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Compound Vs Isolation


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#1 Sl@MDuNk_Mitsui14

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Posted 27 August 2006 - 08:36 PM

In my case, I still prefer isolation exercises than compound exercises.

I'll tell you my reasons later. :hypocritesmiley:

#2 Sl@MDuNk_Mitsui14

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Posted 27 August 2006 - 08:50 PM

BTW, I know some (or most?) of you arent believers of isolation exercise, maybe some of you might even challenge me to at least name 3 isolation exercises. I'm ready to take the challenge however.

#3 Olympus

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Posted 27 August 2006 - 08:56 PM

Then if you really believe single joint exercises are better, show us what makes it better. i have yet to meet anyone who has build a great physique and good strength with single joint exercises.

#4 Sl@MDuNk_Mitsui14

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Posted 27 August 2006 - 09:32 PM

I've talked to some people claiming compound movements are far more superior to isolation movements and that one should exclude isolation movements from ones program all together. Well, this is not a smart thing to do if one's goal is to obtain the best amount of muscular growth possible compored to ones full potential.


Thinking that more weight equals more mass in a chosen muscle used in a compound movement because you simply are using more weight is false, the muscle does not know which exercise you are doing, all the muscle is doing is contracting. i.e., your pectorals doesn't know the difference of you doing DB flyes or doing a bench press.

That you are able to lift a heavier weight in an exercise is irrelevant. What matters for growth stimulation is the resistance the individual muscles encounter over the range of the motion. This is actually superior in single joint movements.

Using only compound movements (which makes use of more muscles than the one being "targeted" for assistance) will more like halter you progress because of the ineffective loading of each muscle group compared to their demands in terms of stress (you can easily overtrain a muscle group and undertrain another).

You should utilize compounds and isolation movements in your routine for a variety of reasons, but compounds are not superior to isolation and should not be done exclusively. That is if you want to reach your full potential.

and to explain further, It is possible to make significant gains in muscular size relative to your potential with only compound movements, but not to reach your absolute potential. The reason for this is very simple,

The amount of resistance that can be used during a compound exercise is limited by the weakest muscle group in the movement. There will always be some muscles in compound movements that are not exposed to the heaviest amount of resistance they can handle, and muscular growth stimulation (real increases in tissue size, not negligable "sarcoplasmic" growth) is proportional to load.

In a compound movement, the relative contribution of the different muscles involved changes over the full range of motion, with certain muscles being involved significantly at some points, and barely at all during others, resulting in few of the muscle groups being efficiently loaded over the full range of motion. This is important because more efficient loading results in a faster rate of inroad, and thus more fibers recruited and stimulated with less energy wasted.

I would imagine that most people could come relatively close to their full genetic potential with a few compound movements, but the addition of simple (isolation) movements will allow for greater development of some muscle groups, and probably faster.

Edited by Sl@MDuNk_Mitsui14, 27 August 2006 - 09:34 PM.


#5 Olympus

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Posted 27 August 2006 - 09:44 PM

I assume you talked to bodybuilders or physical therapists regarding this?

isolation is a myth, there is no exercise that works only a sginle muscle.

About multi-joint vs single joint exercises, multi-joint exercies activate more muscle fibers making it a more potential muscle builder compared to single joint exercises.

the only rotary motion or single joint exercises that may of value would be neck and rotator cuff work.

#6 Sl@MDuNk_Mitsui14

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Posted 27 August 2006 - 09:53 PM

I understand your point pareng oly but there seems to be a misunderstanding that isolation exercises work only one body part. This is not true.

The concept of isolation comes from restricting the motion of other body parts so that the considered prime mover for the exercise gets more attention. But do the other muscles under the said restriction do not work? No they still work to stabilize your posture while doing the exercise.

Take for example doing chest flyes on a pec-deck machine. The chest are the prime isolated as the prime movers while the other muscles of your body keep you from moving to achieve the manouver. The human body acts as a unit and rarely does a body part exhibit an action without the involvement of another.

Edited by Sl@MDuNk_Mitsui14, 27 August 2006 - 09:54 PM.


#7 Olympus

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Posted 27 August 2006 - 10:09 PM

I understand your point pareng oly but there seems to be a misunderstanding that isolation exercises work only one body part. This is not true.

The concept of isolation comes from restricting the motion of other body parts so that the considered prime mover for the exercise gets more attention. But do the other muscles under the said restriction do not work? No they still work to stabilize your posture while doing the exercise.

Take for example doing chest flyes on a pec-deck machine. The chest are the prime isolated as the prime movers while the other muscles of your body keep you from moving to achieve the manouver. The human body acts as a unit and rarely does a body part exhibit an action without the involvement of another.


That is why I neve use the term isolation rather single joint. However, I still believe that multi-joint exercises are superior.

#8 Equus

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Posted 27 August 2006 - 10:19 PM

andyan nanaman tayo pareng oly... for the sake of semantics kasi you always want to renew the terminologies of the common place words used by the industry... this really creates more confusion than clarification... and whats the point in that?

I agree still with the compound exercises over isolated ones however, I still itch to do isolation workouts to ensure the proper development of ALL my muscle parts...

#9 Olympus

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Posted 27 August 2006 - 10:23 PM

andyan nanaman tayo pareng oly... for the sake of semantics kasi you always want to renew the terminologies of the common place words used by the industry... this really creates more confusion than clarification... and whats the point in that?

I agree still with the compound exercises over isolated ones however, I still itch to do isolation workouts to ensure the proper development of ALL my muscle parts...


I never renewed it. If you check many training journals they use single-joint exercises as the term proper. In fact the Nautilus certification exam uses the term rotary.

#10 Eclipseguy

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Posted 27 August 2006 - 10:56 PM

I've talked to some people claiming compound movements are far more superior to isolation movements and that one should exclude isolation movements from ones program all together. Well, this is not a smart thing to do if one's goal is to obtain the best amount of muscular growth possible compored to ones full potential.


Then why is it that those individuals that I have trained have added 2-3" to their arms (and basically everywhere else) using compound movements? Are you suggesting that muscle can "change" its shape? Impossible. A muscle can grow bigger or shrink if not trained regularly. Those who I've added this mass had been working out for years....that plus the 2-3" was with lowered body fat.

Thinking that more weight equals more mass in a chosen muscle used in a compound movement because you simply are using more weight is false, the muscle does not know which exercise you are doing, all the muscle is doing is contracting. i.e., your pectorals doesn't know the difference of you doing DB flyes or doing a bench press.


Again, you base this on what comparison exactly? If you compare who I've trained to who you talk to, I'll be willing to guarantee that my trainees are more developed (via compound exercises) than who you are listening to.

That you are able to lift a heavier weight in an exercise is irrelevant. What matters for growth stimulation is the resistance the individual muscles encounter over the range of the motion. This is actually superior in single joint movements.


So how come my own arms never went beyond 14.5" using "isolation" movements and are now over 16" lean when doing only compound movements such as pressing and pulling? How come this is also the case with 100% of my trainees who have increased their size doing compound movements via my training vs. the plateau they were stuck in before said training?

Using only compound movements (which makes use of more muscles than the one being "targeted" for assistance) will more like halter you progress because of the ineffective loading of each muscle group compared to their demands in terms of stress (you can easily overtrain a muscle group and undertrain another).


Again, my trainees have biceps as large as 18" without steroids. All were plateaued before. Most religiously did "isolation" movements and came from different gyms...so they were plateaued with basically every local "theory" under the sun. They continue to progress, even with arms 16-18", while before they were stuck. How well developed are the individuals that teach you this stuff? Are they natural? Are you sure? Are they international-class?

You should utilize compounds and isolation movements in your routine for a variety of reasons, but compounds are not superior to isolation and should not be done exclusively. That is if you want to reach your full potential.


I've taken guys to build arms as large as 19" and natural using only compound movements. My own personal experience is that compound movements are the ONLY thing that has taken me closer to my genetic limit. "Isolation" has never done anything significant for me personally. In contrast, when I do compound movements, certain areas of my body, such as pecs and lats grows out of proportion to the rest of my body. When I'm lean, those bodyparts are seperated and striated.

and to explain further, It is possible to make significant gains in muscular size relative to your potential with only compound movements, but not to reach your absolute potential. The reason for this is very simple,



The amount of resistance that can be used during a compound exercise is limited by the weakest muscle group in the movement. There will always be some muscles in compound movements that are not exposed to the heaviest amount of resistance they can handle, and muscular growth stimulation (real increases in tissue size, not negligable "sarcoplasmic" growth) is proportional to load.


Such as?

Let me give examples of how to work around "lagging" muscle groups: For example, your triceps/delts "lag" behind your pecs. The simple fix? Standing Military Press.

Your hamstrings lag behind your quads from squats. The fix? Deadlifts and reverse hyperextensions.

In a compound movement, the relative contribution of the different muscles involved changes over the full range of motion, with certain muscles being involved significantly at some points, and barely at all during others, resulting in few of the muscle groups being efficiently loaded over the full range of motion. This is important because more efficient loading results in a faster rate of inroad, and thus more fibers recruited and stimulated with less energy wasted.

I would imagine that most people could come relatively close to their full genetic potential with a few compound movements, but the addition of simple (isolation) movements will allow for greater development of some muscle groups, and probably faster.


What proof, or even evidence, do you have for these statements? Explain to me why everyone I've ever trained who was plateaued broke through their plateau of size AND strength using ONLY compound movements? Why is it that they have still yet to plateau? Again, I have guys who are 5'2" and 5'4" who can add size to the point of being "out of proportion" on any bodypart I choose. This is 100% due to compound movements. These same individuals, again, had previously plateaued using "isolation" exercises and couldn't get bigger or stronger.

If "isolation" movements only worked to a beginning POINT and NO FURTHER in the past, what makes you think that adding them now will make an iota of difference? These athletes have a limited ability to recover and/or maintain. I train guys and take them to the limit of their recovery abilities. To add "isolation" movements would cause overtraining if used on top of compound movements if these athletes are being pushed to their recuperative limits (and are growing). If the compound movements were taken away or reduced, these athletes would SHRINK AND BECOME WEAKER, since compound movements can MAINTAIN (at least) their progress. "Isolation" cannot.

In all of my experimentation with hundreds of athletes, I've never seen anything to back up what you are saying. And believe me, I've experimented.

#11 Eclipseguy

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Posted 28 August 2006 - 12:11 AM

Exampes:

1) Trainee did tricep extensions, kickbacks, skull crushers, dips, bench press etc. His chest was enormous. His triceps sucked.

- solution: Standing military press

2) Trainee had poor shouders and did every shoulder routine you can imagine for years.

- solution: Again, standing military press

3) Trainee did leg press, extensions, leg curls, hack squats, and again, every program under the sun for years that excluded squats.

- solution: Full barbell squats

4) Trainee couldn't get his biceps to grow.

- solution: Pullups and dynamic rows added tremendous growth

5) Trainee had no hamsrings development after doing tons of lunges and leg curls.

- solution: Squats, deadlifts, and Olympic lifts

6) Trainee did wrist curls, hammer curls, reverse curls, etc, and had zero forearm development

- solution: all of the pressing and pulling exercises that are compound bulked up his forearms in just a few weeks.

7) Trainee did every ab workout imaginable but had no significant ab development

- solution: trainee stopped doing abs and focused on the "big 6" lifts and now is nearly overdeveloped in the abs department

These are but a few examples. Not only do they describe me, but they also describe basically everyone I've trained who faced the same problems.

Even with Olympus, he does no curls or extensions, but his arms have grown nearly 1" since joining Eclipse. His abs are getting thicker, his shoulders are "capped" now, his forearms are very tough, etc. His chest is developed evenly as is his lats and traps that are really popping lately.

I don't see where we'd need to add isolation exercises. As knowledgeable Olympus is, he's still only beginning to understand his genetic potential. Again, I can't see how adding "isolation" would bring a benefit, if no plateau has been reached. This is also with respect to overall body balance and symmetry.

#12 Equus

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Posted 28 August 2006 - 08:12 AM

I think the key here would be to not totally disregard the importance of SINGLE JOINT exercises...

#13 Eclipseguy

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Posted 28 August 2006 - 08:39 AM

I think the key here would be to not totally disregard the importance of SINGLE JOINT exercises...


Unless you are talking about calves or neck, in 16 years I've never seen any evidence that single joint exercises are effective for anyone other than total newbies. Again, experience has taught me that they are a waste of recuperative abilities.

It's like painting a house with 3 coats and it appears to be finished...yet going back to apply a fourth coat of paint. When you tell someone that you used 4 coats of paint, they assume that you needed said four coats. If they observed you specifically, they'd see that 3 coats more than did the job.

For example, we have that hip-flexor/ab machine. Guys who do our program plus this ab machine never have demonstrated greater development in their midsection vs. those who didn't exercise their option to use it. Furthermore, I've tested the 5RM of people who trained with it vs. those who did not. There was no difference in 5RM strength. In fact, a few guys who didn't do the ab machine were 50-100lbs heavier in the weights they used vs. the initial phase of training when they tried it and tested their 5RM. This was greater or equal to those who did trained and "increased" their trunk strength while using it consistantly.

Olympus and I will demonstrate this to people by picking up a barbell between 95-135lbs and curling it. This is far more than the weights that they can use, yet they are shocked when we tell them that we never do single-joint movements such as curls. Our arms are not 18" (yet :) ) but they have made steady progress using only compound movements.

Edited by Eclipseguy, 28 August 2006 - 08:43 AM.


#14 Equus

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Posted 28 August 2006 - 10:57 AM

again i think the this argument is alive because of the difference in priorities... I firmly believe in these exercises to improve the muscularity of the target muscles... for example, yes the overall size of your bicep is bigger but the muscle separation is not AS PRONOUNCED as wehn you do isolation (single-joint) exercises...

In your case, wherein functional strength comes first before aesthetics, then i clearly see your point...

#15 Eclipseguy

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Posted 28 August 2006 - 11:17 AM

yes the overall size of your bicep is bigger but the muscle separation is not AS PRONOUNCED as wehn you do isolation (single-joint) exercises...


Oh c'mon now....I didn't expect a statement like this to come from you. You CANNOT change the SHAPE of the muscle or increase separation, which would mean a PHYSIOLOGICAL alteration. You KNOW this. "Separation" is due to the size of the muscle and the percentage of bodyfat. Any physiologist you talk to will back me up on this.

I've seen guys who did isloation and get ripped when they first started, followed by switching to compounds and then getting ripped again with ZERO isolation movements for years. Even though there's a 40lb difference in lean body mass, the muscle looked MORE seperated later....because his muscles were larger and his bodyfat was low.

#16 Sl@MDuNk_Mitsui14

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Posted 28 August 2006 - 01:26 PM

You have a lot of good points EG, to be honest i was almost convinced and wanted to retract what i said in my previous posts.:P

But again, I stand with what i believe in (Call me hard-headed), maybe becoz Isolation/single joint exercises have been working for me, as they say, why fix something that is already fixed, and besides i never said that i do isolation EXCLUSIVELY, I incorporate isolation with compound exercises, and believe me I've also experimented with this. ( contrary to popular belief, for a while i tried to NOT incorporate isolation with compound exercises in the same workout, and it actually works only up to a certain period of time though).

You mentioned the word "plateau", coz ive seen and actually know some people who said that doing compound exercises will eventually make your body plateau, and the only solution for that is to do isolation exercises. Isn't this a correct statement?

Edited by Sl@MDuNk_Mitsui14, 09 July 2009 - 06:08 PM.


#17 crazykalbo

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Posted 28 August 2006 - 01:56 PM

well im a fan of combining both compound and isolation exercises :) ive got no theory to share sa inyo sorry po

#18 guile1912

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Posted 28 August 2006 - 02:40 PM

FROM WHAT I UNDERSTAND,

ISOLATION IS BETTER DONE AS A WORK-OUT FINISHER. ITS USED TO EXHAUST YOUR MUSCLE DURING THE LAST PART OF YOUR PROGRAM. TO CONTRACT THE MUSCLE MORE.

COMPOUND EXERCISES KASI USES MORE MUSCLE PARTS IN YOUR BODY TO DO. PERO YUNG TARGET MUSCLE PA RIN GUMAGAWA NG MAJOR WORK.

IMHO, I THINK THAT YOU WILL NEED BOTH TO FULLY DEVELOP YOUR PHYSIQUE.

;)

#19 Eclipseguy

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Posted 28 August 2006 - 03:56 PM

You have a lot of good points EG, to be honest i was almost convinced and wanted to retract what i said in my previous posts.:P

But again, I stand with what i believe in (Call me hard-headed), maybe becoz Isolation/single joint exercises have been working for me, as they say, why fix something that is already fixed, and besides i never said that i do isolation EXCLUSIVELY, I incorporate isolation with compound exercises, and believe me I've also experimented with this. ( contrary to popular belief, for a while i tried to NOT incorporate isolation with compound exercises in the same workout, and it actually works only up to a certain period of time though).

You mentioned the word "plateau", coz ive seen and actually know some people who said that doing compound exercises will eventually make your body plateaued, and the only solution for that is to do isolation exercises. Isn't this a correct statement?


They work for you now, but again, wait for the plateau and then say the same thing :goatee:

ANY exercise will eventually plateau if:

1) You've reached your genetic limit (but this is far beyond the knowledge of most gym goers to get even close to this)

2) You are not using periodization in your training.

The fact is, isolation is what will plateau first. Is is 100% incorrect to state that "isolation" will get you past a plateau. The fact is that compound movements are the only thing that can take you there. Again, I'm training and national and international class athletes from URCC fighters, PBA, College and high school track and field, powerlifters, and bodybuilders. The only way I can take them to this level of strength and/or muscular development is to do compound movements. If I let them do "isloation", they'll shrink, period. Again, this is my observation from many years of experience.

#20 Eclipseguy

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Posted 28 August 2006 - 04:02 PM

FROM WHAT I UNDERSTAND,

ISOLATION IS BETTER DONE AS A WORK-OUT FINISHER. ITS USED TO EXHAUST YOUR MUSCLE DURING THE LAST PART OF YOUR PROGRAM. TO CONTRACT THE MUSCLE MORE.

COMPOUND EXERCISES KASI USES MORE MUSCLE PARTS IN YOUR BODY TO DO. PERO YUNG TARGET MUSCLE PA RIN GUMAGAWA NG MAJOR WORK.

IMHO, I THINK THAT YOU WILL NEED BOTH TO FULLY DEVELOP YOUR PHYSIQUE.

;)


"Exhausting" your muscles and/or training to failure is exactly why most guys at most (non-steroid) gyms either don't look like they work out, or have been working out for 5 years and still can't bench anywhere near 100 kilos.

Read my 5x5 primer linked in my signature to illustrate this further. ^_^




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