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Compound And Isolation Exercises, You Need To Know This!

You have probably already heard the terms: compound exercises and isolation exercises. Each fitness exercise can be divided into one of these two categories. 

When an exercise involves only one muscle or muscle group, we speak of an isolation exercise. When two or more muscle groups are involved in an exercise, we are talking about a compound exercise.

Compound exercises

Compound exercises are very important and have a place in every training schedule. This type of exercise has a lot of advantages that you would miss if you only kept it to isolation exercises.

Compound exercises are essential in increasing strength. In addition, they are often exercises in which stabilizers are put to work. You hardly need these stabilizers in isolation exercises and would be neglected if you do not implement compound exercises in your training schedule.

Doing compound exercises also ensures that you activate and stimulate several muscles at the same time. This way you train muscles a lot faster and more effectively. This is especially important if you can only spend a limited amount of time in the gym on a daily or weekly basis. 

For example, with an exercise like the bench press, you can achieve a lot of training volume in a short period of time. With this, you directly train the chest muscles, shoulders, and triceps in a relatively short time.

Compound And Isolation Exercises


  • Effective for increasing strength
  • Heavy training has a positive effect on the production of testosterone
  • Trains smaller stabilizers that are not activated or are activated to a lesser extent during isolation exercises
  • Increases fat burning during the rest of the day
  • Stimulates multiple muscles and muscle groups in a short time
  • Increase in muscle mass
  • Improves stability in muscles and joints
  • Improves balance

Isolation Exercises

Isolation exercises are exercises in which you try to isolate the muscle as much as possible. When doing an isolation exercise, you usually use one muscle and one joint. A good example of an isolation exercise is the concentration curl. 

The aim of the exercise is to stimulate purely and solely the bicep while activating other muscles and muscle groups as little as possible.

This type of exercise is very effective when it comes to hypertrophy training. Especially if you want to train a specific muscle or muscle group that is lagging behind, isolation exercises are your best choice. It can also be very useful when you train with an injury. 

For example, doing an exercise like the close grip bench press is not very wise when you suffer from a shoulder injury. If you still want to keep training the triceps, then an exercise such as the cable tricep pushdown is a much safer choice.


  • Reducing muscle imbalances
  • Increasing muscle mass
  • Targeted training a specific muscle (group)
  • Low injury risk
  • Pay extra attention to lagging muscles
  • Suitable for creating a strong 'mind-muscle connection

#When do you use them?

Compound and isolation exercises each have their own advantages. We therefore definitely recommend using both types of exercises, because they both have their own benefits. Now we can imagine that you ask yourself when you can best use each type of exercise and how often.

When you train to achieve an increase in strength and muscle mass, you cannot avoid doing compound exercises. Many compound exercises can have a very exhausting effect on your body. This is because the body is loaded with relatively large amounts of weight, for example with a barbell squat. It is therefore wise to schedule compound exercises at the beginning of your workout when your body and muscles are rested.

Isolation exercises, on the other hand, are very suitable to do at the end of your training. They usually cost less energy and can be performed perfectly and safely when your body and muscles are in a tired state. They are ideal for getting the last bit out of your body and pushing your muscles to their limits in a safe way.  Look: best tricep exercises bodybuilding

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