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Saturday, December 1, 2007

Compound Exercises Or Isolation Training - Which Works Best For Building Big, Muscular Biceps?

Compound exercises require certain muscle groups to work simultaneously and in coordination with each other. For example, in the bench press, military press and T-bar row, your arms work in coordination with your chest, shoulders and back, respectively. Although these compound movements can produce significant growth in your larger muscle areas, in most instances these exercises do not sufficiently isolate your arms to stimulate maximum growth. Isolation training, however, is specifically intended to put maximum resistance on your arms by forcing them to power the weightlifting movement throughout each exercise.

I frequently come across articles in which a fitness "expert" will insist that you must choose between isolation and compound exercises in setting up your weight training program. The usual argument asserts that compound exercises are absolutely better than isolation techniques without any consideration of your specific training objective.

In reality, ! it's a false debate because the question of whether isolation or compound exercises are best for you depends entirely on your training goals. For example, if your objective is to develop sport specific strength that requires coordinated muscular exertion, you should focus your training on compound exercises that enhance this type of development.

But if your goal is to maximize the size and strength of a particular muscle area - as in trying to build big, muscular biceps - you need a program based primarily on isolation training techniques that are supplemented with compound exercises. While isolation training will stimulate maximum growth in your biceps, compound exercises will support that growth and ensure balanced and coordinated development of your entire upper body.

The comparative efficiency of isolation training for building big, muscular biceps is further illustrated in the following scenario. Suppose that you're planning to drive 100 miles from Bicepsvi! lle to Triceps Town on one tank of gas. If you take Road A, yo! u will o nly get 20 miles per gallon, stop every 10 miles at a toll booth, get stuck in heavy traffic and take 4 hours to complete your trip. On the other hand, if you select Road B, your gas mileage will jump to 30 miles per gallon, you will encounter no tolls or traffic, and you will drive into Triceps Town in only 2 hours. Given these alternatives and your desire to reach your destination as efficiently as possible, which route would you choose?

The obvious choice is Road B, since this route provides the most time and energy efficient route to your destination. Similarly, when choosing among arm training exercises, you must always consider their comparative efficiency. Your time and energy, like gasoline, are finite resources. Barring injury or a lack of necessary equipment, you should always select weightlifting movements that offer the most "bang for the buck." In other words, in creating a biceps building workout, you should always emphasize isolation training over compou! nd exercises. This rule applies even if you enjoy the compound exercises more than the isolation movements.

If you're serious about building big, muscular biceps you must be willing to push yourself beyond what you may now consider your training limits. You must challenge yourself not only in terms of acquiring new knowledge (as I hope you're getting from this article), but also in a willingness to try new exercises and workouts, some of which you may initially not enjoy. If you've been primarily doing compound exercises in your training up to this point, isolation training may initially seem difficult. But if really want to maximize your biceps building potential, you've got to do it!

Every bodybuilder, powerlifter or fitness enthusiast has exercises that he or she avoids. As with food, cars or clothing, it's natural to have preferences among weight training exercises. But exercise avoidance can slow or even stop our progress. This is particularly true when app! lied to biceps training. It is axiomatic that a straight line ! is the s hortest distance between two points - and a biceps building program consisting primarily of isolation training and supplemented with compound exercises provides the most direct route to superior biceps development.

Mark G. Winston, "The Master Gunslinger," is author of the ground-breaking training manual, "GO For Your GUNS - 7 Simple Secrets to AWESOME ARMS." He has also created, a bodybuilding and fitness website dedicated entirely to helping you build big, muscular arms. Mark's forthcoming book will be jammed with workouts and training techniques to help you build the big, muscular arms that you deserve! To learn about the GO For Your GUNS bodybuilding system and get free arm training tips that really work, visit

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