Compound exercises have many benefits

Do you know the difference between an isolation exercise and a compound movement? Most of us go into the gym knowing that we need to work each body part, but don’t spend too much time thinking about the lifting process. 

There is a purpose to each move, the order, the timing, and the rest periods in between.  Do you need to know it all to benefit from strength training? No! But, to maximize your results from the time you spend in the gym, it’s best to study up or hire a trainer that can design a program that will get you working smarter, not necessarily harder.

Many of today’s fitness programs focus on functional fitness, which refers to exercises that simulate daily movement patterns in life.  At the heart of these movement patterns are a variety of compound exercises.  Compound exercises are multi-joint movements that work several muscle groups at one time, such as the squat. In this move, muscle in the lower body and the core are engaged. 

For people wanting to increase overall strength and get the most out of their training program, compound exercises are typically recommended.  Compound exercises such as squats, lunges, deadlifts, chest press, shoulder press, pull-ups, kettlebell swings, have numerous advantages:

• You burn more calories throughout your workout, because more muscles are working.


• They simulate real-world movements and activities.

• They allow you to get a full-body workout in less time.

• They improve coordination, reaction time, and balance.

• There is a decreased risk of injury from sports.

• You maintain a higher heart rate throughout your workout, providing you with cardiovascular benefits.

• They allow you to lift heavier loads and build more strength.

Many people avoid these types of moves because they are HARD work! Listen to me, if you want more out of your workouts, use more compound moves!  If you don’t know proper form, ask a professional for help. 

Isolation movements involve one joint or one muscle group, such as the bicep curl or leg extension.  Doing isolation exercises can help target specific areas, which is great for body builders or people recovering from an injury or muscular imbalance. Isolating specific muscles is sometimes necessary to get it to activate and increase its strength, especially after an injury.  Failing to retrain injured muscles can lead to biomechanical imbalances that are difficult to correct. Even if weaknesses are not noticeable, other muscles may be compensating, and decreasing overall strength.


Examples of isolation exercises include bicep curls, triceps extensions, leg extensions, hamstring curls, etc., and are a great way to compliment your training program, but not the best if this is your lifting program.  I see so many women making this mistake, thinking they are building great bone density, and getting toned arms, by adding a couple of arm exercises in each week.  A better-rounded program is needed for better results.

In conclusion, compound exercises will give you an efficient, functional workout in less time, stimulating more muscle fibers and releasing hormones that aid in fat loss and muscle growth, as well as reducing the risk of overtraining, which can cause your body to see less progress. 

Don’t underestimate the power that lies within those basic moves.

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