Compound Versus Isolation Exercises

June 10, 2024 2 min read

Some athletes are crazy for compound exercises, others love their isolation exercises. But what are they? And why would you pick one over the other? Well, we love working out, so we got you.

Compound Exercise

A compound exercise is a movement that uses more than one joint and works more than one muscle group at a time. Things like squats, pullups, and dips are considered compound exercises. These types of exercises are usually done with more weight, and potentially less reps. More weight is achievable because multiple muscle groups help to move the weight.

Isolation Exercise

An isolation exercise is a movement that only uses one joint and works only one muscle group at a time. Exercises like the leg extension, calf raise, and bicep curl would be considered isolation exercises. These types of exercises are usually done with less weight, and potentially more reps. Less weight is usually used because one specific muscle or muscle group is being activated and focused on.

Why You Should Pick...

Both exercise types improve your fitness level and can increase your strength, but each has its benefits.

Compound exercises are great for burning more calories (because more muscles are engaged), increasing functional strength, and maximizing your time in the gym. These types of exercises are great for confident athletes who have a good grasp on form and mind-muscle connection. These movements are great for full-body fitness and muscle growth.

Isolation exercises help to build a stronger mind-muscle connection. By focusing on one muscle or muscle group, you strengthen it while still being able to focus on the proper form, learning how to engage specific muscles, and correct any flaws you might have in your movement. Athletes might identify a goal that an isolation movement would help them to achieve faster than a compound exercise, also!

Which Are You Doing Next?

So now you know the basics! Which exercises are you going to try next?