Compound VS isolation exercises

Hi guys, today I want to briefly talk about two common but very different exercise methods, and they are - Isolation exercises vs compound exercises. I will split this post into two sections - those methods for fat loss, and for muscle building. Isolation exercises are movements that isolate a particular muscle, whereas compound exercises are ones that involve a number of muscle groups.

Lets start with fat loss - which method is best?

Compound exercises are far better at burning fat than isolation exercises. Let's take an example - A bicep curl (isolation) vs a squat (compound). The bicep curl will be better at breaking down the bicep, ready for growth, but it's not going to burn a whole lot of calories. Whereas with the squat, you're using your calves, quads, hamstrings, back and core muscles. This exercise is using more muscles, which will require more energy (calories). Also, you can do many repetitions with body weight, or adding weight to make it tougher, which will burn even more calories. If you stick to isolation movements, you aren't going to shift unwanted fat, you're just going to tone that muscle a bit. So if fat loss is your goal, then you want to go for compound exercises. If you carry on performing low intensity isolation exercises to work on each part of your body, then you aren't going to see the results you want.

However, if your goal is to build muscle, I would actually say that both methods are good, but compound movements are better. You have the favourited exercises for building muscle, such as squat, deadlift, bench press and military press (just to name a few), they are all movements that require more than one muscle group. If you do those exercises correctly, you will hit the intended muscle, but if your form is bad, you could end up placing the stress on other muscles. There are a few isolation exercises that people wanting to build muscle use (and even those who are already 'stacked') - bicep curl, skull crushers, calf raises etc. So isolation exercises do have a place, but compound movements are still the best as you can move more weight and you're not placing all the stress on one muscle group and also the joints needed! Over the years I have seen many guys trying to lift way too much weight on exercises such as a bicep curl, and the strain going through not only the muscle, but the joints as well, it's just stupid.

I didn't want to make this too long, and I hope I have given some of you an insight into these two training methods!

Tune in tomorrow for 'Sunday Supplement'! 

Popular Posts