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Multi-joint exercises (compound exercises) are exercises that use several joints (at least two). These exercises are also called complex exercises. As a rule, multi-joint exercises train several muscle groups at the same time. Thus, this type of exercise is the exact opposite of isolation exercises, where only one muscle group is trained and only one joint is moved.
In the Alpha Progression App you can distinguish between large, medium, and small exercises. Large exercises are complex multi-joint exercises, such as squats. Medium exercises are less complex multi-joint exercises, such as the leg press. Small exercises are single-joint exercises, such as the bicep curl, or small multi-joint exercises, such as flyes on the cable machine.
A good example of a compound exercise is the squat. With the squat you train your quads, but also other muscle groups, such as your glutes, your hamstrings, and your core. The movement involves your ankle joint, your knee joint, and your hip joint.
Another example is the pushup. When you perform pushups, you primarily train your chest, but also your shoulders and triceps. Your wrist, elbow, and shoulder joints are all involved in the movement.
Training with compound exercises offers many advantages. Training several muscle groups at the same time is effective, efficient, and a great way to save time. Furthermore, you can use heavier weights than with isolation exercises. This can lead to stronger stimuli and therefore more muscle growth.
In addition, your coordination skills are improved, since several joints and muscles have to be controlled at the same time. The biggest advantage, however, is that the movements of compound exercises resemble everyday natural movements. Squats, for example, can be compared to sitting down. Isolation exercises, on the other hand, usually contain rather unnatural movement patterns.
Also, calorie consumption is significantly higher when performing compound exercises than when performing isolation exercises. Thus, exercises that use multiple joints are important for a strong stimulus to build muscle while also being suitable for weight loss. Beginners as well as advanced athletes should work with these exercises.
However, compound exercises are more difficult to learn. Beginners should take enough time to master correct execution, because multi-joint exercises require good technique and a lot of body control. For this reason, the risk of injury is much higher than with isolated exercises.
In addition, compound exercises can be more difficult to intensify because they usually have to be performed with a heavier weight to achieve the same intensity as isolation exercises. Also, focusing on a specific muscle group is not really possible. Isolation exercises are much better suited for this purpose.
With the Alpha Progression App you can create a customized training-plan with compound exercises or choose from a variety of multi-joint exercises and integrate them into your existing plan. You will also find the appropriate description and execution videos for each exercise.