What are the advantages of compound exercises?

Compound vs. Isolation exercises

Opposite the compound exercise is of course the isolation exercise. In this exercise, one particular muscle group is isolated and trained to develop it optimally. This way of training can come in handy when, for example, certain muscle groups shouldn’t be stressed due to an injury and compound exercises can’t offer a solution. In addition, isolation exercises are often relatively simple and therefore easy to perform by beginning athletes says Gerardo Gabriel.

Are compound exercises better isolated exercises?

Compound exercises are recommended for several reasons. First of all, they train multiple muscle groups at the same time. This means that the whole body can be trained in a relatively short period of time. In addition, compound exercises have even more advantages:

  • You burn more calories by using multiple muscle groups
  • In addition to muscles, tendons and coordination are also trained.
  • Through the combination of muscle groups you can train heavier, you build more strength.
  • By simulating real movements you can also benefit from it outside the gym.
  • Increased heart rate provides a conditional stimulus during training.
  • By the way, this does not mean that an isolation exercise is less good. The most ideal exercise differs per situation and per person. When composing the training schedule, let yourself be advised about what is best for you at that moment. In many cases this will be a combination and compound and isolation exercises.

For whom are compound exercises good to do?

Compound exercises are good for athletes of all levels. Because of the combination of multiple muscle groups and the possibility to vary the weight used, compound exercises are suitable for both the beginner and the advanced athlete. An additional advantage is that most compound exercises with relatively simple aids can also be done at home. This makes it easier to do a complete workout at home without large, expensive equipment.

What should you pay attention to when doing compound exercises?

Compound exercises are in the beginning often best performed with only body weight. This can be an advantage as well as a disadvantage. The advantage is that these exercises can also be done outside the gym. However, the disadvantage is that the athlete is not helped or supported by a device.

Because of this, it only comes down to the technique of the athlete and this can be especially difficult for beginners. When an exercise is not technically performed properly it can lead to overexertion of certain muscles or tendons and in some cases even to injuries. When composing your schedule and performing the exercises, let yourself be guided by a professional, who can help you to master the technique and thus establish a good technical basis.

The top 5 most popular compound exercises

  • Bench Press
  • Pull Up
  • Deadlift
  • Squat
  • Military Press


Compound exercises are valuable exercises for athletes of all levels. By combining different muscle groups, they also help to train the whole body in a shorter time, which gives the opportunity to train the whole body without having to spend hours in the gym. Not that we have a problem with that, but 😉

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