Strength training with compound exercises, using little to no rest between rounds, will give you the biggest bang for your buck and is suitable for people of ALL goals and fitness levels. Just because you are a ''beginner'' doesn't mean that you should avoid compound exercises and focus exclusively on isolation exercises and machines. The opposite is true.
ALL movements and tasks that you are required to do in everyday life use multiple muscles, so why would you eliminate all of these movements and stick to isolation exercises that have no practical purpose in everyday life, and offer significantly fewer benefits both in terms of aesthetics, fitness and health? Heck, even drinking beer uses compound movements:).
Your body is designed to work as a unit, not as individual muscles. Compound strength training strengthens the body as a whole unit and reinforces the movement patterns that you will be required to perform every day, and for the rest of your life. A huge bonus is that you will significantly boost your metabolism, get WAY fitter, lose your body fat and get the body you are looking to achieve but have never been able to because you have been working out the wrong way. This type of training will also bring your heart rate through the roof. Yet another benefit of compound superset,tri-set, or circuit training.
While I absolutely believe that ''activation'' exercises (many are isolation exercises) should be included as part of your ''pre-hab'' exercises, they should NOT make up the bulk of your workout. Also, aim to do most if not all of your exercises via barbells, dumbbells, bands and cables instead of machines. Contrary to popular belief, machines are not safer, offer little to no carryover to real life/your sport, and in many instances are detrimental to your body as they move in a single plane vs the multiple planes that occur in real life. Perfect example, free squatting vs squatting on a Smith Machine.
Bottom line, if you are serious about getting in amazing shape, losing body fat, and feeling amazing, make compound strength training the focus of your workout regimen.
Here are some examples of compound supersets and tri-sets:
1) Bodyweight squats: 3 sets x 15 reps
2) Modified push ups: 3 sets x 15 reps
1) Dumbbell squats: 3 sets x 10 reps
2) Standing split stance landmine
presses: 3 sets x 10 reps/side
1) Barbell deadlifts: 3 sets x 6 reps
2) Pull ups: as many as possible x 3 sets
I did this tri-set today for my triceps. 3 rounds of 15 reps per exercise.
1) Vertical body extensions
2) Body extensions
3) Triceps push ups
No matter what your current fitness level is or goals are, if you train like this, you will thank me later.
Get the biggest bang for your buck, and make 2014 count!!