Working Both Strategies To Build Your Body Stronger: Compound vs. Isolation

It seems we all want to know the best way to get healthy and strong fast. Here are two categories of exercises which spark some debate in the fitness world, when really there is nothing to argue about. These two types of exercises are the key for you getting healthier quicker.

Online PR News – 01-September-2011 – – There's a bit of an argument going on in the fitness world, and for those that haven't heard trainers constantly bickering about which type of exercise is best, well here's my final conclusion on the matter.

Everyone on fitness wants to know whether compound exercises (more than one muscle group being activated) or isolation exercises (only one primary muscle group is being activated), and mostly people are preaching compound, yet everyone practices isolation.

Here's the dealio, it's not a which is better, as most things in life, it's a balance. You want to get bigger, you'll understand these two categories of exercise that Pete Owen outlines below.

"The task of selecting the best muscle building exercises is simply summed up by many as ‘choose the exercises which allow you to lift the heaviest weights’. This may make sense, and it is true in part, but there’s a massive piece of the puzzle missing here which will be explained in this article to hopefully talk you out of taking an inferior path in your training. It’s important you understand the importance of the 2 main categories of exercise and how and when to exploit them – or you won’t get anywhere near as big and strong as you could.

Category 1: Compound exercises
Usually praised as the ‘best’ type of muscle building exercise, ‘compounds’ incorporate more than one muscle group into the lift. Therefore, a compound movement such as the bench press which heavily involves the triceps, deltoids and pectorals (and many more muscle groups) allows you to handle far more weight than would triceps extensions, deltoid raises or chest flys. This is because you are getting the benefits of the combined strength output of all these muscle groups.
Compound exercises work the body as a system which tends to make compound exercises more effective for overall strength and muscle gains. However, one has to remember that the load is effectively being shared between each of these muscle groups to varying degrees – a fact many people overlook entirely.
And therein is the big problem with compound exercises… you really don’t know how much of the current potential of each muscle group you’re truly using because you’re always limited by the weakest muscle group involved in the lift. Some muscle groups may be capable of far more weight but are in fact being held back due to a weak muscle group – a runt in the litter!
In fact, one simple slogan which you absolutely must subscribe to (because it’s absolutely true) is ‘you’re only as strong as your weakest link’.
With compound exercises, you have limited ways of targeting the weaker muscle groups holding your overall lift back, so you have to think beyond compound exercises and break your training up into more precisely targeted exercises, which brings us to…

Category 2: Isolation exercises
The antithesis of compound exercises is isolation (not to be confused with isometric!), which involve one primary muscle group to effect movement. Isolation exercises are best used to fill in the gaps the compound exercises can’t. You can use them to directly target weak muscle groups for strength purposes, to improve your compound lifts, or purely for aesthetic purposes. They really are invaluable and don’t let anybody kid you otherwise.
An ideal bodybuilding/strength program will make the very best use of both of these exercise categories. It is an absolute fact that the very strongest and biggest people in the world did not get where they are by either banging away strictly with compound or isolation exercises but by smartly using a mixture of both. I strongly suggest you do the same."

There, argument solved. Also, now you all know that you need to combine both of them, exercise styles are not in competition with one another. For those of you, the majority of you, that understood this and just wanted to learn more on how to build up their body, there you have it. As I've said before, balance.

Go out and make sure you are being as smart as you were once you decided to look up this information, and change your routine to suit this now! Compound to build your body in general, and isolation to make no link a weak one.

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