If you are looking to add lean muscle, burn excess fat, and get the most out of your workout then you need to focus on compound exercises. Far to many athletes think that they need to break up their exercise routines into upper and lower body or 3 day splits in order to isolate each and every muscle. The fact of the matter is, you can burn more calories, stimulate more muscle growth, and cut your workout time in half by performing 2-3 days of only compound exercises.
Many people try to break up their workouts into different body parts or sections and end up either formulating an incorrect workout program or overtraining the smaller muscles of the body. For every large muscle you work you are also working the smaller assistance muscles each and every time. Many times people get so caught up into working each muscle from every angle with multiple exercises that they end up spending hours in the gym and they actually do more harm than good. I used to be one of those people and I can tell you two things, more is not always better in terms of sets and exercises per muscle group, and, working each muscle only once a week is not enough to stimulate a muscle growth response, regardless of the amount of time spent training that muscle.
A compound movement is any exercise where you are moving multiple joints and using several muscles all at once. By performing compound exercises you can overload the muscles you are trying to work, and, exercise multiple muscles at the same time. Take for instance a leg extension versus a back squat. When performing a leg extension you only work the front part of your thighs, isolating this muscle. When you do a back squat you are now using significantly more weight than in a leg extension, therefore overloading your muscles and causing more of a growth response. A back squat also forces the quads, hamstrings, glutes, abs, and low back muscles to fire all at once. Therefore, you do not need to isolate all these muscles separately, thus saving you time in the gym.
Compound exercises are also the best way to add muscle mass, strength, and size. Ask any Olympic weightlifter or strength coach what the main focus of all their workouts are and they will inevitably tell you compound movements. The reason is because stimulating more muscle at one time will elicit a greater hormone response, thus leading to increased muscle growth and size. Lastly, compound movements are more functional as they relate to sports. How often do you only use one muscle at a time in a game? Never, because you use multiple muscles through various planes all at once.
If you want to add muscle mass, size, strength, and be an all around stronger and more powerful athlete make sure that you are focusing on compound movements. Forget isolating each muscle, its just a waste of time. Get compound, get strong, get powerful, and train hard.
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