Are Isolation Weight Lifting Workouts Counterproductive For Maximum Muscle Building?

Feb 26 16:08 2009 Francesco Castano Print This Article

Many bodybuilders have been led to believe that compound weight training exercises should comprise every workout session. But, are those who neglect isolation exercises hampering overall muscle gain?

A widely held bodybuilding concept asserts the superiority of compound weight training exercises as compared with isolation movements; proponents claim that the most efficient method of muscle building involves choosing weight training exercises that utilize the most muscle groups. Moreover,Guest Posting those who follow this type of weight lifting believe that because the amount of weight used in compound exercise is larger than isolation movements, total muscle growth should also be far superior, and therefore a workout session should focus upon compound exercises as its foundation. But many propel this notion one step further, eliminating isolation exercises from their workout routine, focusing solely on compound workouts, with the assumption that this will provide the most significant muscle size gains.

As is normally the case with bodybuilding folklore, the truth is far different from the magazine claims, as although compound weight training exercises are in fact extremely effective, and should become the basis for any effective weight training workout routine, specific isolation exercises are also necessary for any weight lifter who wishes to produce the best possible muscle growth, and those who ignore isolation exercise can begin to produce a disproportional physique, with certain muscle groups, such as the arms, becoming far less impressive as the chest and back begin to burst with muscularity, and this issue stems from a lack of proper isolation methods.

Arms are in fact one area where this is very common, with many saying that heavy compound back exercises are sufficient to promote complete biceps development, and compound chest and shoulder movements will beef up the triceps with large amounts of muscle mass, all without isolation exercises to target these particular areas. Performing heavy compound weight training movements will certainly allow the smaller muscles such as the biceps to grow, but the focus of the workout set when engaging in a compound weight lifting exercise such as seated rows is the back, with the biceps, in this instance, used for support in completing this exercise. The goal is to fatigue the back muscles during seated row, and as a result, the arms will not receive considerable overload since the back muscles are to experience maximum emphasis, meaning that the biceps are only trained to a small percentage of their potential capacity. This same idea applies to triceps during bench press, where the goal is to overload the pecs, and the triceps are not to fail before the chest in order for the weight lifting movement to function as intended, therefore, the triceps only experience a fraction of the necessary overload.

Because of this, isolation exercises targeting smaller muscle groups become critical if those areas are to reach their genetic potential, meaning that isolation weight training exercises shunned by many bodybuilders, such as preacher curls, barbell curls, side laterals, and triceps dips become critical in providing needed overload to achieve failure for smaller muscle groups, as a bodybuilder, with these added exercises, is then able to propel those isolated muscles to complete failure, and therefore lead to the greatest possible muscle growth.

There is no doubt that a potent weight lifting workout plan cannot be based upon isolation exercises alone, and some on the other extreme unfortunately become fixated on performing every available weight training variation of a particular exercise, extending workout length to the point of emotional breakdown. Therefore, the proper combination of compound and isolation movements are necessary for those who wish to achieve the most dramatic gains in muscle growth, without neglecting any particular muscle group. The mistake many make is to either construct their weight training workout routines with insufficient isolation exercises, where certain muscle groups suffer, or they instead perform such a wide variety of isolation movements that their weight lifting workout sessions lack intensity, which derails the possibility for maximum muscle building.

Remember that the most effective bodybuilding methods involve a perfect balance of both compound and isolation weight lifting movements to avoid any of these potential pitfalls. If you currently feel that smaller muscle groups such as the triceps, shoulders, and biceps are lagging in size when compared with other muscles (chest, back, quads, etc), then consider adopting some isolation movements for these particular muscle groups so that they can improve to their maximum genetic potential.

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Francesco Castano
Francesco Castano

Francesco Castano authors, a diet and weight lifting program teaching the exact techniques for building muscle mass without supplements or drugs. He also owns, where you will find his natural weight loss diet program.

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