Exercises can be classified as either compound or isolation exercises. Compound exercises are multi movement exercises where several big muscle groups are working together to produce force, while isolation exercises are exercises that target one muscle group at a time. Compound exercises enable you to get more “bang for your buck” helping you achieve better body composition readings increased strength and power in a shorter period of time.
I often get asked what is the best exercise for fat loss. Of course the answer isn’t that simple. The important thing to consider is the type of movement involved and the correct programming of several different exercises put together.
What makes an exercise a good one?
Compound exercises such as squats, dead lifts, presses and rows should form the cornerstone of your programming, It’s a combination of these exercises which enables people to really hit their fitness goals.
There are many different variations of these main lifts but it is essential that they are included in your workouts. These multi movement exercises recruit the most muscle fibers and enable the lifter to lift considerably more weight than in isolation exercises which increases the intensity of the lift.
Through lifting heavy weights you will accelerate the process of fat loss as it produces higher levels of testosterone to be realised which is a muscle building hormone. They will burn more far more calories than isolation exercises because of the higher intensity produced. They focus on the larger muscle groups such as the gluteus and shoulders giving you the potential to add for more lean muscle which increases metabolism then working the biceps in an isolation exercise.
If we compare a lower body multi joint exercise such as the front squat with a lower body isolation exercise such as lying down leg curl, its evident that the multi joint exercise is far superior. The front squat is performed with barbell loaded on your front. This automatically activates your core muscles. It also targets the gluteus, quadriceps and hamstrings. When performing the lying down leg curl, for a start you are lying down and this takes your core muscles out of the equation. Then it just isolates the hamstrings neglecting any other muscle group.
How else to increase the Intensity of your training?
Compound exercises can be performed as a superset. This is a great way to increase intensity and safe time. Antagonistic supersets are where you perform two exercises in concession with opposing movements.
For example one of my favourite antagonistic supersets is an over head military shoulder press and a pull up. The shoulder press is a pressing movement targeting the deltoids, triceps and core muscles while the pull up is a pulling movement targeting the lats, rhomboids, biceps and core.
The key is here you are able to increase the intensity by working opposing muscle groups.
There is no one great exercise for fat loss. Its about getting several different aspects right consistently.
You have to adjust the rep range and load of the exercises, keep adjusting the programming of your training so the body cannot adapt and combine it with good nutrition and high intensity cardio such as sprints.
These methods will help you reach your goals, by adding lean muscle tissue, increasing your metabolism and burning fat.