Compound Versus Isolation

The argument regarding compound and isolation exercises and which is more beneficial for an individual undertaking resistance training has been around for years – and doesn’t appear to be going anywhere in a hurry! This article aims to highlight the potential benefits of both so that you, the reader, can make an informed decision as to where your loyalty lies.

First of all, it’s important that you understand the fundamental differences between the two exercise types. So what is a compound exercise? Compound exercises are multi-joint movements that work numerous muscle groups simultaneously. An example of this type of exercise would include a squat, which targets the quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteals and calves to name but a few during its movement.

Conversely, isolation exercises are single joint movements that target only one muscle group at a time. In keeping with the above example, this type of exercise would include a leg extension, which targets only the quadriceps muscle region during its given movement phase.

Let us know consider the proposed benefits of each exercise type independently;

The Benefits Of Compound Exercises
  • Utilises more muscle groups so more can be achieved in a shorter space of time.
  • Exercises simulate real world exercise and activity.
  • Significant enhancements in coordination, reaction time and balance.
  • Provides the opportunity to lift more resistance and develop greater strength.
  • Enhanced calories burnt during any given exercise.

Examples of compound exercises include squats, deadlifts, lunges, shoulder press and pull ups.

The Benefits Of Isolation Exercises
  • Exercises can safely correct both muscular weakness and imbalances.
  • Highlights and targets specific muscle groups to ensure they are worked to the fullest.
  • Significant enhancements in muscular hypertrophy.

Examples of isolation exercises include bicep curls, lateral raises, leg extensions and calf raises.

FitnesBeans Opinion

Made your mind up yet as to whether you’re going with compound or isolation movements? Allow us here at FitnessBeans to impart our viewpoint and knowledge on the great debate.

Without sitting on the fence, the truth is, both exercise types are equally important and one without the other simply wouldn’t work. OK, so we may have sat on the fence a little with this debate, but most individuals will utilise a combination of both during each and every training session they perform, initially utilising compound exercises for the majority of the exercises before finishing off with a blast of isolation movements.

To fully stimulate your muscular system, you have to incorporate both compound and isolation exercises.