The type of exercises you choose when planning a work out plays an important role in helping you towards achieving your fitness goals. Even though isolation exercises are an effective way of fine tuning a specific area (eg, triceps), compound exercises are much more useful for overall toning, strengthening and for burning those calories.
I try to use a combination of both types of exercises in my training, as you will notice when doing my F.I.T programs, however if you had to choose between the two then compound exercises will definitely give you more bang for your buck and here’s why:
Isolated exercises are single joint movements that only target one muscle group at a time, which means that with each movement you are stimulating much less muscle fibers than you would be with a similar compound exercise. The plus side to this is that you can work on enhancing a particular muscle group without the risk of overtraining other areas that may need to be rested.
Examples of isolation exercises include:
- Leg extensions
- Seated leg raises
- Leg curls
- Overhead tricep extensions
- Bicep curls
Compound exercises target a whole bunch of muscles in the one movement, which essentially means you can spend less time working out to gain the results that you are after. They are also more closely related to normal everyday movements and focus on utilizing multiple joints at a time. These types of exercises also cause a greater release of anabolic hormones in the body, including human growth hormone (HGH). Which will help you in building that strength and definition you are after.
Examples of compound exercises include:
- Lunges (curtsy/reverse/side)