STRONG BODY FOCUS - Compound exercises

This week our focus here at STRONG BIRD FITNESS HQ is STRONG BODY!

A STRONG BODY is the foundation to everything you do movement wise. You use it to pick things up, move things around, walk, sit, run... the list goes on.

So if you are not looking after your body and getting it to do what it is designed to do which is MOVE then it will become weak and fail on you, causing you to become injured or fall thus causing injury. Also if you're not MOVING then you may also start to gain weight, you may already have done so and this will cause a whole host of problems such as joint pain whilst trying to move, fatigue, low self esteem, type 2 diabetes, heart problems, high blood pressure etc etc etc

To build a STRONG BODY you need to get MOVING and one of the best ways and most time effective ways to do this is COMPOUND EXERCISES.

Whats a COMPOUND EXERCISE? I hear you ask.

A COMPOUND EXERCISE is a exercise that engages two or more joints to work multiple muscles or muscle groups at any one time. When you do a SQUAT move or stand from sitting in a chair you engage muscles in your legs (hamstrings, quads, calves) and glutes as well as in your core and lower back. That's a lot of muscles all working together.

The opposite to a compound exercise is an ISOLATION EXERCISE which only works one muscle or muscle group through one joint. For example a bicep curl, you only move from the elbow joint and you only work the biceps muscles.

Which do you think it going to give you the most benefit?

If you said COMPOUND then you would be right. There are so many benefits of Compound exercises, here are just a few:

- They work multiple muscles at the same time so you'll burn more calories faster! (#win)

- They simulate real-life movements and activities so you get stronger for life!

- They save you time and if you're short on time then you know you can work everywhere effectively.

- They help improve coordination, reaction time and balance (all great benefits)

- They help improve joint stability and muscle balance across a joint

- They decrease risk of injury and falls (#win)

- They keep your heart rate up and help improve cardiovascular fitness

- They help you build strength and reach your goals quicker.

That is quite a list of benefits, right? Yeah I agree!

Can you think of some COMPOUND EXERCISES?

- Squat

- Lunge

- Press Up

- Shoulder Press

- Pull up

- Deadlift

- Bench Press

- Dips

Now, think how many muscles/ joints are working?

- Squat

(3 joints, ankle, knee, hip and 2 muscle group, quads and gluteus maximus)

- Lunge

(3 joints, ankle, knee, hip and 3 muscle groups, quads, glutes and adductors)

- Press Up

(2 joints shoulder and elbow and 3 muscle groups, pecs major, triceps and deltoids)

- Shoulder Press

(2 joints shoulder and elbow and 3 muscle groups, deltoid, triceps and suprapinatus)

- Pull up

(2 joints shoulder and elbow and 3 muscle groups, lats, biceps and teres major)

- Deadlift

(2 joints knee and hip, 4 muscle groups, glutes, hamstrings, lower back and spine)

- Bench Press

( 2 joints shoulder and elbow and 3 muscle groups, pecs major, triceps and deltoids)

- Dips

(3 joints shoulder elbow and wrist and 4 muscle groups, pecs major and minor, triceps and deltoids)

*please note the muscle listed are those being worked, there are also a host of muscles working in a secondary and antagonistic roles.

There are loads of benefits as we have seen to COMPOUND exercises but that doesn't mean you shouldn't do ISOLATION exercises. They are also great and valid and should definitely be included in your workout.

ISOLATION exercises work by isolating a specific muscle and sometimes it is necessary to do that to help correct a muscle imbalance or weakness, activate the muscle correctly and increase strength in a specific area. After an injury in particular certain muscles can become weak and others will compensate, do their work for them so to get then back to their full potential and firing properly again, you need to work a muscle in isolation, work it on its own.

You may not realise you have an imbalance in muscles because bigger muscles may be compensating already so imagine; how much stronger you would be, how much more you could lift, how much longer you can run, how much faster you'll recover... etc etc etc (insert your own reason if you like...) if you handpicked a few isolation moves to add to your programme?

Even if only one of those applies to you or you insert your own.. then there's a pretty good reason or reasons to include some isolation exercises in your workout routine, even just once a week. Complementing your compound routine with some isolation moves will improve the compound ones.

Okay, here we go again. Name some isolation moves?

- Biceps Curls

- Triceps kickbacks

- Lateral raises

- Front raises

- Hamstring curls

- Calf raises

How many joints are moving?

You said just one right? EXCELLENT!

To get a complete, efficient and functional workout then do predominantly COMPOUND EXERCISES in your training but look to add some ISOLATION EXERCISES towards the end of a session to work specific muscles to help improve weaknesses.

Don't know where to start? Still not sure what the difference between to the two is? Or don't know if you need to do more of one than the other?

Then get in touch and we can work together to find any imbalances or weaknesses you may have and come up with a training action plan to help improve them and get you towards your GOAL. Whatever that might be.

Get in touch via the contact us form on the website or directly via email

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