alternating dumbbell front raise (standing), 4×15-12
  2. EZ Bar Preacher Curl, 3×15

  1. Lying EZ Bar French Press, 4×12-18
  2. Standing Cable Horizontal Triceps Extension, 3×12-10
  3. 45 Degree Leg Presses, 3×10-12
  4. Deep Squats, 3×10-12
  5. Walking Lunges, 3×12-15
  6. Leg Curl, 3×10-12
  7. Stiff Leg Deadlift, 3×10-12

Workout C


  1. Toe Stands (standing), 3×15-20
  2. Toe Stands (seated), 3×15-20
  1. Kneeling Cable Crunches, 3×20-25
  2. Parallel Bar Bent Leg Raise, 3×20-25

Depending on your recovery capability, you can perform the workout described above in one of the following systems: 2 training days with one day off, 3 days ON with one day OFF or 6 consecutive days of training and one day off.



Back exercises should be performed not only when pursuing a V-shaped body. With strong back muscles, you will not slouch and will be able to perform other exercises more effectively. But what if you suffer a back injury? Should you stop working out or find a safe physical activity to keep sculpting your back muscles and restore their functionality?

Back muscles. What can go wrong?

Analogically to other muscle groups, back muscles can be divided into deep muscles (with the most important representative of the group being the spinal erector) and superficial muscles (spinohumeral muscles and spinocostal muscles).

Back injuries are usually caused by improperly performed exercises, which can be as dangerous as lack of physical activity. This is why you should always make sure that you use the proper technique when exercising. Observations show that if you perform strength exercises with additional weights improperly, you risk developing lower back injuries. The majority of lower back injuries are caused by improper body position in exercises for big muscle groups (slouching), which is particularly dangerous when lifting heavy weights.

Exercises that are good for the spine

Most exercises should be performed with the back straight, with several exceptions. Failure to adhere to the rules governing individual exercises can be dangerous. Only when you learn the proper technique can you increase the intensity of working out. The majority of  back exercises also involve abdominal muscles.

If you feel lower back pain, do not do back exercises with weights in the vertical axis of the spine, such as, for instance, standing barbell shoulder press or barbell press behind neck. What is recommended is seating barbell press with back support. Remember to set the bench support at the right angle to safely rest your spine on. If done standing, the exercise will force an unstable body position, making it impossible for you to raise the barbell along the proper track without straining the spine.

Lower back pain

If you suffer from lower back pain, do not do intense or demanding back exercises, like deep squats. Instead, choose 45 degree leg presses. In this exercise, there will be no pressure on your spine.  Another option is the narrow hack squats, which will partially reduce pressure on your back muscles. You may also want to try kneel-downs or walking lunges with dumbbells or a barbell. These exercises involve the same muscles as squats, but as the pressure is on one leg only, the force acting on the spine is much weaker.

What is also not recommended for lower back pain is bent over exercises, like bent over row or bent over dumbbell lateral raise. You can replace these with incline bench dumbbell row or one-arm dumbbell row with hands and knees supported against the bench.

Preliminary muscle fatigue method

According to the preliminary muscle fatigue method, you should start with exercises that cause fatigue of the selected muscle part. This means that you can do a series of isolated (single-joint) exercises, followed by series of compound exercises. For instance: you can start your workout with a machine exercise, to cause preliminary fatigue of the quadriceps muscles of your thighs, and then switch to a series of squats, forcing the previously trained muscles to work hard, but with bigger submissiveness. The pressure that will be exerted on your thigh muscles during squats will have a smaller impact on the spine than if you start with a series of squats, and your lower back will ache less.

Seek medical advice

Even a high dose of caution when doing spine exercises may turn out to be not enough. If need be, seek medical advice. The doctor will diagnose the problem and recommend proper rehabilitation. Your rule number one for working out should be: “safety first”.



To prepare your muscles to carry increasing weights when working to develop your muscle mass, you need to build up your strength. For the best results, consider dividing your training year into cycles.


1. First steps in strength training

2. What to do for strength-building?


4. Strength workout routine


Beginners tend to make it their main goal to develop muscle mass, which is wrong.

At some point there comes stagnation, as muscles get used to being subjected to the same stimuli all the time. Consequently, they either lose strength or are unable to get any more of it. It is impossible to use still bigger weights to stimulate muscle growth.

Additionally, your muscles lose resistance, and even though the same weight is used, the number of reps you are able to do decreases,  making it difficult to increase training intensity.


1. First steps in strength training

In your strength training, you should not exaggerate with the number of repetitions. 2 to 8 is enough.

Focus on some basic exercises, in which you will be able to use several muscle groups. The best ones are deep knee bends, barbell presses and dead lift.

Use mainly free weights, as they will help you develop the stabilisation muscles which you are going to need later to lift bigger weights when working on your strength.

It is very common for people to use machines in this type of training, which do not develop stabilising muscles. If you skip this training cycle, you risk losing your strength!

2.  What to do for strength-building?

Strength training is not something you do until your muscles collapse. The goal is to adapt your muscles to growing weights. This is why it is good to leave at least one repetition in reserve in each series.

In this way, your muscle will recover quicker and you will be able to reduce the pause between the same trainings. If in a classic strength training you train one muscle group once a week, with a repetition in reserve you will be able to switch to twice a week.

You should try to increase the weights, if possible, from one workout to another. But remember about the repetitions in reserve in each series. Consider keeping a training log, in which you will precisely describe each workout and note down the weights and the reserve. This will help you choose the weight for the next training and, consequently, track your progress or adjust the workout if need be.

Pauses between individual series can last up to 4 minutes.

It is best if the whole cycle lasts 8 to 12 weeks.

3. Warm – up

Remember to make 2-3 warm-up series before each workout, according to the following rule:

If your target weight is 100 kg and you are supposed to make 6 reps, do the first warm-up series with 40 kg x 6 reps. In the second series, use 60 kg weights and make 6 reps. In the second series, use 80 kg (still 6 reps).

Then, pause for a while and start the main workout. With the warm-up, you will gradually prepare your muscles, joints, ligaments and fascia to carry increasing weights and minimise the risk of injury.

4. Strength workout routine

Below you can find a recommended division of your trainings and exercises that will improve your strength in a bodybuilding workout.



1. Bent Over Row: 3 series, 6 reps,

2. Bent Over Dumbbell Row: 3 series, 6 reps,

3. Pull up (or pull down, if you are unable to or cannot pull up):

3 series, 6 reps

4. Deadlift: 3 series, 2 reps.



1. Bench Barbell Press: 3 series, 2 reps,

2. Incline Bench Barbell Press: 3 series, 6 reps,

3. Chest Dip: 3 series, 6 reps.




1. Standing Barbell Shoulder Press 3 series, 6 reps,

2. Standing Dumbbell Shoulder Press 3 series, 6 reps,

3. Wide Grip Barbell Upright Row: 3 series, 6 reps,

4. Dumbbell Shrugs: 3 series, 6 reps.



1. standing barbell forearm curls, 3 series, 6 reps.


1. Close Grip Bench Press: 3 series, 6 reps.




1. Deep Squat: 4 series, 6 reps.

2. Hack Squat: 4 series, 6 reps.

3. Stiff Leg Deadlift: 4 series, 6 reps.

It is best to work out six days in a row.

If it is too much for you to recover properly, then work out for three days and have a day off.

Those who have difficulties recovering may want to try the scheme below: 2 days of working out, 1 day off.



Creatine Monohydrate Powder Creapure®: take for 6-8 weeks and then stop for another 6-8 weeks (monohydrate is enough);

BCAA Mega Caps®/ BCAA XPLODE Powder® – before and after working out. If your workout is long, you can also take the preparation during the training;

COLLAREGEN™. Working out with big weights can cause an extremely high pressure in the articular cartilage and tendons. This supplement will help your cartilage and tendons function properly.



Problems with joints can be caused by an injury, excess effort or degenerative changes. Such disorders of the musculoskeletal system affect the quality of life and make it difficult to complete everyday tasks. An effective way to get rid of joint pains is through supplementation with glycosaminoglycans (GAG) and collagen. GAGs are active substances that are usually added to products recommended for enhancing the proper functioning of joints. What are the mechanisms of action of GAGs and why are they so effective in the treatment and prevention of arthritis? The answer is presented below.


1. When your joints fail you

Articular cartilage is mainly composed of glycosaminoglycans (including, among others, chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine sulfate and hyaluronic acid). The biomechanics of cartilage is determined by the physicochemical properties of these macro-molecules. For this reason, disturbed biosynthesis and homeostasis of the glycosaminoglycan environment weakens the structure of articular cartilage, which may lead to arthritis.

Arthritis is a popular ailment of developed countries, which involves joint inflammation with the accompanying pain, swelling and stiffness. There are two types of arthritis:

  • osteoarthritis, caused by degeneration of overly strained articular cartilage,
  • rheumatoid arthritis, the most common consequence of joint damage or fracture.

2. Arthritis. Treatment methods.

Currently, arthritis treatment focuses on alleviating the ailments through palliative procedures encompassing pharmacology and surgeries. The medicines used in the ailment have a pain-killing and anti-inflammatory effect (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs NSAIDs). In osteoarthritis, the treatment is supplemented by slow-acting medicines (SYSADOA). The active ingredients of this group of medications produce a delayed effect and relieve ailments caused by osteoarthritis after c.a. one month of use, with the effect persisting for up to several weeks after withdrawal. Such active ingredients include, among others, chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine sulfate, which proved to be highly effective in the treatment of osteoarthritis, additionally producing an anti-inflammatory effect. Let us now have a closer look at the efficiency of the most popular compounds recommended for problems with joints.

3. Chondroitin sulfate (CS)

Chondroitin Sulfate (Bovine) is one of the best clinically tested compounds when it comes to its bioavailability after oral administration. Research (Volpi, 2002 and 2003) shows that blood concentration of chondroitin sulfate grows significantly within 1 to 6 hours after administered, with peak concentration in the second hour after taking the supplement. Serum concentration of this macromolecular compound remains significantly high (over 200% of base concentration) for up to 4 hours, and drops afterwards. Supplementation with bovine and shark cartilage chondroitin sulfate has been confirmed to effectively raise the blood concentration of the compounds. Thus, it has been proved that macro-molecules with high-density loads can be transported by the mucosa of the small intestine.


The positive effects of oral administration of chondroitin sulfate in osteoarthritis treatment have been broadly confirmed in clinical trials. Chondroitin sulfate obtained from several different sources (bovine, shark, bird) and used in different doses (500 to 1,200 mg/day) and for different periods (3-24 months) was tested. The manner of administration differed, too (every day throughout the test period or twice, in 3-month cycles). Nevertheless, all tests showed that long-term oral administration of chondroitin sulfate is safe, well tolerated and highly effective in alleviating osteoarthritis-related pain and in enhancing the mobility of the affected knee joint.

4. Glucosamine sulfate (GS)

Glucosamine sulfate belongs to the most popular supplements used in osteoarthritis prevention and alleviation of symptoms of the disease. The effectiveness of glucosamine has stirred controversies for years, being the subject of numerous disputes and experiments. The negative opinions on the effects of glucosamine on the joints were based mainly on observations of a single chemical form of the substance (glucosamine hydrochloride), the absorbability of which is restricted to dozen or so percent only. Another problem was the lack of knowledge on the substance’s pharmacokinetics when administered orally or injected. The methods used were not sensitive enough to allow exact evaluation of the concentration of the ingredient in biological fluids. Plus, the quality of the glucosamine sulfate used left a lot to be desired, which significantly reduced its efficiency in the experiments. The situation is different now. Long-term clinical research on patients suffering from arthritis of the knee shows that glucosamine sulfate is effective in reducing the negative symptoms of the disease.


Glucosamine sulfate is characterised by a very high bioavailability. When administered orally, the substance is quickly absorbed from the alimentary tract and is available in the circulatory system. After 3 to 4 hours after administration, the blood concentration of glucosamine sulfate slowly drops, but remains above the average base level for the next 48 hours, irrespective of the dose. Another characteristic feature of glucosamine is that after a sudden growth of its blood level as a result of absorption of the substance from intestines, the concentration of the substance drops multi-exponentially. This shows that glucosamine is distributed in considerable amounts to non-vascular organs of the human body (joints and articular cartilages). It has also been observed that the maximum average concentration of glucosamine sulfate after its administration depends on the dose, with the half-life of c.a. 15 hours. The differences in pharmacokinetic distribution of the compound are sex-specific.

Dosage – the recommended daily dose is 1,500 mg per day. Higher doses disturb the absorption and distribution of glucosamine sulfate, while lower doses proportionally lower the glucosamine blood concentration and, thus, produce weaker physiological and therapeutic effect.

5. Hyaluronic acid (HA)

Hyaluronic acid is the main ingredient of the synovial fluid, which helps maintain its proper biomechanics. Hyaluronic acid is frequently added to supplements for problems with joints or to supplements aimed to keep the skin healthy. The most popular and the best source of hyaluronic acid is rooster combs and bacterial fermentation processes. However, some producers use powdered or hydrolysed cartilage, which is not a source of high-quality cartilage. Products like this should be avoided.

Hyaluronic acid is broadly used in medicine, to heal degenerative changes in joints (injections) and alleviate the symptoms of cartilage damage (oral administration). Both forms of supplementation have been proved effective.

How hyaluronic acid gets to the joints

How come a compound with such a high molecular weight is transported from the alimentary tract to the body’s connective tissues, all the more that it is effectively decomposed in the liver? The answer is that hyaluronic acid is transported through the lymphatic system and not by the blood. What is more, owing to its strong adhesive properties, the substance penetrates through the peritoneal mucosa to the blood (the same mechanism is used for its uptake from the alimentary tract). Nevertheless, high molecular weight and low fat solubility make the effectiveness of absorption of high molecular hyaluronic acid from the alimentary tract range from 5 to 20%. The effectiveness of hyaluronic acid absorption from the intestines can be increased (by more than 20%) by simultaneous administration of phospholipids, which naturally occur in cell membranes.

Dosage. The most effective molecular mass of hyaluronic acid used in joint ailment prevention equals c.a. 1 MDa.

6. Collagen

Next to glucosamine sulfate, collagen remains among the most popular and most frequently used supplements to treat ailments in the musculoskeletal system including, in particular, joint problems. Collagen is the main protein occurring in the connective tissue of mammals. It is used in dietary supplements as hydrolysate obtained through enzymatic digestion of animal-derived gelatine. A number of studies carried out have shown that collagen hydrolysates are absorbed by the body from the alimentary tract and transported with blood to the articular cartilage, where they stimulate the activity of chondrocytes (cells of the cartilage) and enhance the synthesis of new collagen molecules. All this makes the joints, and the entire musculoskeletal system, function better.