Isolated exercises are exercises that involve only one joint (which is why they are also called single joint exercises), in isolation from or with only minor participation of other muscles. As these exercises help you work on details, they can be very beneficial.
Next to isolated exercises, there are also compound exercises, which involve cooperation of at least two joints. The best effects are achieved when these two are combined. Training plans should be elaborated in such a way as to make isolated exercises supplement compound exercises, which should be the core element of the workout.
What is the role of isolated exercises?
- A way to master the technique Isolated exercises allow you to perfectly focus on the muscle you are building up and involve all your power in this very group, paying attention to the slightest details of each movement. As a result, your workout is more effective and less injury-causing.
- A perfect way to start the training session Isolated exercises are done to induce preliminary fatigue of a big and strong muscle group, which are trained later during the workout mainly based on multi-joint movements.
- If used at the end of the training session, in turn, isolated exercises lay foundations for the next, much more intense workout.
- A good thing to try if you are injured Isolated exercises help you precisely adjust the load to individual muscle head pairs, as a result of which you can train even with injury of the specific muscle group. In this way the recovery and regeneration take less time.
- Additionally, isolated exercises facilitate the development of muscles which cannot be effectively pumped up with multi-joint exercises or are technically difficult to train.
- If you are a beginner:
In this phase you want to quickly build as much muscle mass as possible. Focus on compound exercises, as they will get you the most benefits in relation to the time you need to spend doing them. You can consider introducing one isolated exercise into your training, i.e. standing barbell forearm curls. The main beneficiary of this exercise will be the biceps. There is no need to do separate biceps exercises at this stage.
- If you have little time to work out, choose compound exercises. If you want to train the entire body, you would have to spend countless hours in the gym doing isolated exercises, while 3-4 properly selected compound exercises will do the job, giving you a perfect muscle stimulation and saving your time.
- If you have no plans to participate in bodybuilding competition. You can give up isolated exercises if you do a sport which does not require proportional muscles.
- Standing Barbell Arm Curls This exercise should be among the very first isolated exercises incorporated into a workout routine
- Seated or Standing Calf Raises The primary (main) exercises may not stimulate your calves enough, wherefore certain disproportions in the shape of both legs can occur after some time.
When are isolated exercises waste of time?
There is a certain hierarchy of importance of individual isolated exercises
Doing a big number of different isolated exercises is not recommended. Such an approach should only be selected by those who want to take part in competitions. Yet, the reason is always the same: disproportions between muscles and body which is still far from being perfect.
To sum up, isolated exercises allow you to master your technique, improve your motor features and accelerate recovery from injuries. Yet, as any other tool, it must be properly used to bring benefits rather than losses.