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Compound exercises vs rotating through muscle groups?


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Hey all!

 

What's the difference in value between doing large compound movements with barbells on non-consecutive days and working on different muscle groups each day with smaller-than-compound exercises? Is it just preference, or is there a reason that you would do one over the other?

 

I'm just curious! :)

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There are a myriad of benefits to doing compounds, the biggest being that you can move a shit ton of weight and hit a lot of muscle at once. We call that training economy. To hit every muscle that gets hit in the squat, one would have to do:

 

Leg extensions

Hamstring curls

Glute kickbacks

Hanging leg raises

Hyperextensions

Prone/incline shrugs

 

Granted, each one of those hits the respective muscle more precisely, but for a novice trainee it is irrelevant. It takes so little stimulation to get a training effect in the beginning that compound movements should be the bread and butter of your programming. As you progress, even more compound movements should make up your programming, with a sprinkling of isolation more for prehab/rehab than anything.

 

Also, in the beginning, strength is typically the yard stick for progress. You can't progress any of those movements the way you can the squat.

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Hudson Valley Strongman presents Lift for Autism (NAS), April 18th Contest report

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Also, the bigger compound moves performed with heavier weights create more energy turnover, have a stronger hormonal response in the body, bla bla science bla.  Isolation exercises are mostly for bodybuilder types and prehab.  That's not to say you can't or shouldn't do them, but the big compound moves should be the focus of everyone's workout (if they are serious about making progress).

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To add to what has already been said you also gain better neuromuscular adaption from the compound lifts. For example the squat is a multi-joint, multi-muscle group movement. This requires the brain understanding how to fire the proper muscles at the proper time across the entire body.  You also develop a kinesthetic awareness (where your body is in space in relation to the bar). Granted this awareness is better adapted through the snatch and clean and jerk, but to some degree it shows up in the squat/deadlift/bench etc. 

 

Isolation stuff is great for accessories and for addressing imbalances and weaknesses. Everything has its time and place in training depending on your goals and where you are currently. :)

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To further emphasize what everyone else is saying, compound lifts provide a better bang for your time. But, isolation exercises or simpler compound exercises have their place also. Always do your main lifts, but adding in simpler exercises to target problem areas really can be useful. I had great success doing both. Also curls in the squat rack make your guns grow 50 times faster.

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To further emphasize what everyone else is saying, compound lifts provide a better bang for your time. But, isolation exercises or simpler compound exercises have their place also. Always do your main lifts, but adding in simpler exercises to target problem areas really can be useful. I had great success doing both. Also curls in the squat rack make your guns grow 50 times faster.

 

If you curl in the rack while someone is waiting to actually squat in it, you risk the Fist of Brodin with "Fist" in this instance being a verb.

My training log

Spoiler

 

2016

Hudson Valley Strongman presents Lift for Autism (USS), April 16th Contest report

2015

Hudson Valley Strongman presents Lift for Autism (NAS), April 18th Contest report

Eighth Annual Vis Vires Outdoor Strongman Competition (Unsanctioned), August 1st Contest report

 

"What's the difference between an injury that you train around and an injury that you train through?"

"A trip to the hospital"

Link to post

If you curl in the rack while someone is waiting to actually squat in it, you risk the Fist of Brodin with "Fist" in this instance being a verb.

 

I was being facetious but in my gym I'd only worry about that from 4 people. Always curl in the squat rack. It's the safest place. 

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Pinterest: Alex's Paleo Wins - Recipes on Pinterest              Instagram: alexcold23             MFP: dalex916

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