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Bodybuilding: Exercises For Building Big Muscles

At the first go exercises can be broken down into two types, exercises for the entire body and the exercises for specific muscle group only. The technical name for each category of exercises are:

  • Compound Exercises
  • Isolation Exercises

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Compound Exercises, these are basically the exercises that train your entire body or more than one single muscle group. They are the most recommended bodybuilding exercises especially for beginners. Take the bench press as an example, while the chest is the primary muscle targeted while performing it you'll also be working the front deltoids and triceps to get the weight up. While you squat you'll not only be training the quadricep muscles, but also the hamstrings, glutes, and lower back. Most upper and lower back exercises are compound movements as well because you'll get some assistance from the arm and leg muscles while doing them during your workouts. Some of the most recommended compound exercises are.

  • Squats (quads, hamstrings, calves, and also has an effect on most of the upper body)
  • Deadlifts (hamstrings, quads, traps, lower back)
  • Bench Press (chest, triceps, and shoulders)
  • Shoulder Press or Military Press (shoulders and triceps)
  • Bent-Over Rows (back, biceps, lats)
  • Pull-Ups (back, biceps, lats)
  • Bar Dips (chest, triceps, shoulders)

Isolation Exercises, these are basically the exercises that train your one muscle group or joint with nearly negligible contribution from any other muscle group or joints. Most bicep, tricep, and calf exercises are isolation exercises because you'll only be using those muscles to lift the weights for the most part (the forearms will get some work from biceps and triceps exercises). Some of the most popular isolation exercises are.

  • Leg Extension
  • Barbell Curl
  • Dumbell Pullover
  • Tricep Pushdown
  • Dumbell Flyes
  • Pull-Ups (back, biceps, lats)
  • Bar Dips (chest, triceps, shoulders)


Though compound exercises is what you need to get into proper shape, but you can't neglect isolation exercises. A perfect workout should have a healthy mix of the two. An isolation exercise for a particular muscle group followed by a closely related compound exercise is the ideal way to go. If you are not into bodybuilding or at home and just do it for fitness then compound exercises should be your choice.

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