When you’re planning your workout, you always have to decide whether to do compound exercises or isolation exercises. But how different are the two? Is one better than the other? Know the answers here.

Compound Exercises

Compound exercises are those that work more than one muscle group and one joint simultaneously. This means that you can work on several muscle groups at once by exerting the same amount of effort.

Usually, these movements are seen in full-body exercises like tabata training or sports. Especially in sports, your body is often fully engaged.

Why Do Compound Exercises?

There are many benefits to doing compound exercises. For one thing, it is efficient. You save half the time of your workout because compound exercises can target a number of muscle groups that you plan to work out.

Another benefit is that the strength improves equally among the muscle groups engaged. You don’t have to worry about leaving out one part of your body in workouts because each will be given enough attention and boost of energy while you exercise.

Lastly, compound exercises help you build strength to do more intense workouts. Because you exercise a number of muscles early on, you can already give them the spike of energy they need if you plan on lifting weights or do more circuit training.

Isolation Exercises

Opposite compound exercises are isolation exercises. Isolation exercises do exactly as their name suggests – they isolate. They focus on a specific muscle group and a specific joint to work out during the exercises. Isolation exercises are often done by those who want to strengthen a specific area without affecting the other muscle groups.

Why Do Isolation Exercises?

Although somehow inefficient if you plan on working out the rest of your body anyway, isolation exercises are ideal for those who came from injuries. For example, you are just recovering from a leg injury.

Then, you would want to exercise your legs so that they can slowly go back to their normal strength.

It is also ideal to do isolation exercises if there is one muscle group that you have neglected for a while that you now plan to improve. Let’s say you haven’t been working on your core for a while, then you might want to structure your workouts with more core exercises.

Which One is Better?

Overall, it would seem that compound exercises are better and more effective. However, both exercises have their own merits. Both are effective especially if you do them with the proper form and consistency.

The more important question to ask is why you want to exercise. If your reason is to lose weight and to be more toned all around, then compound exercises would be best.

But if you only plan to exercise one area of your body and make it more toned, then isolation exercises should be your focus.

It is also highly recommended to have a mix of both compound and isolation exercises in your workout. This ensures that you give attention to parts you want to work out while not leaving the rest of your muscle groups to rest.

Emma Pyke
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