What are isolation exercises?

If you’ve ever been into gymming and exercising, there are good chances that you have heard about isolation exercises. As the name suggests, these exercises isolate a specific muscle group, limiting the participation of any other body muscles. These work in contrast with compound exercises that work on two or more joints and more muscles. 

Benefits of isolation exercises:

If you wanna know, what good do isolation exercises have in store for you, read ahead to know the benefits of these exercises for your body?

  • They help you in getting better control over each muscle group. You can work on the weaker parts of your body or some specific muscle group that you feel requires more strength or more attention and time in terms of training. This can greatly help in reducing or minimizing any sort of imbalances in the body parts. 
  • You can experience a different kind of ‘pump’ after a workout wherein you have focused on only a few target muscle groups. This pump refers to the expansion in your muscles when they break and tear to grow in size. 
  • These exercises have great advantages when it comes to packing on size and muscle.
  • Isolation exercises are used in physical therapy. During recovery from an injury, a person is often not able to use a certain muscle group for a long period. When the person heals from that injury, it becomes important for him to work on that specific muscle. In such cases, isolation exercises can be a big rescue for these patients.
  • The rotation method can be used if you’re doing isolation exercises, which will help reduce your downtime between workouts. It essentially means rotating between muscle groups, while giving each group the time to rest. 

Drawbacks of isolation exercises:

Everything that comes with benefits also comes with some or other disadvantages; it’s just the degree that varies. Well, let’s go through the drawbacks as well so that you can decide what weighs heavier for your body here: the pros or the cons.

  • You might have a difficult time isolating certain muscle groups. In such situations, it becomes easier to concentrate on muscle groups, instead of working on any individual muscles.
  • Some studies have suggested that muscles develop more rapidly when they are worked in a group. It’s even said that true ‘isolation exercises’ do not exist.
  • Isolation exercises can take up a lot of your time. The rotation method might help with time efficiency to some extent, however compound exercises work way better in this regard.  Hence, if you do not have a lot of time to give, you might want to reconsider your options.

Some isolation exercises

Here is a list of some of the best isolation exercises for you and a description of how they can be beneficial for your body and specific muscle groups. Have a look!

  1. Nordic Hamstring Curl:
Isolation Exercise
Courtesy: The Chartered Society Of Physiotherapy

The Hamstring Curl focuses both on hip extension and knee flexion. Not just focus, this exercise is one of the best for these muscles.

  1. Standing Barbell Curl:

The target muscle group for this exercise is the biceps. If you know about the workout or are into it, you might be aware that this exercise doesn’t offer a very great EMG signal, but that doesn’t make the standing barbell curl any less popular.

Seated versions of exercises might offer a greater EMG signal, but the standing position offers you the advantage of using a heavier load.

  1. Standing dumbbell lateral raise: 

The standing dumbbell lateral raise targets the middle delts. When you raise your arms directly out to your sides, it works great for your middle delts. And well, you can add more weights to have an advantage.

  1. Dumbbell fly:

The dumbbell fly focuses on the pecs. The elbows placed in a slightly bent position limit the action to the shoulder joints, and are hence, a great option for your chest day.

  1. Straight-Arm Pull-Down:
isolation exercises
Courtesy: Muscle ANd Strength

You can start this exercise with a lightweight, and gradually try to focus on squeezing your scapulae down and flat across your back while cinching down on your lats. Plus, it will give you the ‘pump’ that we’ve been talking about. 

  1. Pec-Deck Fly:

Like the dumbbell fly, the Pec-Deck Fly also focuses on the pecs. This is the machine version of the dumbbell fly itself.  The machine used helps you maintain the correct position of the arm, and is also great for doing drop sets and partial reps to target your inner pecs. 

However, when doing this, always make sure that your elbows are elevated throughout, and you must not drop them any time.

  1. Reverse Pec-deck Fly:

Your rear delts might get overlooked in your workout routine sometimes. Well, this exercise helps your target specifically on the rear delts muscle group. Plus, the use of a machine movement makes the muscle activation around 10 percent higher.

  1. Leg Extension:

We do not need to remind you how exhausting your leg days in the gym can be. Leg exercises generally target multiple muscle groups, which can be one reason that you get tired and have difficulty balancing over a course of time. 

Leg extension can be a great pre-exhaust movement or can be done as a final movement in your leg assault. 

  1. Cable Push-Down:
benefits of isolation exercises
Courtesy: Athlos Fitness

This isolation exercise targets your triceps and works great in maximizing muscle activation of the lateral and medial triceps heads. You can also manipulate this exercise in different ways, including body position, grip, and the type of handle utilized. 

However, do remember not to flare your elbows, since it reduces the tension in the triceps.

We hope this article helps you understand the best about isolation exercises. You must understand that isolation exercises might not always be the best option, but can be exceedingly great in certain situations. Hence, it is for you to assess what type of workout your body needs at a specific time. Pinpoint precision, i.e. focus on particular muscles can be achieved through these, while compound exercises can opt for broader results. 

Find out more about exercises and do your research before you take up something new.