Compound & Isolation Exercises using calisthenics: Which one is better?

Are compound exercises better than isolation exercise? No every form of exercises serve different purposes. I shall be discussing the benefits of both forms of exercises.

So what are compound & isolation exercises?

Compound exercises: Impact multiple muscle groups & joints when you are performing them. Hence you target more muscles in a short period of time.

Isolation exercises: Isolation exercises impact single muscle at one time. It allows you to be specific on the muscles you want to focus on.

So what are examples of compound & Isolation exercises?

We at passion for fitness have number of exercises that focuses on compound movements using calisthenics. Join our community at or sign up for our online calisthenics based fitness coaching at

Compound exercises:

  1. Chest: Chest press, bench dip, push ups
  2. Back: Pull up, deadlift, barbell row
  3. Legs: Squats, sumo squat, hit thrust
  4. Shoulder: pipe pushups, head stand, alternate lunge with lateral & front raise
  5. Triceps: Body Skull Crushers, Diamond push ups,triceps dip.
  6. Biceps: Arm push curl, arm push hammer curl, arms reverse push curl

Isolation exercises:

  1. Chest: Push ups, Spiderman push-ups, decline push ups, 90 degree hold Isometric exercise, regular plus diamond push ups, explosive negative push ups, diamond incline pushup
  2. Back: Back extension, back hypertension, pulse rows, supermans, reachers
  3. Legs: Squats, sumo squats, calves, hip thrust, isometric squat, barre squats, jump squats
  4. Shoulder: Pipe pushups, rear delt fly, front raise, plank raise tap crunch, lateral raise, clean squat press, pseudo planche push up
  5. Triceps: Triceps extension, triceps kickback, power triceps extension, triceps bow, forearm triceps extension, triceps dips with elevated legs
  6. Biceps: Arm push high curl, push upright curl, arm concentration curl

All these exercises are performed using body weights, also called as calisthenics form of training

Both forms of workout have its own pros & cons which are detailed below:

Compound movements- Benefits

  1. Burn more calories
  2. Help you get stronger
  3. Useful for day to day movements
  4. Get proportional muscular development since you target multiple muscle groups at one time

Compound movements- Pitfalls

  1. Can hide weak links. You can be overdoing with some specific muscle groups.
  2. High risk & probability of injury
  3. Limited range of motion.

Isolation exercises-benefits

  1. Target specific muscle groups
  2. Useful for fixing imbalances
  3. Have better range of motion

Isolation exercises-Pitfalls

  1. Not useful in day to day movements
  2. Burn less calories when compared with compound movements

Both form of exercises focuses on specific objectives. Compound exercises are perfect when you want to build a strong body however Isolation exercises helps you focus on weak muscle groups.
It is recommended that your start with compound movements if you are trying to build muscles or lose weight & finish your workout with isolation exercises.

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