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Compound Versus Isolation Exercises - A Battle As Old As Time

Whether you're a beginner or intermediate muscle-builder, there's one thing you'll be debating over and over with your pals at the gym. And that's the use of compound versus isolation exercises.

Here are some important tips you might want to consider the next time you think about these extremes.

1. You Need Both

Ask any Mr. Olympia competitor.

While compound exercises are excellent when it comes to activating multiple muscles at the same time, isolation exercises are perfect for zoning in on a very specific muscle group.

It makes perfect sense then, to use compound exercises at the beginning of your workout as a warm-up of sorts and use isolation towards the end of your session to fully stimulate that muscle group.

Muscle-builders who go the route of pure compound movements and never isolate might miss out on the benefits of 'focused movement' that bring about great definition. While those who do mostly isolation might lack the bulk and girth that mass-building compound movements bring.

Always use a steady mix of both during your workouts to bring about maximum muscle-building effects. One is never a replacement for the other. In the pursuit of gaining muscle, a healthy variety is always welcome.

2. Whatever Increases Your Overall Strength

Strength is king, in my opinion. And while there may be people who love big muscles over gargantuan powers, having the latter will always lead to the former.

Here is where the challenge comes. Normally, people gain strength by doing a lot of compound movements. If you're one of them, then by all means, put in a lot of compound exercises in your program.

But there are also people who actually gain strength from doing mostly isolation exercises. And who are you to argue if you find yourself in this lot?

Most people nowadays focus on getting the 'pump', that bulging feeling that bloats not only the muscle but also the ego. That 'pump' usually can be felt after a high number of reps. And because people pursue this, they often neglect lifting heavy weights for the sake of bloating their muscles.

The result? Superficial looks without Superman's strength.

3. Focus On Muscle Stimulation, Nothing Else

If you're truly serious about gaining muscle weight fast, then you shouldn't even be thinking in terms of 'compound' or 'isolation' exercises. Who cares, really? The most important thing is to stimulate your muscles intensely - each and every time you work out.

There are days when your body needs the crudely simple motions of basics, such as bench presses, squats, or deadlifts, to stimulate your muscles to grow. And there are days when you feel like making some muscle groups scream in lactic acid with gruesome isolation work.

A lot of times, overthinking your workouts can be detrimental to your progress. Learn to listen to your instincts at the right moments. You don't have to feel sore every time you leave the gym. But if you feel no tightness at all, the one that comes from a good session, then do some more sets.

Adapt. Rinse. Repeat.


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