There are an uncountable amount of exercises & movements in the weightlifting world from bench press, to bicep curls, to deadlifts. All of these lifts are categorized into two departments; exercises can either be compound movements, or isolation movements. Both are great for development and size, but we can utilize them both in different ways in order to maximize gains. Let’s talk more in depth about these two, their differences, and how to use both to make the most out of your workout.

What are compounds lifts?

Compound exercises may sound confusing, but the definition is actually quite simple. A compound lift is an exercise that uses more than one joint and/or muscle in the body. For example, the bench press is a very popular compound lift and it’s a perfect example of one. The bench press utilizes the chest, the tricep, and the front deltoid muscles to complete the lift. It also involves using the elbow joint, shoulder joint, and the wrist joint. Compound lifts are crucial for an efficient workout, because it allows you to work multiple muscle groups at once – meaning you’ll get the most bang for your buck. Compounds are not always the best for your mind-to-muscle connection, but they are critical for progressive overload (adding more weight/reps/sets to exercises), strength gains and are an essential that you should always start your workout with. For increased strength and bulking when doing heavy compound movements, try out Dianabol.

What are isolation lifts?

On the other hand, at times it’s important to really focus on the muscle you’re working. For building muscle, an ideal concept is to focus on the contraction, squeeze, extension, and movement of a single muscle group in order to work the muscle fibres down to a crisp. Isolation exercises are ideal for perfection that contraction because they’re often performed with lighter weights at a slower tempo. Time under tension is another key methodology for muscle growth as it creates substantial amounts of muscle damage, leading to muscle growth after recovery. Optimal recovery is key for size gains, so to enhance your recovery, give Sustanon a shot. Good examples of isolation lifts, are bicep curls (which only use the bicep muscle or the elbow joint) and leg extensions (which targets the quadriceps and only uses the knee joint).

When do I use them in my workout?

You’ll always want to start your workout with a compound exercise because they’re the most demanding exercise and recruit the biggest variety of muscle fibres. Generally, you’ll want to prioritize these heavy, taxing compound movements at the beginning of your workout to really hit all muscles at once. Later on, you can move to the isolation movements and really focus on growing/targeting individual muscles groups in case they’re lacking or maybe they just didn’t get hit hard enough from the compounds. Structuring your workout this way is ideal for growth and progressive overload — because nobody wants to do 10 sets of heavy squats, after doing 6 isolation movements.

Some Popular Examples of Each

Some popular compounds are…

  • Bench press
  • Deadlift
  • Squat
  • Lunges
  • Any form of row
  • Overhead press

And some popular isolations are…

  • Bicep curls
  • Lateral raises
  • Tricep pressdowns
  • Leg extensions
  • Any form of calf raises
  • Hamstring curls

Your workout should consist of approximately 75% compound movements and 25% isolation movements. Certain isolations may be more fun, but our goal is muscle growth and if compound movements recruit more muscle groups/fibres, that means more volume to each muscle, which means growth.