Key Differences between Compound and Isolation Exercises


Compound and Isolation Exercises



Compound exercise vs Isolation exercise

Compound and Isolation exercises is a common confusion, nowadays in everybody’s mind, both of them have their importance, in different areas, so we should know the difference between the two so that we can able to reach our respective goals.

In this blog post, I have explained about the various factors on which both the exercises differ from each other.

Power lifting includes compound exercises only, which helps us to improve our Strength & Power.

Bodybuilding Exercises include isolation exercises, which helps us to improve the over all shape of muscles & pump it, to look more Bigger & Fuller.

Both of the sports completely differ, from each other & they have completely different goals.



Compound exercise vs Isolation exercise , compound exercises for mass , compound exercises for weight loss

There are the type of exercises, in which more than one body part came into the scene, example: Bench Press, Dead lift, Back & Front Squats etc.

This is the best exercise for increasing Power and Strength, also with a huge amount of muscle mass.

It’s basic exercises of Old School Bodybuilding.

Everyone who is looking to be fit and muscular, but most importantly looking for building a Core strength, should go for compound movement exercises.

This exercise will create a strong foundation of your body, as because they need a huge amount of focus, that is mind muscle connection which will make you mentally stronger, to lift heavy weights from the beginning of your fitness journey.

You need to workout only 3 times a week, that is  MWF ( Monday, Wednesday, Friday ) or TTS ( Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday ) depends on your schedule, because these movements demand rest, so that after your last workout, you should never feel tired or cramped.



  • Creates overall Strength



compound exercises list , compound muscle exercises

It helps us to create a core strength of our muscles, because it focuses on muscle group in the shortest amount of time, resulting in doing more amount of work.


  • Add Muscle mass


muscle mass


Compound Movements also helps to add overall muscle mass, on to the muscles because, as you will lift heavy weights the muscle will force to grow.

The only difference is this that, the muscle mass will grow from all sides of the body, which will eventually, not create that symmetry but, the guy will surely look Bigger & Stronger after performing compound exercises for a period of time.


  • Build a Strong base


strong foundation

It will create a strong foundation, for the overall strength & power of the body.

Remember that if a person has a strong base then only he will surely be able to take the full advantage of isolation exercises in future.


  • Increase Explosion


explosion , all compound exercises , best compound exercises


The explosion is increased very much during compound movements because the time under tension is very low due to the high intensity of weights.

The weight is very much closer to the repetition maximum of our ability, which forces us to put all our energy into that movement, in that particular second.


  • Improves CNS ( Central Nervous System )



CNS  is greatly improved during the compound movements, because the high-intensity movements create so much, pressure on to the CNS that, the focusing power of the mind, is increased very much.



  • Takes too much time 




Compound movements take too much time, because of the duration of rest between the sets increases, due to the high intensity of weight.

The time between sets will help us to, recover our central nervous system, so that we can be able to create that same amount of explosion, as in our last set.

Average time should go between 45 min to 1 hour, but some times due to many exercises, it may increase.


  • Don’t Do Over Training 




This is a very common problem, found in compound movements, because if the form of the movement deviates a little bit or the distraction in the mind.

Eventually, the amount of weight on to your body can cause severe damage, on to the muscles.


  • Always Have A Spotter Around You 




There should always be a spotter around you, if you are lifting very high intensity of weight, then it’s always very smart to have a spotter around you.

So that if you mess any thing around, there should be always a person to save you, from the accident.

  • Recovery Issues 


recovery problem


There might be a problem, after few days of workout that your body can’t be able to recover properly, due to the very high-intensity level of workouts.

In this case, the best practice is to, work out only 3 days or 2 or 1 day a week, depending on your time schedule.

This will help your body to recover much faster & you will blast the gym, in each & every workout.


  • Minor injuries can cause issues



If you are having any problem in your back, shoulders, biceps, legs or anywhere else, inside your body then it is always smart to skip the workout.

You should take rest on that day & focus on stretching your muscles, which can help you to heal faster.

The bottom line is that if you will ignore the injury, then it will affect your compound movements.

In isolation movements,  you can focus on any other body part, if your single muscle has some issues, but you will not be able to hide that muscle in compound movements.

That’s why it is said, those compound movements, include each & every body part of your body, during that exercise.



Compound exercise vs Isolation exercise


This is a typical exercise which is specially made for bodybuilders. to provide a symmetry to each and every body part, like biceps, triceps, back, shoulder, calves, quads, hamstrings, glutes etc.

It provides a symmetry to each and every body part, like biceps, triceps, back, shoulder, calves, quads, hamstrings, glutes etc.

Most common isolation exercises are Single arm row dumbbell press, calf raise, lateral raise & much more.



  • Create Symmetry

symmetry in bodybuilding



It helps the body to look in shape & in proper form, especially for the bodybuilders, whose bread & butter is just to do poses on stage & to look good.


  • Pump the Muscles


muscle pumping

It helps in the pumping of the muscles which helps the muscles to get tight enough, it speeds up the flow of blood to the muscles.


  • Force Muscle to Grow


muscle growth

In isolation exercises, we focus on time under tension, which helps the muscles to grow faster because it creates more micro tears inside the muscles.


  • Cause Protein Synthesis



The speed of protein synthesis in our muscles is increased, due to the isolation movements.

Remember one thing, we target on each & every muscle group individually, so it gives each muscle group a specific time to recover.

We break down our muscles, due to time under tension & pressure on it, which makes our muscles to speed up the protein synthesis from the protein sources more quickly as possible, due to small micro tears inside it, which forces our muscles to grow.



  • Slows Down The Metabolism 


slows down metabolism


Isolation exercises slow down the metabolism speed of our body because we focus only on a single muscle group at a time, which just helps that muscle to get into shape not help us to gain any lean muscle mass.

It includes less load & easier work, so our metabolism doesn’t speed up so fast as compared to compound movements, which focus on each & every part of the body at a time. 


  • Not Good For Beginners 


beginners in gym


Beginners should only focus on compound movements.

Nowadays most of the youngsters just copy the workout of various popular athletes & try to become like them, just completely unaware of their own body type.

Isolation exercises never can be able to create a solid strong base for your body, as compared to the compound exercises.


  • Low To Moderate Level Of Intensity 


low to moderate intensity


Isolation exercises include, low to moderate level of weight, which is fine for bodybuilding to look bigger, but the real truth is that you can’t be able to develop a solid strength & power, with this strategy.

It’s a simple rule of thumb, to be big you have to lift big.


  • Decrease In Performance Level 


decrease in performance level


A guy who is doing a split routine, can’t be able to perform well because he doesn’t know to get out of the comfort zone or to attack super heavy weights.

The focus will always be on low to moderate level of weights, to undergo time under tension to create a fuller & soft muscles, which look bigger.


  • Muscles Becomes Less Dense 


list of compound exercises

When we lift lighter amount of weight, then the size of muscles might increase due to the fast blood circulation or pump, but the muscle fibers will only increase when we challenge the intensity of the weight on to our muscles.

The muscles will become more and denser when we lift heavy weights, but if we just want to look good, then the size of the muscle cell will only be increased, but the number of fibers will be the same, which will result in soft muscles.


  • Conclusion 


The Bottom Line is,

Every body type is different so, so we need a different strategy for each one.

Here I have covered the general idea, that compound exercises are always better than isolation exercises, but it may vary for certain body types, whose goals are different.

Compound movements are important for building a strong base.

Simple, Compound exercises are Better than Isolation exercises for a better foundation for the entire body, after that anyone can move on to isolation exercise according to his or her goal, but no one can’t ignore the compound exercise for building a solid base.

Check this out for more information:

Compound Vs Isolation Exercises


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