If I lift heavy on compound movements, do I still need to train arms directly?
I would recommend incorporating both compound and isolation exercises into a muscle building routine. I personally do both. My workouts usually start with two or three HEAVY compound exercises, then I end with one or two exercises that isolate a certain body part like biceps.
An example of a compound exercise is the bench press, squats, deadlifts, barbell rows, pull-ups… These exercises work more than one muscle at the same time. For example: the bench press works the chest, arms and shoulders. You need to go heavy on compound exercises in order to grow! Isolation exercises like the pec fly, bicep curls, or triceps extensions only work one muscle at a time. Usually you can’t go too heavy on these but you definitely want to include them in your workout routine. The best approach is usually towards the end of the workout.
Focusing on heavy compound lifts is the fastest way to grow your muscles and add long-term strength gains. Heavy compound lifting will add more muscle across your entire body and your arms will grow as a result of performing them. However, through my experience and personal gains I do feel that you should NOT skip isolation exercises. They build an even stronger muscle and will give the muscle a nice defined form and look.
Compound exercises will build lots of strength and pack on muscle, which includes big biceps. Isolation exercises will build REALLY big biceps, but only after you have built a base.
I found this quote awhile back and loved it, “Compound exercises are like building a cake, Isolation lifts are like adding frosting to the cake ( you don’t just want to be cake and you don’t just want to be a tub of frosting!) Both make the perfect combination!”
Set goals and train hard and heavy!
1986 – 1st -NPC Mr. Southern Cal ( Lightweight)
1989 – 1st -NPC Cal. Novice and Overall ( Lightweight)
1992 – 1st – NPC Mr. Orange County ( Lightweight)
1993 – 1st – NPC Mr. California ( Lightweight)
1994 – 2nd – NPC Mr. North American ( Lightweight)
1995 – 2nd – NPC Excalibur ( Middleweight)
1998 – 7th – NPC USA ( Middleweight)
1999 – 1st – Mr. Los Angeles ( Light Heavyweight)
2008 – 2nd – NPC Excalibur ( Masters Middleweight)
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