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The Truth About Isolating Muscle Groups vs. Full-Body Workouts

Some people struggle to decide if it is better to focus your workout on a particular muscle group instead of exercising your whole body at once.

Written By

Courtney Cornwall, Outrun Gravity


The human body is comprised of over 600 muscles that work together to help us function optimally, and in 2022, it is common knowledge that making time in your schedule to exercise these muscles can help you build strength and mobility.

There are many fitness regimes you can follow in pursuit of this healthy lifestyle, but some people struggle to decide if it is better to focus your workout on a particular muscle group instead of exercising your whole body at once.

The method you choose to follow for your exercise routine is up to you, but let’s explore the difference between isolating muscle groups compared to engaging in a full-body workout.

Isolating Muscle Groups

It is common for us to overhear someone boasting in the gym about it being “leg day” or “chest day.” This self-declaration is often indicative of a workout regime in which the person alternates between focusing on a specific muscle group in each training session instead of exercising the whole body.

A lot of the time, people choose to isolate muscle groups when exercising when their main goal in working out is to pursue improved aesthetics, such as growing your glutes, your biceps, or working towards a six-pack. This strategy is utilized by professional bodybuilders aspiring to look a certain way, as well as people who are new to working out and hoping to achieve a desirable physique. For this reason, many conventional workout programs are focused on specific body parts, allowing people to target the muscle groups they desire.

Isolating muscle groups can be a productive strategy to ensure you exercise all of the main muscles in the body, especially when using gym equipment that clearly highlights the benefits of that specific machine. Furthermore, alternating the focus of your workout session allows you to train a muscle group rigorously and then allow time for recovery as you target a different muscle group during your next workout.

Full-Body Workouts

Unlike a workout in which you exclusively perform exercises that train the same muscle group, many people prefer to challenge all muscle groups at once in a full-body workout – including professional athletes. There are many types of full-body workouts, some that can utilize gym equipment, and some that exclusively rely on bodyweight as a form of resistance. Regardless of the approach, this strategy is often utilized by people who prioritize functionality over aesthetics.

People naturally use their entire body as a full system, whether that be during exercise or navigating their everyday life. Whether you’re a teacher standing in front of a classroom of students or a flight attendant hoisting bags into the overhead cubbies, you are utilizing all of your muscle groups as a unified system throughout your daily activities. By electing for a fitness routine that focuses on natural biomechanics, you can improve your natural mobility and functionality to reduce your risk of injury in daily activities and overall make living easier.

Although there are benefits of isolating muscle groups during a workout to ensure you are targeting each body part, integrating full-body exercises into your fitness routine is a great strategy to promote mobility and functionality that can be applied to all areas of your lifestyle. If you’re looking for advice about how you can optimize your workout routine to achieve your desired results, contact us at Outrun Gravity for a free consultation with one of our expert fitness coaches today.



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