For the last posts we´ve been talking about types of exercises, we talked about bodyweight and compound now lets talk about isolation exercises which are helpful for some muscles.
Isolation exercises are single-joint movements and they work one muscle at a time so we can´t lift heavy weight with these exercises. They may not be the best option to gain strength, but they have their space on some workouts.
When you go to the gym you´ll see most girls ang guys doing a lot of different exercises and using different machines, most of those exercises are isolation exercises. If you start exercising and you get assigned a trainer she or he will also make you do different exercises with small dumbbells or bands, most of those exercises are isolation. If you´re starting your fitness journey and your goal is to lose weight and maintain a healthy weight considering muscle mass and body fat and maintain optimal health then you don´t need a lot of this isolation exercises in fact most of them can be a waste of time for you, but you still need to know why people in the industry use them and why they are important for some girls or guys, especially for bodybuilders and those who compete.
If your goal is to lose fat and get lean, you can create a great exercise program with just bodyweight and compound exercises but if your goal is to gain muscle you can add some isolation exercises to hit weaker muscles and increase the amount of work for the muscles.
While for compound movements you can lift heavy weight and work on myofibrillar hypertrophy, strength and power, with isolation movements you can´t lift heavy.
If you feel like a muscle group needs more work, then you can use isolation exercises to give that muscle the extra work it´s missing. You´ll be using a weight we can lift for around 12 to15 reps, you can go a bit heavier and hit the 10 to 12 reps. In both reps ranges you´ll be working on sarcoplasmic hypertrophy range (if you want to learn more about types of hypertrophy click here).
There are so many isolation exercises and variations for every muscle group that it can get overwhelming, to keep it simple you can stick with some few exercises for 2 or 3 months so that you can see your progress, especially if you are starting your fitness journey. You need to get familiar with the movements using lighter weight before you can add more weight and that process takes time.
When you focus on bodyweight and compound movements, you may feel like some muscles are weaker or lagging and want to work them more, for this you use isolation exercises to hit those muscle specifically. 1 or 2 exercises for those weaker muscles is all you need, there´s no reason to do a lot more, if you feel like we still need more you can use some of the variables and advance techniques you´ll be talking about on future post like rest pause, failure training, drop sets, etc.
When your goal is gaining muscle you may be looking to gain muscle mass on one specific muscle so the way to do this is by adding more volume which you can do by combining bodyweight, compound and isolation exercises, you can use bodyweight and compound for heavy weight low reps and you can add 1 or 2 isolation exercises with lower weight and high reps, this way you can hit that muscle with both types of hypertrophy and add more volume.
One point that needs to be really clear is that isolation exercises isolate muscles so they work one muscle at a time this means that you won´t be able to lift heavy weight, you use them to add more volume to your workouts especially on weaker muscles, if you let your ego get in the way and you try to lift more weight you can get injured. You need to avoid all types of injuries because they can take us off the gym for a certain period of time.
You exercise at home or in the gym to build your best physique possible, one that looks great and that is useful so you don´t care about what others around you are doing, you focus on your progress on being better than the last time you did it.
All exercises we can find in books, magazines, internet, etc they all belong to one of the 3 types we´ve seen in the last posts which are bodyweight, compound and isolation but we can find so many different exercises that can be overwhelming if we try to do them all. As I´ve said before we can keep things simple by focusing on what works, we can stick to a few exercises for each muscle group and develop a great physique.
I know this is a lot of information and most of them may not be useful for you but understanding why they are so popular on gyms is important. I mentioned before that weight loss and fitness can get very complex but I´ll try to keep everything as simple as possible, for what I remember this is one of the most complex information I´ll be sharing with you so don´t get overwhelmed by it or stressed out.
On future posts we´ll be sharing easy tips and steps you can follow to lose weight so stay tuned.
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