When you’re building a workout program, you’re going to run into the issue of deciding which exercises are best for your personal fitness goals. Are you going to use squats over leg extensions? How about flys over the chest press? In general, your exercises are going to fall into the Compound category or the Isolation category. Let’s take a look at the top 3 times that you should be choosing compound exercises over isolation exercises.
Compound vs. Isolation
First, it’s important to distinguish what these terms mean. Compound exercises are those movements that incorporate the greatest number of muscle groups working together. Here is a list of the most popular compound exercises:
On the flip side, isolation exercises are those movements that focus on one muscle group. These are most common in split workout routines. The most popular examples are:
While both of these types of exercises have their benefits, there are 3 times that you should always focus on compound movements.
Maybe you’re an experienced lifter but you’ve been out of the gym for a few months. Life happened and the next thing you know, your protein supplements have collected dust.
When you have been out of the game and you’re preparing to start owning the gym like you used to, it’s important to start with compound movements. The idea is to fire up those old muscle connections in order to maximize strength or size. Your muscle memory will be quick to kick in, helping you to regain your size and strength that you once had. Stick to compound movements for a month or two then you can jump back into split routines.
Maybe you get word that you’ll be forced to work mandatory overtime at work, effectively chipping into your gym schedule. When time is of the essence and you don’t have as many days to dedicate to the weight room, compound movements are going to be your hero.
Since they work the greatest number of muscle groups, using compound movements in a full body workout is going to give you the challenge you need WHILE saving time.
Continuing with this idea from point number 3, if you’ve never lifted a day in your life, you MUST start with compound exercises. Your muscle groups have yet to build those necessary connections that will promote functional strength gains. You need to walk before you can run, right? This is where compound movements are king. Beginners should start with 2 to 3 full body program workouts per week. Focus on the big three exercises: squats, chest presses, and deadlifts.
Once you establish those neuromuscular connections, then you can start experimenting with the split routines.
Tell Us What You Think!
When do you like to use compound exercises?
Have you noticed better results from full body workouts or split workouts?
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