How do you lift? Compound vs. isolation.

Hey Everyone! Hope you are all doing great and are enjoying this beautiful weather we are having in Southern Ontario right now! Get outside and be active, you will be amazed what this beautiful weather can do for your body and mind!

I have a cool little blog today. I’m going to talk about Compound Lifts vs Isolation Lifts! These are both very important to any well rounded program and they both serve a very important purpose! First off I am going to define each of these movements then I’m going to tell you what I think the benefits of each of them are!

Compound Lift

A compound lift is a movement that targets and utilizes multiple major muscle groups and joints at the same time. Every well rounded program should have a compound lift every day in my opinion. Your training session should be built around that specific lift that day. For example if Monday your program is built to hit heavy legs, then everything else you do that day should complement your compound lift. Basically your compound lift is the Meat portion of your dinner plate! 

Top Three Benifits of Compound Lifts

Below I am just going to touch on what I think are the benefits of compound lifts, and why they should be a huge part of your program!

1. They Make You Stronger – Simply put every program should have some variation of a squat, bench and deadlift. They are the biggest bang for you buck!

2. Coordination – Core Strength – Every compound lift makes you engage your core in some way shape or form. Most importantly they all will improve your coordination!

3. Burn More Calories – It is proven that you will burn more calories doing a compound lift such as a squat than going on a run! Compound lifts challenge your CNS and make you work!

Isolation Lifts

Isolation lifts are movements that target a specific muscle group and only use one joint like the triceps in a triceps extension, whereas a compound exercise utilizes multiple muscle groups and joints to perform that specific movement. The same can be said about isolation lifts as compound lifts, every well rounded program needs them! I personally think that isolation lifts are great for fixing deficiencies in the body. For example if someone has weak glute and can’t get them to fire, you can still have that person Squat (Compound Lift) but you can also build some single leg glute bridges in to target that specific area! Like I said before the compound lift is the meat, your isolation lifts are the veggies!

Top Three Benifits of Isolation Lifts

Here are my thoughts on what I think are the biggest benefits to isolation lifts!

1. Rehab – Being able to target a specific muscle group that has been injured to help recover it is key to getting healthy quick!

2. Fixing Deficiencies – Like I said above, some athletes have problems areas that need work. Isolation lifts can help get this done for you when building a program

3. Compliment To Compound Lift – I think the most important benefit is that you can use these lifts to compliment the big compound lifts!

Email to book your complimentary demo session to talk to us about how we use compound and isolation lifts in your programming to get the results you need!

Why Flashy Footwork, Agility Ladders, and Sprint Mechanic Drills are MOSTLY A Waste of Time

One of the most common pieces of equipment sport coaches and strength and conditioning coaches love to use are agility ladders… but why? Mostly people love to use them because they are very portable (can take to practice, use on the field), easy to set up and requires little instruction to demonstrate patterns for athletes to go through. But is this a reason for using them?

            While agility ladders and footwork drills do have their place for building general coordination and foot speed in younger athletes (or as part of a warm-up), for developing athletic multi-planar speed and power, they are largely a waste of time and our efforts can be better spent elsewhere. I would even argue for soccer (the sport where foot speed is probably the most important) they are largely a waste of time as through practice for their sport they will build these foot speed skills that are more specific to their sport and learning agility ladder patterns is not going to improve this further.

            I would even go on to say a lot of drills commonly used by coaches that work on foot speed are also a waste of time. If we are wanting our athletes to get faster, the number one thing that can be done do to improve their speed is to have them run FAST!!! The more practice our athletes get at accelerating, changing direction, and reaching and maintaining maximal velocity the better off they will be.

            Another common thing I see in coaching is to spend hours on sprint mechanics and track and field type drills. While I believe these have their place (in warm-up; extra work sessions) we must remember that our field sport athletes are NOT sprinters. While we can use these drills to work on some of their MAJOR deficiencies in sprinting form, we must remember that some of the running styles and techniques develop from their sport and help them to perform at their best.  

            While there are techniques we can use when getting our athletes to run fast such as resisted sprinting, sprinting with sleds etc. sometimes simplicity is key when it comes to getting our athletes faster! We combine our speed training with plyometric and resistance training exercises specialized for our athlete’s sports and position, keeping in mind the work to rest ratios used in their sport. Keep in mind, we can’t do speed training if we are tired! To run fast and do proper speed training this involves FULL recovery. So, when coaches are doing endless conditioning drills just remember this also is not training SPEED.

            Bottom line, to get our athletes faster we run… and we run FAST!!! We love to use reactionary drills to mimic the sporting environment, and to add competition to our drills to push our athletes to their fullest potential. Athletes want to compete, and you get the best out of them when they are doing just that, competing!

Want to get faster with us? Click here for more information or to sign up for our FAST program!

Do You Train Yourself? Time To Fire Your Trainer – Part 1

I spend a lot of time in various gyms and I see a lot of things that make me wonder what I’m actually seeing. This is not unusual for me because I’m mostly a kinaesthetic-type learner and I need to try things out before I understand them clearly.


Over time, one thing that I’ve been able to spot immediately is something that is dead-wrong. It’s easy to notice because I get a feeling inside that alerts me to the fact that I’m seeing something that is completely off the grid of what is sensible. There’s a saying in coaching that ‘if something doesn’t look right then it isn’t right’ and you don’t have to know exactly what it is that is wrong when it just looks wrong.

There is more nonsense in gym-workouts that are directed at changing body composition than anything else. If you take a few minutes to look around any gym, you’ll see things that just don’t make sense. The worst part about it is that people are parting with their free time to do this foolishness. It isn’t any of my business, most of the time, so I just watch long enough to get the feeling and then I go back to my workout and allow the feeling to float away.

Opinions Matter!

The only time it gets to me is when I’m drawn in by someone who is asking me for my opinion about their program, or their efforts, only to finally let me know that their approach is great and that I don’t know what I’m talking about.

Being willfully ignorant is a problem because it indicates that a person has stopped learning, which is fine with me, so long as I am not engaged in the ignorant conversation. However, when someone does ask me how long it will take them to drop ten pounds by doing bicep curls and some light cardio; I find it a challenge to be gently polite.

I tell them that I can’t answer that question because their workout isn’t a program set up by me and I have no prior knowledge of their physical attributes and how the program pertains to their individual weaknesses.

Look out for the Part II of this post!

Oh and Hey…. Check out the 2016 Fall special – BUTT & GUTS