If you’re looking to increase your muscle mass and build strength, it’s absolutely vital for your workout routine to include compound exercises.
In terms of exercising muscle groups, there are two types of exercises you can perform – compound and isolation. Compound exercises involve working out more than one muscle group at a time. Usually one muscle group is responsible for the brunt of the work, although other muscles support the movement and are also worked out as a result. Isolation exercises as you can imagine, involve only one muscle group being worked out – such as the bicep in a bicep curl, tricep in a tricep extension or quads in a leg extension etc.
Compound movements are perfect for building strength and mass, as they allow more weight to be used. This leads to quicker progression in the gym compared to those who tend to focus more on isolation exercises. Because less strain is placed on any single joint, there is also less risk of injury. Other advantages as a result of compound exercises include a higher heart rate and more calories burnt during exercises, less muscle fatigue, better joint stability, improved balance and coordination, and faster reaction times. There are also studies that suggest compound exercises boost testosterone.
Compound movements tend to simulate real world movements so they are highly beneficial regardless of your end goals. However, that’s not to say isolation exercises should be ignored. Isolation exercises are ideal for areas where further muscle development is desired. You will use your triceps in a chest press, but may still want to perform isolated tricep exercises to hit the muscle from different angles and stimulate more growth. The same can be said for all other muscle groups. Successful bodybuilders never rely on any one method or workout routine.
Whether you’re someone who aspires to compete as a professional bodybuilder, or would like to become a better athlete, it’s in your best interest to learn more about compound exercises. However, always remember that it takes a multi-pronged approach to see results in the gym regardless of if you do splits or full body workouts.