There are many options when it comes to exercising. Isolation exercises are perfect for rest days to target one specific set of muscles and let the other rest. Most exercises can be classified under one of two fitness categories: strength training and cardio. Cardio keeps your heart beating and blood flowing. Strength training builds muscle mass and power.
Although it might seem that strength training is one type of fitness, there are many subcategories to strength training. Each has its own specialty and focus. Each type of strength training serves a different purpose, so there is no one category that is better than another. While one type of strength training may be more effective for a person with a particular body type or fitness goal, another might find the exercises less effective.
Today’s focus is on isolation exercises. This strength training category isolates a muscle while not affecting other muscles. You may be asking, “What are isolation exercises?” Before we dive in?
They are any movement that uses only one muscle or group of muscles in your body, while the rest of your body is not affected. Holding a dumbbell in one hand, and then lifting it towards your chest (a “bicep curl”) is an example of isolation because you are only using your biceps. Compound exercises are the opposite of isolation exercises. Multiple muscle groups can be worked at once with compound exercises. Because they work for multiple muscle groups simultaneously, squats are a good example of compound exercises. They strengthen your glute, core, and quad muscles.
Isolation Exercise Benefits
Isolation exercises have the advantage of building muscle in a particular area and excluding other areas. Although isolated exercises may not be appropriate for all fitness goals, they can be especially helpful for those with weak muscles from injury or who need to strengthen a specific area. For example, if you are on crutches for more than a month because of a broken leg, the uninjured leg may be stronger and the injured leg weaker due to inactivity. Because they can help restore balance and harmony to the body, isolation exercises are very beneficial.
If you are interested in the aesthetics and strength of strength training, isolation moves and exercises can be very beneficial. For example, if your goal is to build muscle mass, you will definitely use isolation exercises. These exercises can be controlled to pay attention to which muscles are being built and worked on, making them ideal for advanced strength training and bodybuilding.
Isolation Exercise Drawbacks
Isolation exercises might not be the best choice if you want to strengthen your entire body.
While compound movements and exercises can work for multiple muscle groups simultaneously, speeding up muscle-building, isolation exercises are slower and only focus on one muscle group. We recommend that you do a lot of compound exercises if your goal is to build your whole body. Isolation exercises are used to balance or define certain muscles in small amounts. Isolation exercises can be great for weak muscles that need strengthening in order to restore balance. If your muscles are not balanced, and you do isolation exercises, you risk over-strengthening a target muscle. This can cause an imbalance in your body and possibly lead to injury.
Isolation exercises shouldn’t be your primary type of muscle-strengthening exercise. Use them to tailor your workout according to your body’s capabilities. If you are interested in developing certain muscles or balancing your body at the gym, you may be able to turn isolation exercises into complex movements. Regular bicep curls can be transformed from being a simple isolation exercise to a full-body movement if you balance one leg while holding the other in front. Your legs are now working, your core is functioning, and you’re developing balance and strength.
Refer to a specialist if you are unsure whether isolation exercises are right for you.
Isolation exercises can cause an imbalance in your muscles. However, if you are mindful of them and incorporate them into your routines that emphasize compound movements, it can be a good idea to use them as a tool to target specific muscles.
These are our top-rated isolation exercises:
Start by standing with your feet at hip-distance apart. Use an underhand grip to hold a dumbbell in each of your hands. Keep your shoulders back and chest elevated, then lift the dumbbells towards your chest. After you have completed the curl, lower the dumbbells slowly back to their original position.
Leaning over, either with one hand and the other knee on a bench, your back flat on the ground or with your front foot flat on the ground, place your front foot forward. If your feet are together, hold a dumbbell in one hand, or one in each. Keep your elbows bent at 90 degrees. Next, bend your elbows to straighten your arms. Continue this without letting your arm(s), swing.
This is a great exercise because it doesn’t require any additional equipment and can be done anywhere. Start by lying on your back. Next, extend your legs towards the ceiling and bend your knees so your feet are flat under your glutes. Spread your arms wide and place your palms flat on the ground. Push your hips up towards your feet, raising your hips. Then, slowly return your hips to the floor.
Where Can You Do Isolation Exercises?
While isolation exercises can be done almost anywhere, you can find a lot of useful equipment and machines to help you target specific muscle groups. When you think about it, most of our day-to-day movements require compound movements that involve multiple muscles. To focus on a particular muscle requires concentration and intention. Gym equipment and machinery are made to help you do that. Want more information on isolation techniques? Contact Apex Performance today to find out how you can benefit from our programs which incorporate isolation movements!