what are isolation exercises

What Are Isolation Exercises?

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When starting out on your fitness journey, it can be tempting to work out every single muscle in your body, every single day. But this isn’t necessary (and in reality, it isn’t possible, either!) In order to achieve the best results, it’s important to focus on specific muscle groups and work them in isolation.

This is where isolation exercises come in. These exercises specifically target one muscle or muscle group, allowing you to focus on strength building and toning. While it may feel like you’re neglecting other areas of your body, trust us – the results you’ll see from properly focusing on specific muscles will be worth it.

So, where should you start? Keep reading for our expert guide to isolation exercises – what they are, how to do them, and the benefits they have to offer.

 

What are Isolation Exercises?

Over the past decade, we’ve seen an array of fitness influencers emerge – some helpful and beneficial, others not so much. The ‘approved’ workouts that prevailed were often high-intensity, full-body routines that promised to tone and tighten the entire body in a short period of time. 

As beneficial as these workouts can be, they’re not always ideal for everyone. In fact, for those who are new to fitness or are carrying a few extra pounds, these types of workouts can be downright dangerous.

Enter: isolation exercises.

Isolation exercises are a great way for beginners to ease into a fitness routine, or for those who are looking to specifically target and tone a certain muscle group. These exercises involve isolating one muscle or muscle group and working it independently of the rest of the body.

The opposite of isolation exercises are compound exercises, and both have their own unique benefits that complement one another. One isn’t necessarily better – balance is what matters. 

Some of the most common isolation exercises include bicep curls, tricep extensions, and leg extensions. However, there are countless other options to choose from – so don’t be afraid to get creative!

 

Do Isolation Exercises Build Muscle?

The answer to this question is a resounding yes! Isolation exercises are a great way to build muscle mass and definition. In fact, research shows that correctly-done isolation exercises can be just as effective for building muscle as full-body workouts.

This is because when you focus on one specific muscle group, you’re able to give that muscle the attention it needs in order to grow and strengthen. Additionally, by working with a specific muscle group, you’re able to achieve greater definition and separation.

So if you’re looking to build some serious muscle mass, isolation exercises are the way to go!

 

Isolation Exercises for your Whole Body… One Section at a Time

Let’s get down to business and take a look at some specific isolation exercises that you can start incorporating into your routine.

 

 

Quads, Glutes, and Hamstrings

 

Quadriceps Extensions: To do this exercise, you’ll need to lie on your back on a bench and place your feet flat on the ground. Hold a weight in each hand and extend your legs until they’re straight. slowly lower them back down to the starting position.

Hamstring Curls: Place your feet on an elevated surface with your knees bent to 90 degrees. Hold a weight in each hand and curl your legs up towards your butt, then slowly lower them back down.

Glute Bridge: Lie flat on your back with feet flat on the ground and shoulder-width apart, legs bent to 90 degrees. Drive your heels into the ground, then lift your torso and upper legs into the air, extending your hips until your thighs and torso are in line with each other – hold for two seconds.

Calf Raises: Place your feet hip-width apart and press down into the balls of both feet to raise your body upward. Keep your heels pressed down and hold for two seconds before lowering yourself back to the starting position.

 

Back Muscles

Lat Pulldowns: Sit with your torso straight, grip the bar with an overhand grip, and pull the bar down to the middle of your chest. Pause and squeeze your shoulder blades together at the bottom of the movement before slowly returning to the starting position.

Seated Cable Rows: Sit with your torso straight, pull the cable attachment to the middle of your chest, and squeeze your shoulder blades together at the top of the movement.

Rear Delt Flyes: Position yourself in a bent-over position with a weight in each hand. With your palms facing each other, raise your arms out to the sides until they’re in line with your shoulders. Pause and squeeze your shoulder blades together before slowly returning to the starting position.

Deadlifts: Position a barbell on the floor in front of you, stand with feet hip-width apart, and grip the bar with an overhand grip. Bend at your hips and knees to grasp the bar, then drive your heels into the ground and pull the bar up to hip height, keeping your back straight. Pause for two seconds, then slowly lower the bar back to the starting position.

 

Pectorals and Shoulders

Chest Press: Lie on your back on a bench with feet flat on the ground, holding a weight in each hand with your palms facing forward. Bring the weights together directly above your chest, then slowly lower them to the sides of your chest. Pause and squeeze your pecs before returning to the starting position.

Shoulder Press: Sit with a weight in each hand, palms facing forward, and bring the weights to shoulder height so your upper arms are parallel to the floor. Bend your elbows and slowly lower the weights behind your head before pressing them back to the starting position.

Arnold Press: Sit with a weight in each hand, palms facing your thighs. Bring the weights to shoulder height so that your upper arms are parallel to the floor, then rotate your wrists so that your palms face forward. Bend your elbows and slowly lower the weights behind your head before pressing them back to the starting position.

Lateral Raise: Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding a weight in each hand with your palms facing your thighs. Raise your arms out to the sides until they’re in line with your shoulders, then pause and squeeze your shoulder blades together before slowly returning to the starting position.

 

Biceps and triceps

Seated Bicep Curl: Sit with a weight in each hand, palms facing forward, and bring the weights to shoulder height so your upper arms are parallel to the floor. Bend your elbows and slowly lower the weights behind your head before pressing them back to the starting position.

Hammer Curl: Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding a weight in each hand with your palms facing your thighs. Curl the weights up towards your shoulders, keeping your elbows close to your sides.

Tricep Extension: Lie on your back on a bench and place your feet flat on the ground. Hold a weight in each hand and extend your legs until they’re straight. Slowly lower them back down to the starting position.

Overhead Tricep Extension: Sit with a weight in each hand, palms facing forward, and bring the weights to shoulder height so your upper arms are parallel to the floor. Bend your elbows and slowly lower the weights behind your head before pressing them back to the starting position.

 

Taking Your Fitness to the Next Level

As you can see, there are plenty of isolation exercises to choose from – so no matter what your fitness goals may be, you’re sure to find the perfect one for you. Just be sure to focus on proper form and technique, and always start with a lower weight until you’re comfortable with the exercise.

At Fort Fitness, we work with people of all fitness levels to create exercise routines and combine forms of exercise that work for you. If you’re interested in learning more about isolation exercises and how to implement them in your exercise regime, call 949-544-1557. Fort Fitness has got your back!

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