When going to the gym, performing isolation exercises may seem quite attractive. Many trainees like to work their biceps with this style of routine to tone and grow the arms. However, some people claim that there are better ways to do this with integrated training. Some say that compound exercise is the way to go and isolation is a waste of time. Some believe that a combination of the two is the best way to build muscle and tone up. In practice, all types of exercises have specific pros and cons.
To illustrate this idea, Ahmed Ahmed, also known as Ahmed Mokbel, explains the benefits and drawbacks of isolation exercises. “Isolation exercises: The name itself gives an indication as to what this group of exercises entail. This form of exercise, ‘isolates’ a specific muscle group and occurs at one joint only, this limits the participation of any other muscles. It is a very focused exercise,” Ahmed claims. He then adds, “this form of exercise has its both bright and dark sides, that’s why there should be a great combination between both isolation and compound exercises.”
On the first hand, he considers that isolation exercises are ideal for small muscles (for example they can stimulate the biceps and triceps quite conveniently). Besides, they are a necessary complement, “when performing integrated exercises, one can work on small muscle groups. However, developing these muscles must be complemented with higher impact exercises. And so, we have the isolated routines”. Also, such exercises motivate to train more since their impact is directly on our arms, we can see results easily, this visual effect can be quite motivating.
On the other hand, the problem with isolation exercises is that you engage very little muscle fiber. Thus, building muscle mass is localized and takes some time to become evident. Additionally, this exercise routine doesn’t promote the production of anabolic hormones. Isolation exercises can also cause muscle imbalances. If one muscle group is well-developed, but the opposite does not quite match its strength, the body is out of alignment.
Hence a trainee should know when to do such exercises, that’s why he/she should consider working with a personal trainer to help him/her develop a balanced circuit-training routine using different strength and resistance exercises to meet his/her fitness goals.