Compound and Isolation Exercises

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Both compound exercises and isolation exercises are both extremely beneficial for building strength.  A compound exercise is where two joints are moving to accomplish the lift.  Some examples of this would be a bench press where the shoulder and elbow joint are moving, and a squat where the hip and knee joint are moving.  An isolation exercises however, is where only one joint is moving to accomplish the lift.  A couple of examples would be the chest fly where only the shoulder joint is in action, and a leg extension where you can see only the knee joint moving.  While both are beneficial, the majority of my workouts are made up of compound exercises.  The reason for this, is because you get more muscle fibers working with compound exercises.  With a chest fly, you are only really activating the chest muscles.  With a chest press though, you activate the chest, shoulders, and triceps as well.  Also, compound exercises mimic everyday movements more than isolation exercises.  Think about sitting down and standing up from a chair.  All the muscles needed to sit down and stand up, are the same muscles needed to do a squat.

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