We hear a lot about it in the training facilities and from trainers all over, isolation exercises and compound exercises. But what does this really mean? Which type of exercise is what and why is one more beneficial than the other. Come to think about it, the only thing we really want to know is: Which type of training will give me the most benefits in the least amount of training time? Well that is just what this article is all about.

There is basically two types of training methods out there, and of course a thousand ways to put them together for some kick ass workouts! The good old body building fraternity out there mainly believes in training at the most, two muscle groups per day and by muscle groups we mean every single muscle that they can think about and that you can train. A very popular start to the week is barbell bench press, lots and lots of presses, from incline to flat to decline all focussing on one muscle, the good old chest. The next day might be biceps and triceps, followed by some calf training (and mind you, calf training will feature at least three times during the week! These guys really like training calves) and so the meticulously work through every muscle group. What about it, you ask? Although bench press and squats are a good move to have in your training arsenal, and we do commend every body builder for doing them, the rest of the work is just a bit useless. Useless in the sense of making the muscles look pretty but there is no functional strength in them. This is where the difference between isolation and compound training comes in.

What is it?

Isolation training:

You want bang for your buck right? Then don't opt for isolation exercises. This type of training or exercises only focus on one muscle group, very little amount of muscle fibres and one joint at a time and it is usually performed on the pretty, shiny machines in the gym. These exercises includes bicep curls and leg extensions. These exercises aren't always evil, they are and should be primarily used for rehabilitation movements when you suffer from muscle imbalances or weakness.

Compound training:

If you want to get the best out of every workout you do, doesn't matter if you are an athlete or the normal 3 times a week gym goer, compound training is the way to go. Why? They use more muscles, more muscle fibres and more than one joint is working while doing the exercise.

The benefits are endless when doing compound exercises:

  • Less times spent training

  • You will burn more calories while training

  • Your whole body is working during the training session

  • It will make you strong and less susceptible to injuries while playing your favourite sport

  • You will get all the benefits of a cardio training session without spending the long boring time on the treadmill

  • It will increase balance and coordination

  • You will get stronger, faster

What type of exercises should you do then?

  • Skipping

  • Kettlebell swings

  • Squats

  • Lunges

  • Dumbbell or barbell press

  • Shoulder press

  • Push ups

  • Pull ups

  • Dips

  • Deadlifts

  • Box jumps

  • Pistols

If you just look at this list you are already tired! That is the point, you want to train 30 minutes every day? Then start incorporating these moves into your daily routines. If you are a sceptic, and a lot of people are. Then slowly but surely start including one or two compound move in every workout and start facing the isolation monster out of your workout. You will really be amazed at the results!