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The Benefits of Compound Exercises

Updated on September 26, 2013
Example of a compound exercise
Example of a compound exercise

Compound Vs Isolation Exercises

Multiple Muscle Group or Compound Exercises: What are they?

When you first walk into a gym the first thing that you might notice is the sometimes overwhelming amount of machines. So many machines that work so many different parts of the body. It isn't an uncommon scenario to walk into a gym and see a machine that you have never seen before and have no idea what it does. There are many machines for different muscle groups but one thing holds true for most machines, they are designed for the most part as isolation exercises.

An isolation exercise is one that works one particular muscle or muscle group at a time. An example of this would be the leg extension machine. This machine is designed to focus on the quad muscles. You may well be sitting in a chair as you read this, extend your leg in front of you and see how many muscles in your body are at work. The answer is just your quads. The rest of your body is in a state of rest.

When trying to lose weight or get in shape, most often than not, the aim is to build muscle while losing fat. The best types of exercise to achieve these goals are multiple muscle group lifts, more commonly known as compound exercises. Compound exercises are movement that require multiple joints as well as multiple muscle groups to complete the exercise.

Examples of these exercises are:

  • Barbell Squats

  • Hang Cleans

  • Push Press

  • Kettle Bell Swings

  • Squat Jumps

  • Burpees

  • Deadlifts

  • Pull Ups

  • Dips

These are just to name a few of the hundreds of different compound exercises and variations of compound exercises that are out there. These exercises are highly effective because of the way that they require multiple parts of your body to exert large amounts of energy at any one time. Most compound exercises are also highly adaptable and can be performed with or the without the use of weights or resistance. The fact that these exercises can be used with or without weights or resistance makes them perfect for beginners or for people that are trying to increase their level of strength.

Isolation exercises are great for people who want to target specific aspects of their body that they want to improve. For example, for bigger biceps one might focus of bicep curls. However, in order to lose fat, the area with the fat needs to be mobilized and working at a high rate of intensity. The number one problem area for most people when it comes to fat is the midsection. The midsection or core of the body does not lose fat in the same way as the rest of the body, often times you need to do more than monotonous ab exercises in order to lose fat around the stomach. This is best achieved with the performance of compound exercises.

So the next time you walk into a gym, think about what your goals are and what kinds of exercises would best serve those fitness goals.


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    • profile image

      Adam 18 months ago

      Good post.please keep up the good work.

    • Linda Robinson60 profile image

      Linda Robinson 20 months ago from Cicero, New York

      Good morning Clay This is an excellent informative hub Clay, I really enjoyed it. You have included a lot of essential information for anyone and everyone interesting in exercising and the right ones. Nice meeting you. Looking forward to reading many more of your super hubs, awesome. Glad to be following you. Linda