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MOTIVATED@LAST Posts: 15,427
8/5/14 8:19 P

An incline crunch will work your muscles harder than a horizontal crunch, but I agree with Zorbs - it is still an isolation exercise that only really works the abs. Planks are a compound exercise that works a much broader range of the core muscles, including the abs.

Isometric is rather different to isolation. Isometric is basically about holding a position - basically a motionless strength exercise rather than a lift. Isolation is about only really working one muscle at a time. A plank is an example of an exercise that is isometric, but most definitely compound. (My apologies - I don't usually jump all over the wording, but in this case it significantly changes the meaning.)

Because they run in a defined track, many (but not all) machines tend to be isolation exercises. But with free weights, you tend to use a much broader range of muscles to keep yourself balanced and stabilized, and free weights tend to be more compound exercises. A squat with barbells will work a much broader range of muscles than a squat machine.


ZORBS13 SparkPoints: (188,965)
Fitness Minutes: (183,903)
Posts: 15,733
8/5/14 6:26 P

crunches are definitely an isolation exercise.

PEANUT-M-MS Posts: 369
8/5/14 2:37 P

Thanks. That was good to know. I found many of the machines I use at the gym are isometric, but I figure I get some good out of them, and am rotating to many machines to get zoned in on various muscles. And other machines qualify for compound exercises - like the one that requires crunches from a leaning back position all the way forward over the knees.

MOTIVATED@LAST Posts: 15,427
8/3/14 8:07 P

Exercises that work several different muscles at once.

As an example of compound exercise, a lat pull-down works the biceps, shoulders and back. By comparison, the more traditional bicep curl is an isolation exercise that only really works the biceps.

Compound exercises will work a much broader range of muscles and give you a much better overall workout.

Examples of good compound exercises include squats, deadlifts, planks, pushups.


ZORBS13 SparkPoints: (188,965)
Fitness Minutes: (183,903)
Posts: 15,733
8/3/14 8:04 P

Exercises that use multiple joints/muscle groups. Examples are: pushups, squats, lunges, deadlifts, rows, pullups.

The opposite would be isolation exercises, which are considered by many to be unnecessary for general fitness, as the body does not use muscles in isolation. Examples would be: inner thigh machine, bicep curl, lateral raises, leg extension machine.

Sometimes people cobble together 2 isolation exercises and call it a "compound exercise" (example: front DB raise + inner thigh squeeze on stability ball) but that's just 2 isolation exercises done at the same time.

PEANUT-M-MS Posts: 369
8/3/14 6:41 P

What are compound exercises (as in strength training)?

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