Don’t assume micro exercises aren’t stressful. They can be very locally stressful. Do a bunch of biceps curls when you aren’t prepared to do a bunch of biceps curls and you’ll end up with elbow tendonitis.
But this is local stress.
Do a bunch of deadlifts when you aren’t prepared to do a bunch of deadlifts and you’ll end up with a fried central nervous system to the point where, say, your reaction time might suffer the next day.
To settle some MACRO v. MICRO confusion—
1. Shoulder isolation exercises can be either the press or pull depending on which pattern it resembles more. For instance, an upright row is more of a pull. A Bradford press is more of a press. Yet both target the shoulders.
2. In general, the barbell version of any one exercise is going to be more organism intense because you can lift more weight. More weight supported by the body = more stress flowing through the body.
2a. This isn’t to say dumbbell exercises can’t be macro exercises or aren’t effective. They can be. This is a calculated decision you have to make based on equipment. But, in my system, it’s just easier to put most dumbbell work in the micro category.
2b. The two most notable exceptions: dumbbell pushes (like dumbbell bench presses) and dumbbell pulls (like dumbbell rows). These can be easily float macro.
2c. I’m a fan of minimalism. The less equipment used, the better (in my book). So I typically narrow macro exercises down to barbell exercises.
3. Bodyweight exercises split both categories based on skill. Can’t do two push-ups? Then the push-up is a macro exercise. But if you can do fifty consecutive push-ups? Then the push-up is a micro exercise.
4. Both the weighted chin-up/pull-up and the weighted parallel bar dip are more like barbell exercises than bodyweight exercises when you’re doing them with extra weight because they progress via the same mechanism: more weight, linear loading. And they’re easy to overload as long as you have a dip belt. So they always float macro.
4a. With other bodyweight movements, like the push-up, adding weight isn’t practical, so they tend to float micro once you get good at them.