Compound vs. Simple/ Isolation Exercises!

Posted on April 17th, 2011 at 4:03 am by


There are two types of exercises: simple/ isolation exercises and compound exercises.  Simple exercises target a specific muscle, for example, the concentration curl targets the biceps.  On the other hand, compound exercises target many muscle groups, case in point the squat, which not only targets the legs but also the shoulders, lower and upper back, abdominals and arms.


The squat is one of the most effective muscle building exercises.

The squat is one of the most effective muscle building exercises in which more than 80% of the muscles of the body are involved. The squat is a must do exercise if you want to build muscle.


The deadlift is another popular compound exercise in which more than 80% of the muscles of the body is employed when executed.  Proper form is crucial to avoid running the risk of injuring your back.

If you want to build muscle it is usually recommended to concentrate on as many compound exercises as possible, because it triggers the release of a lot of growth hormones.


Some see isolation exercises as inferior in building muscle, but there are many benefits to these exercises, the primary being the 100% stimulation of the employed muscle.  For example, when you perform the concentration curl your biceps are trained to complete failure.

Concentration curl

In contrast,  since so many muscle groups are involved when performing compound exercises,  not all the muscles will get the full benefit of the exercise.

After all is said and done, it is of no use arguing the superiority of either compound or simple exercises.  Incorporate both for an effective muscle building programme.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Linkedin Digg Delicious Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Posterous Email