Calisthenics Exercises: How Compound And Isolation Exercises Impact Your Overall Performance?

Gorilla Calisthenics-Calisthenics Exercises-With A Man In Squat

The Difference Between Calisthenics Compound Vs Isolation Exercises

Understanding the basics of Calisthenics exercises is very important. Hence, if you aim to build strength and muscle mass, which would you be focusing your exercise training around? Compared to the exact exercises that focus on a specific muscle group, calisthenics provides more efficient muscle-building by providing a compound workout. Compound Exercise targets multiple muscle groups at one time. Let’s say, for example, one single push-up targets the muscle groups of your abdominals, back, chest, glutes, shoulders, triceps, and quads.

On the other hand, isolation exercises work only one muscle or muscle group at a time. Indeed, isolating one muscle group is sometimes necessary to get it to activate, increase its strength, and help it grow. At the same time, it helps correct muscle imbalances. For instance, wall sit focus on enhancing the strength in the quadriceps muscles in your thighs. In other words, the difference between the two types of calisthenics exercises is the number of muscles you use.

Gorilla Calisthenics-Calisthenics Exercises-A Man In Plank With Added Woman's Weight

Compound Exercises

1. Squat

The squat is one of the best compound exercises targeting the majority of your leg muscles in just one movement. At the same time, it also strengthens your back muscles and core as you use these areas for balance.

Targe muscles: Quads, core, back, hips, buttocks, calves, and hamstrings


  • Begin by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Have your toes slightly pointed outward.
  • Engage your core while pushing your shoulder blades towards each other.
  • Bend your knees while pushing your bum and hips out behind you.
  • Continue pushing your bum down and out. Make sure to go as low as you can while ensuring a nice inward curve in your back. And that your knees do not fall inward. 
  • Then lift your arms in front of you.
  • Squeeze your glutes and begin to straighten your legs as you come back up.

2. Bench Press

The bench press is a good upper body-building muscle. You can do this workout with either a barbell or dumbbells.

Targe muscles: Chest, triceps, and shoulders


  • Lie on the bench, under the rack that holds the bar. 
  • Grip the bar with an overhand grip at shoulder width.
  • Tuck your shoulder blades behind your back.
  • Press on the floor hard with your feet with the weight of your body resting on the back of your shoulders and your butt.
  • Then lift the bar and lower it to the center of your chest in a controlled movement while maintaining pressure on your feet.
  • Press the weight back up explosively once the bar touches your chest. Then exhale at the end of each rep.

3. Push-Ups

It builds both your upper body and core strength.

Targe muscles: Abdominals, back, chest, glutes, shoulders, triceps, and quads


  • Get on the floor on all fours while positioning your hands slightly shoulder-width apart.
  • Tighten your core and contract your abs by pulling your belly button toward your spine. 
  • Inhale as you slightly bend your elbows and lower yourself to the floor until your elbows form a 90-degree angle.
  • Exhale while contracting your chest muscles and pushing back up through your hands returning to a starting position. 
  • Do the repetitions as long as you can.
Gorilla Calisthenics-Calisthenics Exercises-With A Woman In Plank

4. Deadlift

It is known as a technical lift compound exercise. It is a great way of strengthening your lower back and legs if you can get the technique right. This can be done with either a straight bar or with a dumbbell in each hand.

Targe muscles: Lower back, glutes, quads, calves, and upper neck muscles


  • Begin by holding the bar with your hands.
  • Stand with your feet halfway under the bar or dumbbells.
  • Grab the bar by bending your knees over it, gripping it shoulder-width apart. Keep your arms vertical as you look ahead.
  • Straighten your back as you raise the bar.
  • Take a deep breath as you pull the weight with you while locking your knees and hips. Do not lean back or shrug.
  • Then return the weight slowly by unlocking them as you inhale.
  • Lower the bar as you move your hips back, lowering it passed your knees.
  • At this point, bend your legs more while lowering the bar to the floor.

5. Plank

Build strength in your core and upper body without moving a muscle through the plank.

Targe muscles: Core muscles, quadriceps, and gluteal muscles


  • Start with a push-up position while bending your arms at your elbows. So your weight rests on your forearms. 
  • Then, tighten your abs while clenching your glutes and keeping your body straight from head to heels. 
  • Hold as long as you can.  

Isolation Exercises

1. Leg Press With A Dumbbell

The leg press serves as an alternative to squats both for beginners and advanced fitness trainees.

Targe muscles: Quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes


  • Start with the basic dumbbell squats with your feet about shoulder-width apart and your weights must be on your heels.
  • As you squat let the weight shift forward in front of you slightly keeping your shoulders back and your spine in a neutral position.
  • And then stand back up while maintaining a proper spinal position since your back is not protected.

2. Single Leg Deadlift

The single-leg deadlift not only strengthens your posterior chain but also challenges your balance.

Targe muscles: Hamstring, glutes, and calf muscles


  • Stand with your feet together.
  • Extend your left leg back and up as you shift your weight onto your right foot.
  • Hinge forward from your hips until your body forms a T shape.
  • Return to the starting position.
  • Repeat on the other side.

3. Hip Thrust

Hip thrusts build strength and size in your glutes in a way many other exercises cannot. Glute strength is essential for the stabilization of your core, pelvis, and lower body.

Targe muscle: Glutes


  • Sit on an elevated surface like a bench, and place a dumbbell or plate on your hips.
  • Scoot your back down against the bench with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor shoulder-width apart. Your legs should form a 90-degree angle, and the bench should be positioned right below your shoulder blades. Your body from shoulders to knees should form a fairly straight line.
  • Keep your chin tucked and your feet stationary, and lower your butt toward the floor while holding the weight for stability.
  • Then push up through your heels until your thighs are parallel to the floor again. Contract your glutes at the top, and then return to the starting position.

4. Triceps Box Dip

It improves your fitness performance. Your body relies on your triceps and chest whenever there’s a push movement. Therefore, it is also important to isolate your triceps.

Targe muscle: Triceps


  • Sit on the floor with your knees bent, feet flat, and your back against a box or step.
  • Place your hands on the box and your fingers toward your body.
  • Straighten your arms to lift your butt. Then bend your elbows to lower yourself without completely sitting down.
  • Keep your heels on the floor and your elbows pointed directly behind your body.

5. Resistance Band Pulldown

The resistance band pulldown is great for your lats. It can also help enhance your posture and increase upper body strength. At the same time, you can make good use of your fave resistance bands.

Targe muscle: Lats


  • Grab the resistance bands with your palms facing out and down.
  • Get down on one knee with your hands up over your head and the resistance band taught.
  • Bring your hands down and out to shoulder height and then let them back up.
  • This completes one repetition.
Gorilla Calisthenics-Calisthenics Exercises-Man And Woman In Workout

Bottom Line

To sum it up, For you to design a successful and safe calisthenics exercises training, knowing compound and isolation calisthenics exercises is vital. It is good to use compound calisthenics exercises to build your overall strength before attempting isolation. Additionally, if you do isolation exercises make sure that you balance it by working on the opposing muscle groups as well.

Rember to always put the most complex moves in the beginning. Especially if you want to keep your form throughout your training. Doing these moves early, when your muscles are still at their maximum strength is an advantage. Isolation movements should come after you do compound exercises. Some athletes would say that a combination of two would give excellent results. Considering your goals is what matters.

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