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Full Body Workout Vs. Isolation

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author image Aurora Harklute
Aurora Harklute has been writing since 2009. She works with people with depression and other mental illnesses and specializes in physical and mental health issues in aging. Harklute holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology and physiology from Marquette University and a Master of Arts in cognitive psychology from the University of Chicago.
Full Body Workout Vs. Isolation
A combination of full body and isolation workouts best build muscle. Photo Credit Medioimages/Photodisc/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Strength training workouts promote muscle growth and sculpt your physique. There are dozens of weight lifts; some target a specific muscle while others work entire groups of muscles at once. Choosing appropriate weightlifting techniques can be daunting given the array of options. For most lifters, a variety of lifts targeting all areas of the body achieves the best results.

Strength-Training Benefits

Strength training is a beneficial physical activity for men and women of all ages. The most obvious benefit to weightlifting is building stronger, leaner muscles. Strength training also promotes bone strength, boosts weight loss, improves attention and lowers your risk of injury. Choosing lifts that target several body groups increases overall muscle mass and makes your body appear leaner.

Types of Strength-Training Exercises

There are two major classes of weight lifts: compound exercises and isolation exercises. A compound exercise works multiple muscle groups simultaneously by requiring movement at two or more joints. For example, a squat is a compound exercise because it works your quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, glutes, lower back, trapezius and abdominal core. Isolation exercises, on the other hand, target just one muscle group by requiring movement in only one joint. Leg extensions are isolation exercises because they only work the quadriceps.

Choosing Exercise Types

Weight Training Advice recommends performing compound exercises for maximal fitness results. Exercises that work multiple muscle groups rapidly increase muscle size and overall strength. Working multiple muscle groups simultaneously decreases your risk of injury by preventing you from overworking a single muscle. Compound exercises are especially important for weightlifting beginners who need to steadily build strength to see results. While compound exercises provide a full-body workout, isolation exercises are also beneficial. Supplement your workout with isolation exercises to sculpt and tone specific muscles or to address imbalances between muscle groups.

Considerations

Begin your workouts with a series of compound exercises, such as squats, bench presses, lunges, deadlifts, push-ups, pull-ups or shoulder presses. These exercises should form the core of your workout and should work the part of the body that you're training in that workout. For example, if you're focusing on your upper body, choose bench presses and push-ups. For a lower-body workout, opt for lunges. After completing your compound exercises, perform isolation exercises to target particular muscles. Bicep curls, tricep extensions, leg extensions, calf raises, lateral raises or hamstring curls are examples of isolation exercises. Perform these lifts last to completely fatigue a muscle and promote muscle growth, according to Muscle Prodigy.

Misconceptions

Weightlifting is an excellent way to build muscle mass, but it cannot replace aerobic exercise. Aerobic activities, such as running, biking, swimming or step aerobics, boost cardiovascular activity and promote fat burning. Weightlifting increases muscle size but does not reduce fat levels as effectively as aerobic exercise. A combination of strength training and cardiovascular activity helps your body shed pounds from fat and build lean muscle.

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