Are Isolation Weight Training Workouts Counterproductive For Maximum Muscle Gain?

Published: 04th March 2009
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A widely believed bodybuilding notion asserts the superiority of compound weight lifting exercises as compared with isolation movements; proponents claim that the most effective method of muscle gain involves choosing weight lifting workout plans that stimulate the most muscle groups. Moreover, followers of this type of weight training believe that because the amount of weight used in compound exercise is larger than isolation movements, total muscle gain should also be significantly 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 completely on compound workouts, with the idea that this will provide the most significant muscle size gains.

As usual with bodybuilding folklore, the truth is far different from the magazine claims, as although compound weight lifting exercises are in fact extremely potent, and should become a part of any effective weight lifting workout plan, a few isolation exercises are also a necessity for any bodybuilder who wishes to produce the best possible muscle gains, and those who ignore isolation exercise will begin to develop a disproportional physique, with smaller muscle groups, such as the arms, becoming less impressive as the back and chest regions begin to burst with muscularity, and this disparity stems from a lack of proper isolation methods.

Arms are in fact one muscle group where this is extremely common, with many claiming that compound back exercises are sufficient to promote complete biceps development, and consistent compound chest and shoulder exercises will beef up the triceps with massive amounts of muscle mass, all without isolation exercises to focus upon these specific areas. Obviously, performing compound weight lifting movements will certainly help the smaller muscles such as the biceps to improve, but the emphasis of the workout set when performing a compound weight training movement such as seated rows is the back, with the biceps, in this instance, used for support in completing this exercise. The goal is to focus upon the back muscles during seated row, and as a result, the arms will not receive considerable overload since the back muscles are to achieve maximum emphasis, meaning that the biceps are only trained to a small percentage of their potential capacity. This same idea applies to triceps during the bench press, where the goal is to overload the pecs, and the triceps are not to fail before the chest in order for the exercise to function as intended, therefore, the triceps only receive partial overload.

Because of this, isolation exercises targeting smaller muscles become necessary if those areas are to reach their genetic potential for muscle growth, meaning that isolation weight lifting exercises shunned by many bodybuilders, such as preacher curls, barbell curls, side laterals, and triceps pushdowns become critical in offering sufficient overload to achieve failure for smaller muscles, as a bodybuilder, with these additional exercises, is then able to push those isolated muscles to total failure, and therefore lead to the greatest muscle growth.

There is no doubt that an effective weight training workout system cannot be based upon isolation exercises alone, and some on the other extreme mistakenly become obsessed with performing every available weight lifting variation of a particular exercise, extending workout length to the point of ineffectiveness. Therefore, the proper combination of compound and isolation weight training exercises are necessary for those who wish to produce the most dramatic gains in muscle size, without bypassing any specific muscle group. The mistake many make is to either surround their weight lifting workout routines with far too few isolation exercises, where smaller muscle groups suffer, or they instead perform such a substantial quantity of isolation exercises that their weight training workout sessions lack intensity, which destroys the potential for maximum muscle gains.

Remember that the most potent bodybuilding methods involve a perfect blend of both compound and isolation weight training movements to dodge any of these potential pitfalls. If you currently find that smaller muscles such as the biceps, shoulders and triceps are lagging in size when compared with your larger muscles (chest, back, quads, etc), then contemplate implementing some isolation movements for these specific muscles so that they can grow to their maximum genetic limits.

Francesco Castano authors, a workout routine for muscle gain without supplements or drugs. He also owns, teaching exactly how to lose fat without supplements.

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