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Compound vs isolation....???

Discussion in 'Weight Training/Bulking' started by Demon Knight, Sep 26, 2005.

  1. jsbrook

    jsbrook Well-Known Member

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    No worries, Bluestreak. To clarify my position, I think isolation is benefical. I think compound is much more beneficial more both strength and size. If having to choose one, I'd choose compound any day. But in the real world, there's no need to make a choice. They are complimentary. I think isolation alone's much less effective. It doesn't work to build base strength nearly as well. Just to toss out some hypothetical numbers, curling 30 lbs is not gonna build biceps the way getting a good base of strength from compounds that allows you to build curl 60 lbs is. I think most could get quite big from purely a focus on compound and the right diet before ever incorporating any isolation work. I personally like to include a few heavy sets of isolation work but think that programs that exclusively use compounds with the goal being mass gains are absolutely fine in the short-term. In no way do they limit the ultimate sculpting of one's desired physique. People also have to be careful what they attribute certain things. Quality of physique may well improve just by virtue of time lifting, dietary changes, and even improved muscle tonus (tension of muscles at rest-which can be impacted by the manner of lifting)
     
  2. swole

    swole Well-Known Member

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    All over the internet they say compound is better than isolation. Its a fact yes but is it suggested that isolation is simply worthless? Are we overworking small muscle groups like biceps resulting in much less gains? Who here does a compound-only program? Should we include isolation at all in our program if we're not a pro bodybuilder?[/QUOTE]





    I don't think isolation is worthless, it has its place in a well balanced workout. Just don't make it your primary focus, that's all. I agree with Kmfisher that the majority of the workout should be compound. The goal should be on making gains over a period of time, whether it is one more rep, or five more pounds, or added muscle mass. As long as you are making progress, you are doing fine. It sounds like whatever you are doing is working, so I would stick with that until you are no longer making gains.

    I often see people in gyms mainly doing isolation: curls, pushdowns, leg extensions with maybe some lat pulldowns and bench thrown in for their compound work, almost as an afterthought. You never see these people do squats, weighted dips, (weighted) pullups, rows, deads, SLDL's. Huge mistake, in my opinion, if they are after strength or hypertrophy. At the very least, they should strike a balance between both compound and isolation. If they have limited time, then I would say spend most of it on compounds.

    Like Doordude, I have never done the same workout twice. Something is always changing, either the number of reps, the number of sets, the amount of the weight, or the exercise itself. My main focus is always on the compound movement, but with some isolation also. My progress has come with the variation in reps, weight, or exercises and constantly striving for more weight or more reps over time.That alone will take you farther than whether you do 70/30 compound to isolation or 100% compound. That's what works for me, anyway.

    I say go ahead and continue with your isolation, just don't let it detract from making gains in your compound movements.
     
  3. JeremyLikness

    JeremyLikness Well-Known Member

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    This would depend. What if they have a busy schedule and a stressful workload in the office? The addition of isolation may add volume to the workout and work against Bob. George, having shorter, intense workouts with more room for recovery, would benefit.

    Let's say they are fine in the stress department and have adequate nutrition and sleep. The isolation may benefit Bob. Both of them having good recovery capabilities, the extra volume may lead to more hypertrophy and therefore George will gain more slowly because he's not working to his peak potential.

    But let's make it more interesting. How about we work them like this: George does his compound, and Bob does his compound plus isolation for 4 weeks. Then, after 4 weeks, I add isolation to George and keep Bob on the same workout.

    What then? I bet that George ends up ahead, due to the periodization of his program. He acclimates to the compound, then we add the isolation and throw the central nervous system for a loop.

    The fact is, too many people try to make training black and white by asking the wrong question, i.e. is compound or isolation better. The real question is, instead, what overall customized routine based on my body and specific goals will be best? That routine probably contains a mix of all of the above.

    Jeremy

     
  4. doordude42

    doordude42 Senior Member

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  5. karatetricker

    karatetricker Well-Known Member

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    So it is not true that you must perform the same routine for at least X number of weeks consecutively before switching it up to see results? What about for your average joe like myself who isn't a bodybuilder?
     
  6. wh0rume

    wh0rume Senior Member

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    swole is right about one thing for sure.
    I've been a member at my gym for over 3 or 4 months now, and not ONCE have i ever seen anyone but me do deadlifts/SLDLs. And only a few times have i seen someone do squats.

    the bench press benches are always in use though! :)
     
  7. swole

    swole Well-Known Member

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  8. doordude42

    doordude42 Senior Member

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    Bro, I'm the furthest thing from what you would consider a "bodybuilder" but it works great for me.
    Just a heads up: You ARE a bodybuilder. You're augmenting your body through the use of resistance training. That constitutes bodybuilding. :nod:
     
  9. karatetricker

    karatetricker Well-Known Member

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    Ha, you have a point. I thought you changed your biceps routine weekly, I didn't know you changed everything.
     
  10. swole

    swole Well-Known Member

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    You are way above an average joe. In my gym full of average joes, you are probably in the top 20% of lifters in their early 20's and will surpass most of them with the drive and determination I've seen in you.

    If you are following a program, then stick with it for a while to see if you are getting results. No matter what the program, I always feel that progress over time is an indicator if it is working. Whether you are doing a 5x5 or 1x10, eventually the last set should become easy and you can add a few pounds for next time. That is change, that is progress and that is key. After a period of time, maybe when you reach stagnation, you can change out the exercise or change your rep scheme or program.
     
  11. karatetricker

    karatetricker Well-Known Member

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    Wow, thanks a lot. Very motivating and kind words!


    Well, the reason I was asking is because my gym isn't huge and it's a pain in the ass to always use the equipment I want when I want. I would love to know I can change it up weekly rather than have to sit and wait for equipment to clear. Also, I personally like changing the exercises as there are so many I enjoy using and hate leaving them out for months at a time. I am not on a specific program. I've been on my own for the last 1.5+ years.
     
  12. doordude42

    doordude42 Senior Member

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    Pretty much everything. Sometimes it's subtle changes. For instance, I might do the same excercises 2X in a row but in different order. Change the rep scheme, ya know, shit like that.
     
  13. doordude42

    doordude42 Senior Member

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    Hell yeah you can change em up! As long as the muscle gets worked. IMO anyway. Judging by your pix I'd say you're doing a fine job "on your own". :tucool:
     
  14. swole

    swole Well-Known Member

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    Also, I personally like changing the exercises as there are so many I enjoy using and hate leaving them out for months at a time. [/QUOTE]



    That is precisely why I like variation. It is imposible for me to do all the freeweight and machine exercises for every bodypart every week. I wouldn't want to, anyway.

    Just as a rough example, week one for back I might do weighted reverse hyperextensions, pullovers, BO rows and lat pulldowns. Week two I might do bent knee good mornings, deadlifts, seated rows and weighted pullups. I do not lose size or strength when I do this, if anything, I come back stronger. Occasionally, I will change the rep scheme or the exercise when I feel like I need a change. Call it a crude form of periodization. I keep records for all my lifts and like to see some progress over time.

    Some exercises are constant, for example, I like to do squats every week. In a case like that, I might do regular squats week one and box squats week two and change the rep scheme. That slight variation is enough for me.
     
  15. doordude42

    doordude42 Senior Member

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    Absolutely. I feel some excercises are a MUST for me and I do them EVERYTIME I do that bodypart. :tu:
     
  16. Timbermiko

    Timbermiko Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, me too....like using a Mr. Steroid routine and expecting results with it.
    That of course was years ago.

    My 2cents?

    Use a variety of compound movements-get strong....real strong.
    Get big.....
    Do your cardio.
    When you are "big" and "strong" then you may want to incorporate some isolation.
    Before you all jump on this post...These are my views, my background..etc. again, do what works for you.
     
    #36 Timbermiko, Sep 26, 2005
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2005
  17. chicanerous

    chicanerous Elite Member
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    I agree. Pretty much everything I believe could be summed up as:

    Get real strong on the big lifts -> get big; lower BF% -> look good. Save the isolation for later.
     
    #37 chicanerous, Sep 26, 2005
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2005
  18. JoeSchmo

    JoeSchmo Well-Known Member

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    It is really tough to have a debate like this when goals are not specified. Which is better? Better for WHAT? At the risk of making a blanket statement that offends some, I'll say that if you are looking to build up STRENGTH maximally, then you must do compounds, and do them heavy. Pre-fatigueing with isolations, or just plain structuring your workout around isolation exercises will not be an efficient way to put on strength. I've never gained an ounce of strength from doing skull crushers or pushdowns, but I've gained a TON of strength from doing weighted dips and close-grips. The same can be said for squats versus leg extensions.

    Now, if you are talking about HYPERTROPHY, then, isolation work seems much more useful -- and there are any number of people on this very forum that have put on a good deal of muscle using isolation work. Personally, if you are interested in gaining size, i believe the best way to get there is a routine centered around compounds with some isolation work thrown in. However, I fully acknowledge that people have successfully gained muscle using a variety of techniques. As some have said, there is more than one way to skin a cat.
     
  19. doordude42

    doordude42 Senior Member

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    Not an ounce of strength? :confused: I find that hard to believe.
     
  20. karatetricker

    karatetricker Well-Known Member

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    I have to admit, while I do isolation exercises in nearly every workout, rarely do I see much gains in strength with them. I do find increases in strength much more regularly in my compound movements.
     

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