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Old 07-11-2011, 08:22 AM   #1
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Default benefits of isolation exercises ?

without doubt compound exercises are superior to isolation exercises and should always take priority .

However are there any extra benefits that can be gained by performing isolation exercises that cant be made with compound exercises ?

Last edited by abett07; 07-11-2011 at 08:26 AM.
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Old 07-11-2011, 08:28 AM   #2
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Yes. Isolations provide a more direct method of building the mass of specific muscles (hence the term 'isolation').

Hypothetically, a workout can be constructed which is comprised solely of isolation exercises, but it would not be a very good one.

Overall muscle strength AND size is built most successfully by using compounds and stressing the Central Nervous System in ways that isolations just can't do.

A workout which incorporates both heavy compounds first and isolations second is a tested and proven training regimen.
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Old 07-11-2011, 08:28 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by abett07 View Post
are there any extra benefits that can be gained by performing isolation exercises that cant be made with compound exercises ?
IMHO NO. Unless you are preparing for a comp, or are trying to isolate lagging bodyparts (but again that is if you are abouve the intermediate lifter level) and are trying to create a certain look.

Personally i dont think there is any isolation exercise that can hit a muscle 'better' than a compund exercise (although some muscles are hard to use out of isolation, like calves). I also think that if you are just starting or have only been training a limited amount of time (results wise, not actual time wise0 then I honestly dont think you should be worrying about isolation exercises at all really.

The bulk of anyones gains will come from focusing on compund exercises and progressing the weight on them.

hope this helps

Carl.

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Old 07-11-2011, 08:28 AM   #4
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Some can be ok...but rarely superior to compounds or bodyweight lifts.

Some can be good for pre-hab/re-hab (shoulders). Some muscles require isolation lift to properly strengthen (calves, abs).

Back isolation exercises are fairly useless. Trap isolation lifts are never as good as the more explosive variations, in my opinion. I don't think chest and tricep isolations are better than dips, presses, etc. I am not a fan at all of shoulder isolations.

Then, of course, if we bring drugs into the equation things can change...

Being able to isolate a muscle is often place upon this golden pedestal, as if it's the only method that can build muscle. In my training I have never found this to be the case, and over the years have all but removed most isolation work for this reason.

Also, many isolation lifts are not "natural" movements for the body, meaning the body was not meant to move weight as such. Many (not all) have poor natural leverage, and I don't believe adding progression to these lifts is in any way good for the body.

Modern bodybuilding is a funny game...we see people turning isolation lifts into compounds to add more leverage and weight, and people turning compounds into isolations to feel the mind muscle connection. Too much voo doo for me.
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Old 07-11-2011, 08:58 AM   #5
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One thing I will add...me and Glwanabe were talking about this the other day...most average recreational lifters won't need an abundance of isolation lifts. They are not competitors, and are more focused on overall size, strength or just looking good.

When I give advice, I am giving advice to recreational lifters who have yet to make substantial gains. To them I feel that isolation lifts beyond maybe calves, abs and biceps have little value.

Bodybuilders and powerlifters have different goals and needs. They may have injuries, or need lighter CNS breaks, or may have a lagging bodypart that isn't coming up for one reason or another. I don't pretend to advise them.

Most recreational lifters just need to add size and strength, and do it quickly. To do so, compound lifts and bodyweight lifts are the fastest way.
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Old 07-11-2011, 09:20 AM   #6
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I see two important reasons for doing isolation movements, and neither have anything to do with building mass.

#1. Some isolation movements can help bring up your bigger lifts in the form of assistance exercises. An example of this could be doing curls to help control the negative portion of the bench press or leg curls to help the squat.

#2. I believe some isolation movements are smart in order to work the joints in their natural movements and create a healthy balance. An example of this would be doing leg curls again. Most of the posterior movements we do in a compound-only routine work the posterior with a straight leg. I believe it's important for health reasons to also work them in the bending motion. Other examples are L-fly movements to work the rotator cuffs, and abdominal exercises to balance your back strength.
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Old 07-11-2011, 09:32 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Off Road View Post
I see two important reasons for doing isolation movements, and neither have anything to do with building mass.

#1. Some isolation movements can help bring up your bigger lifts in the form of assistance exercises. An example of this could be doing curls to help control the negative portion of the bench press or leg curls to help the squat.

#2. I believe some isolation movements are smart in order to work the joints in their natural movements and create a healthy balance. An example of this would be doing leg curls again. Most of the posterior movements we do in a compound-only routine work the posterior with a straight leg. I believe it's important for health reasons to also work them in the bending motion. Other examples are L-fly movements to work the rotator cuffs, and abdominal exercises to balance your back strength.
Great point

I may actually do some leg curls tomorrow instead of GM's. I wouldnt make a habit of it, but definitely a good idea now and then i think, plus it will give my lower back a bit of a break.

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