Compound Vs Isolation Exercises

Aditya Mahajan
Aditya Mahajan

 | 1 minute to read
Exercise Science
In weight training, every exercise can be categorized into and isolation movement. Compound movements are those which involves multiple joint actions, e.g squat which involves moving the ankle, hip and knee joint. Some of the other examples are bench press, pull-ups, deadlift, bent-over row etc.

Isolation exercises are those which involve only single-joint action, e.g. Bicep curls only involves the movement at the elbow joint. This also includes exercises like pectoral fly, leg extension etc. It is a well-accepted fact that the compound movements build muscles and results in greater strength gains since you can lift more weight in these exercises. There are several other benefits of compound movements as well (such as they mimic the natural movement of the joints, resistance curve closer to strength curve etc) but let’s not get into that as of now. That being said, isolation movements still hold its importance in resistance training and in fact, can even be more beneficial than compound under certain circumstances. Isolation exercises are ideal for weak part training. For example, biceps are a weak part of many people. Though biceps are pretty much exhausted during the compound movements for the back (Bent over row, pull-ups, seated rows etc), still only-compound workout may not promote optimal growth for biceps in every individual. Thus, adding isolations are a must. Similarly, certain injuries can make compound movements difficult to perform. That doesn’t mean you can’t gain muscles. Isolations are again your best friend at that moment.
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