Weight training exercises can be categorized as either compound or isolation. Compound exercise involve more than one joint and more than one muscle group. Isolation exercises usually focus on one joint and one main muscle.
Isolation exercises definitely have there place in any weightlifting routine, but the majority of your exercises should be compound movements. Compound movements will help you build muscle and increase your strength the fastest. This is because compound movements utilise multiple joints and muscle groups which allows you to use heavier weights. This means more muscle fibre recruitment, higher nervous system activation, and more stimulus for muscle growth. Gaining more strength will mean more progressive overload, more overload more muscle.
Here’s a short list of the basic compound movements:
- Bench Press
- Barbell Overhead Press
- Pull up/Chin up
These compound lifts should be the main foundation of your training program for long term progress. You can easily make progress on these for many years. Getting stronger at these will do more for your physique than a million bicep curls will. These are also great strength indicator exercise that you can keep track of and strive to increase over time.
Its very important that you learn the correct techniques when performing any compound movement for your own personal safety. Learning how to execute these movements with perfect form will ensure your safety and will allow you to get the most out of your training. These movements when performed correctly are perfectly safe even when performed with heavy loads, but training with bad form can lead to injuries and can even limit how much weight you can use. The more practice you get at these compound movements the better you will become at them.
There are thousands of instructional videos online you can watch for free, but if you want a book that thoroughly explains each lift I definitely recommend the book Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe. Marks book has around 64 pages just dedicated to learning the squat, that’s how thorough it is. Also my book Lean Dense Muscle and Strength has simple step by step tutorials for seven compound movements if you wanted to check that out.
Eventually I will have these step by step techniques for you right here on the blog. Thanks for reading guys.