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While you are on your fitness journey you will encounter many different ways of training your body. Styles from Yoga, HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), Body Building, Isometrics, Zumba and the list goes on and on. No matter what form of training you choose the most important thing is getting started and being consistent day-in and day-out to make permeant long lasting life changing benefits. If you workout in a gym setting you can walk through the facility and see people of all ages working out in very different ways but also very similar to each other. The sad truth is most people do not know what they are doing during their training session, so they mirror the people with the best physiques hoping that one day they will achieve that body type. Some of the most common exercises I see people replicating is a standing bicep curl, floor crunches, chest cable fly and leg extensions. Yes it is true that all of these exercises are better then doing nothing, but you are only achieving the bare minimum when it comes to strengthening your body. In order for you to fully understand what I am about to tell you, it is essential I break things down in the most simplest form. Lets start with isolation vs compound movements. What is an Isolation Exercise? Isolation exercises are movements that target a specific muscle group and make use of only one joint like the biceps in a bicep curl, the front deltoid during a front shoulder raise or quadriceps during a leg extension. They target only one or two muscles in order to perform the basic action. (Do not get me wrong, what I am about to explain does not relate to BODY BUILDERS who are experienced and train for competitive shows. They use certain isolation exercises in order to sculpt their body with certain proportions to showcase to the crowd and judges.) For everyone else, especially beginners in fitness you will achieve must greater results if you train your body with compound exercises. What is a Compound Exercise? Compound exercises are exercises that work multiple muscle groups at the same time, while also utilizing multiple joints to complete the movement. For example, a squat is a compound exercise that works the quadriceps, glutes, and calves. You can also do compound exercises that combine two exercises into one move to target even more muscles (for example, a lunge with a bicep curl to overhead shoulder press). The 5 Best Compound Exercises to build a Solid Foundation. To keep things simple, I am going to tell you the only 5 exercises you need in order to build a strong, well rounded body… -Bench Press -Squat -Deadlift -Pull Up -Shoulder Press You start off by doing 3-5 sets of each exercise for about 10-15 reps. To get the most out of your workout it is important to keep track of the weight and reps you perform so you can gradually add more as the weeks and months go on…this is call PROGRESSIVE OVERLOAD. Compound Exercises Save You Time. When you perform compound movements over isolation movements, you utilize more muscles during your training session which also means more calories being burned in less time. Compound Exercises are Functional. Everyday we move our bodies for our personal and professional lives. We go grocery shopping, mow the lawn, pick up our kids and endless other things depending on your age and physical limitations. Compound exercises make your everyday functional movements easier on your body and cardiovascular system. Few examples related to everyday movements and compound exercises are as follows… -Carry grocery bags from car to house can be trained by performing Farmer Walks with Heavy Dumbbells. -Mow the lawn can be trained by pushing a weighted sled back and forth across the gym floor. -Picking up your kids can be trained by picking up a heavy 20 - 40 lb. medicine or slam ball and tossing it over a shoulder multiple times. Compound Exercises Improve Your Body Coordination. Some people have it and others don’t. I am talking about body coordination. Body coordination is the ability to move your body in exactly the way you need to in order to perform a specify movement. I know this seems easy and everyone can do it, but unfortunately this is not the case. Have you ever tried showing someone how to do a jumping jack when they never have before? it seems like a very simple movement but people never get it right the first time. That is because it takes proper training to build your body coordination in ways that fit your specific needs. Compound lifts and movements often take years to master. Every little bit of detail has to be correct otherwise you are at risk or serious injury. Start slow and improve the weight and reps as the months and years go on. Repetition is the foundation of all skill building… but it must be correctly performed to achieve the most and build that specific skill. So as you can see, that training your body using compound movements have a direct correlation to everyday functional movements you do through your lives. I can go on and on about the differences and pro/cons for each of the isolation and compound exercises that are out there. My purpose of this was to keep things simple for you to understand so you can apply them into your workout routine. If you are still having trouble creating an effective training routine, contact me right now by CLICKING HERE and I will get you set up on a fitness and nutrition plan that is updated monthly to keep your body changing in the fastest and effective way specifically for you. Until next time -Zak

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