Recovery for Compound vs. Isolation Exercises

Timing is everything.

HYPOTHESIS

Establishing the right training frequency can make a big difference in strength and mass gains. The proper frequency depends on the time required for recovery between training sessions.

RESEARCH

Sixteen well-trained subjects performed, in a counterbalanced order, eight sets of 10-rep max (10RM) one-arm seated rows, and eight sets of 10RM one-arm preacher curls using the contralateral arm. Strength and delayed onset muscle soreness were recorded at baseline, at 10 minutes, and at 24, 48, 72, and 96 hours after each training session.

FINDINGS

Strength loss was greater following isolation vs. compound exercise. Also, at 24 hours after training, strength was still below baseline after isolation exercise whereas strength had recovered after compound exercise. Delayed onset muscle soreness was also greater and took longer to resolve following isolation exercise vs. compound exercise.

CONCLUSION

More time for recovery is required after isolation exercise compared with compound exercise in well-trained athletes.

APPLICATION

Plan an additional day of recovery between training a given muscle group when using isolation exercises.

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