Within this article, I will be answering the question, what is an isolation exercise? Although not necessarily the biggest component to a workout routine, they definitely have their place. It is for this reason, I found it to be important to create an article explaining what isolation exercises are, their benefits, and how you can implement them within your training. Let’s get started!
Isolation Exercises Explained:
Isolation exercise have the best description of them right in their name, they isolate, or target/focus on one individual muscle group. This means that they are performed using a single joint, therefore working on an individual muscle. These are important for many things, with the biggest reason in my mind being the unique or small roles they fill within a workout routine.
For example, you may be training for strength and have already performed exercises such as the bench press, dumbbell bench press and maybe a machine press. However, for fatigue management and to get in some volume, you may perform an isolation exercise like the cable or machine fly. These are the types of small roles that isolation exercises can effectively fill.
Benefits of Isolation Exercises:
In addition to fatigue management and getting in some more volume, isolation exercises also have the benefits of adding variation in your training and targeting an individual muscle to allow you to feel it working more than something like a compound movement.
Fatigue management is huge as you likely won’t be able to do all your work through compound movements because they are harder to recover from, and they can make it difficult to get in all your volume. Isolation exercises are beneficial in this respect as they are less physically demanding and make it easier to accumulate volume through, especially with them often times being done in the higher rep ranges.
They are also good for adding variation in your training, instead of always doing pressing movements, cable flies can be a good exercise to help change things up. Lastly, being able to isolate a muscle allows you to really feel it working, or for some muscles, such as the biceps, they are one of the main ways to train them.
The Implementation of Isolation Exercises:
Now that we know what isolation exercises are, and their benefits, we need to start thinking about how we can implement them. With this in mind, let’s explore the different ways to accomplish this.
The standard, commonly used and highly effective way is to sprinkle them in towards the end of your workout. This will allow you to get your heavy, compound training that is quite physically demanding in while you’re fresh, and the lighter isolation exercises in when you are more fatigued. This is the perfect time to work in the higher rep range, burn out a muscle and get in your required volume. This could look like performing some high rep sets or drop sets on a machine fly at the end of your chest workout.
Another way to utilize isolation exercises is in the form of a pre-exhaustive training style. This is when you fatigue the secondary muscle(s) that contribute to the lifts for the main muscle you’re trying to target. For example, the triceps and shoulders for the bench press. You would perform these isolation exercises prior to the bench press, and since the secondary muscle(s) are fatigued, your chest will really need to work.
Lastly, isolation exercises can be quite beneficial for things like training around injuries. Maybe you’re unable to perform a bench press because of a chest issue, however, you may still be able to do something like a triceps push-down. I am not telling you how to work with or around your injuries, you need to consult a medical professional for that. I am simply outlining another possible benefit of isolation exercises.
Within this article, I have outlined what isolation exercises are, their benefits, and how you can implement them within your training. Now that you have the knowledge of this kind of exercise, you can not only implement them within your workouts, but you will know why you’re doing so!
I look forward to you being able to benefit from the information within this article, and wish you luck in your next training session! I thank you for taking the time to read, and as always, if you have any questions or comments please do not hesitate to leave them below and I will be sure to reply!
Until Next Time,
Please refer to my liability disclaimer to ensure you know who is responsible for use of this information after reading.