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🌱 Compound vs Isolation movements

Milton Holdiem
Milton Holdiem
2 min read
🌱 Compound vs Isolation movements

Do you train with compound & isolation movements? Today I break down what they are, the differences between the two, and the benefits they add to your training. 🌱

Compound movements:

These are multi-joint exercises that work more than 1 muscle group at a time. Think squats, deadlifts, and presses. Your body works as a whole to complete the lift.

Compound movements are usually about efficiency & technique. In a deadlift for example, it's about keeping the weight close to your body. You can generally lift heavier for these movements and work more muscles at the same time

Isolation movements:

These are single-joint movements that target a specific muscle. These are generally "strict" movements where you don't allow any other part of your body to assist in the lift.
Think bicep curls and lateral raises.

Isolation movements about precision and making the lift less efficient for the target muscle. In a bicep curl, your elbow is pinned to your torso and the weight creates a large arc around your elbow. This isn't very efficient in bringing the weight up, and that's the goal. It's about make it tough for the target muscle so it can get stronger or grow.

Which is better?

Comparing compound movements and isolation movements is like comparing a big paint roller to a paintbrush. They're both great at what they do. It's the same with compound vs isolation. Neither are necessarily better than the other.

With that said, you'll get more bang for your buck by doing compound movements. Sustainable strength means maximizing time at the gym while making sure your body gets the right training stimulus.

Imagine hitting every muscle group in your body 3 times a week, but you can only target one specific muscle at a time. It would take forever to hit all your muscle groups in a workout, and then you'd have to go to the gym multiple times to get the proper weekly dosage for each muscle group.

At the same time, targeting weaker muscle groups can correct muscle imbalances to get you out of pain. Compound movements make it difficult to target a specific muscle group. The smaller muscles usually get tired first. That's what isolation exercises are for.  Getting a pump is fun too 💪🏾

At the end of the day, I highly recommend a mixture of both compound + isolation movements. Do some compound movements work muscle groups together, then finish with isolation exercises that target specific muscles.

Milton Holdiem Twitter

I'm a fitness coach, but always learning. Cold brew drinker. Curator of corny dad jokes. Constantly looking towards the brighter side of things. ☀️