If you’ve ever taken a fitness class or done some research into strength training, you may be familiar with the distinction between compound and isolation exercises. And if you’ve heard of this distinction, you’ve likely come across competing points of view as to which type of exercise is superior. Should you only practice a handful of compound movements that maximize the number of muscle groups used in a single rep, or should you devote time to building each muscle group individually? As with most fitness topics, the answer is a bit more complicated and depends on your individual fitness level and goals.
Compound Exercises fall into two groups. Compound Exercises enable you to do more in your exercise routine in less time. You can do single moves using multiple muscle groups. These single exercises include lunges, deadlifts, and squats. You can also combine together two different moves creating one exercise such as shoulder presses or a bicep curl. For example, when you do a squat, you give your glutes, calves, and quadriceps exercise at the same time.
If you combine two exercises into one move you are able to combine more muscle groups at the same time.
Isolation Exercise focus on one area of the body, with weights and reps until you think your muscle group is at the brink of exhaustion. Most exercise machines are set up to work on a specific muscle group at a time. You must make sure that you are targeting the muscle group you intend to target. A trainer can help you become accustomed to adjusting the machine-specific to you. You may prefer to go from machine to machine in a cycle of routines.
Examples of Isolation Exercises include:
- Dumbbell Side Raises
- Chest Fly
- Wrist Curls
- Flat Bench Presses
- Calf Raises
- Back Extension
- Hamstring Curls
- Bicep Curls
Isolation Exercises—Use Caution
It is easy to form an imbalance in muscle groups, meaning that as you develop one muscle group the opposite muscle cannot match up to strength. An example of this is, it is easy to do bicep curls, but if you do not exercise the triceps, these muscle groups can become out of balance. You must be sure to use perfect form and set your machine to the setting benefiting you. It is common and easy to cause a muscle injury resulting in pain you do not want.
You are a unique individual and you have a unique set of exercise and fitness needs. Your exercise and lifestyle changes are like no one else and are just as unique as your body and physical needs and makeup.
Gyms greatly benefit their clients when they offer a productive, diverse, and affordable exercise plan geared to forever lifestyle changes. For example, never say “Diet” because no one can stay on a diet for life; it is an impossible expectation. Lifestyle changes in eating patterns focus on the types of whole foods to feed your body, prepared in a way that does not damage all the nutrients of that food. You learn the proper balance of nutrition for the rest of your life. You will see a difference in the way you look and feel.
Where the correct training is offered, you have the option to participate one-on-one or in small group training. Everyone is different, but end up encouraging each other to reach individual and personal goals of a lifetime.