Compound and Isolation Exercises: The Right Workout for You


If you want to build your muscles, there are two types of general exercises you can work – compound and isolation exercises. Both workout routines have their own components that bodybuilders can maximise based on their personal goals. So, choosing which to perform is an integral factor, as this will affect your overall training results.

To help determine which is the best option for you, here’s what you need to know about these two exercises:

What is a Compound Exercise?

A compound exercise is characterised by engaging two or more muscles and joints to generate movement – it’s ideal for building maximum strength and it’s essential to every initial workout. Some examples of compound exercises are squats, bench presses and deadlifts.

To illustrate the effect of a compound exercise, different muscles work together when you perform a squat – including your hamstrings, hip and knee joints, glutes, and quadriceps.

The Benefits of a Compound Exercise

More than amplifying muscles during a single set, a compound exercise also has other remarkable benefits.

Develops Muscles Better

As a compound exercise requires more weights to be performed properly, it creates a greater opportunity for muscle stimulation, strain, and eventual growth.

Pumps up Cardio

This type of exercise is also beneficial to your cardiovascular system and it can release hormones for continuous progress, as it’s hard-hitting.

Saves Time

With a system that targets many muscles at once, a compound exercise is time efficient, so it will grant you more time to perform other workout routines.

What is an Isolation Exercise?

Compared to compound exercises, isolation exercises are only meant to target a single muscle group, and this requires lighter weights and less complicated movements. These exercises are ideal if you want to focus on developing a certain muscle group or if you want control over your gains.

Isolation exercises give you the sensation of your muscles working. However, they can also be tricky, as they might turn into a compound exercise if performed ineptly. Some examples of isolation exercises are curls, raises, and inclines.

The Benefits of an Isolation Exercise

If you choose to perform an isolation exercise, you’ll also receive great benefits as this exercise:

Develops Imbalanced Muscles  

An isolation exercise can improve a muscle with an imbalanced size. Through time, an imbalanced muscle can work together with other muscles to produce great gains.

Chisels Body Physique

An isolation exercise can sculpt the body to a perfect shape. It can also give dimensions and verve to the muscles, as compared with compound exercises which will only give you bulks.

Gives Better Workout Options

Isolation exercises can also give more leeway to add and omit routines throughout your exercise regime. For example, you can increase the volume of reps on a certain muscle group without affecting the others. It’s also an exercise that will greatly benefit injured or older trainees.

Which is Right for You?

Remember that choosing the best exercise for you will depend on your end goal; however, there will always be an instance where both exercises will be done at the same time, but with the volume of one being higher than the other.

Maximise a compound exercise if you want bigger muscle mass, strength, and size. If you want a more sculpted form, then go for isolation exercises.

Compound exercises are recommended from time to time, as these will enable you to build on your athletic endurance, improve your whole-body strength, and develop muscles more easily.

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