I get asked a lot similar questions, so over the next month both on my Instagram (@fitchicnic) and on here, I’ll be going through the alphabet talking about some of the most common health and fitness related questions and topics.
I is for Isolation Exercises
Isolation exercises place an emphasis on a single muscle or muscle group (eg. A bicep curl), rather than Compound exercises which do more than one (eg. Press ups, pull ups.)
If you’re new to fitness or have little time to exercise, doing compound movements will be better to focus on as you’ll be working the entire body, you’ll be lifting heavier weights, and your workouts will be more ‘bang for your buck’ (you’ll be getting generally fitter and stronger quicker.) The same can be said for athletic performance goals (jumping higher, running longer and faster.)
Saying that, Isolation exercises are great for shaping the body aesthetically once you’ve mastered the compounds, and for sorting out muscle imbalances (eg. If all you did were squats then your quads would be stronger than your hamstrings, or if you did a lot of benching/overhead work then your shoulders wouldn’t have that ‘capped’ 3D look.) Isolation exercises allow you to train the small, hard to activate muscles, which is why they’re also used during physio work and injury rehabilitation.
If you’re including both in your workouts, then start off with the larger Compounds at the start when you’re less tired, and then progress to the Isolation exercises later on.