Isolation Exercises to boost your workout
10. Lying Leg Raise
The lying leg raise is one of the best isolation exercises to consider if you’re interested in firming up your stomach and gaining functional strength in the core, . This movement is great for working all areas of the abs and even to some degree, the obliques (your ?love handles?).
The trick when doing the lying leg raise to ensure that you are fully engaging your abs is to avoid letting your lower back come up off the floor, which would instantly take stress off those ab muscles and to lower the legs down and back up in a very slow and controlled movement pattern.
Many people will swing the legs up and down, which will immediately reduce the tension on the core and render the exercise nearly useless. Not to mention, it could even put you at risk for injury if you do it often enough, so be very careful about how you’re going through that exercise. It will be more challenging to go slow, but even if it means performing fewer reps, at least you?ll know they will be good reps.
9. Glute Kickback
Glute isolation exercises should definitely include squats, deadlifts, and lunges in your workout program. These compound exercises will really hit these muscles hard, filling out their shape and helping you see optimal progress.
In addition to that though, it can be helpful to perform some isolation work as well, which will help to further fatigue the muscles and really get them sitting up and responding maximally. You must remember that in order to get muscles to grow stronger and larger if that is your goal, you need to give them a reason to do so. This involves pushing them past their limit, so really take the reps higher on this movement and feel that burn set in.
Include this in your glute isolation workout preferably twice after a hard leg day and soon you will be noticing the benefits of doing so.
8. Bicep Curl
The bicep curl is one of the most well known exercises out there as even those who are brand new to the gym often know how to perform this one. With many different variations that can be done – regular bicep curl, barbell bicep curl, and hammer curls, you can switch it up often if you wish.
When doing the bicep curl isolation exercises, aim to keep the elbows pressed into the sides rather than letting them flop around next to the body. If they do that, you?ll be putting yourself at a greater risk for elbow or wrist pain down the road, while also taking much of the stress off the biceps themselves.
Finally, no cheating with this movement! Too many people are in the bad habit of only going part way down through the exercise, meaning they miss out on what is the most challenging section – the lower half to the bottom.
7. Tricep Rope Press Down
If one of your goals is to build stronger arms, you won’t want to overlook the power of the tricep rope press down. This exercise is a great one for building up massive triceps, which will then make your arms look that much larger. Most people who want to build arms go straight for bicep curls, but you actually have more total mass in the tricep muscle, so by enlarging that muscle, you accomplish more of your goal.
This tricep isolation exercise is a movement that will garner plenty of lactic acid build-up, so get ready to feel the burn as you do it. Push through and remember to use good form. Avoid using momentum to press the weight up so it’s all on those three heads that make up your tricep muscle.
6. Straight Arm Pull-Downs
To help build width in your body, turn to straight arm pull-downs. This lat exercise will without a doubt get you feeling it and optimizing their growth and development. While not a complete replacement for say a pull-down, this exercise is going to garner you some excellent definition when done frequently enough.
As you do this one, press the chest down towards the floor so you can really feel that stretch in the lat muscle when the hands are at the top of the movement pattern. The more you can feel that stretch in the muscle, the more you?ll get out of this exercise as you begin the range of motion to decent the weight down.
Pause at the bottom for full effect and muscle contraction and then slowly let the arms move back to the top, resisting as you go.
5. Hamstring Curl
Building great glutes and hamstrings is one thing that will really complete your body, yet one thing that many people completely overlook. If your focus has always been on developing that powerful quad sweep, you?ll want to start paying more attention to the back of your physique. Not only will this help ensure that you are looking your best, but it also helps create better symmetry in the body and prevent unwanted muscular imbalances that could potentially lead to injury.
When doing the hamstring exercise, slow and steady is the name of your game. Feel the contraction both on the way up as well as the way down as you control the weight through the decent. This will help you get a challenge on both the concentric as well as eccentric components.
4. Chest Fly
The chest fly is an excellent choice for anyone who wants to improve their pec muscles and give their chest more overall definition. This chest isolation exercise is one that can be done on a flat bench or an incline, however do be aware that if you do it on an incline, you are going to bring the front delts into play to a larger degree, which will then make this more of a compound exercise compared to an isolation.
When doing the chest fly, your main focus should be on the mind-muscle connection. Really feel that muscle coming together, contracting hard as you go about the range of motion so you can get all the muscle fibers firing maximally.
Also watch that you don’t overextend the range of motion of this exercise. Doing too far down can be taxing on your shoulder joint and you won’t want that to put you at risk for injury.
3. Rear Delt Fly
The one muscle group that too many people forget about is the rear delts. They work the front delts and side delts just fine, but when it comes to their rear delts, they’re lost.
While you certainly will hit your rear delts to some degree when doing any of your rowing exercises, you aren’t going to isolate them like you would doing a full on isolation exercise.
Enter the rear delt fly. This one is excellent for exhausting those muscles and really getting them burning, feeling the intensity of the exercise. The rear delt fly can be done towards the end of your isolation workout program as a finisher and is a great one to do in superset with other lateral raises. Do it with dumbbells or cables – your choice.
2. Lateral Raise
One of the best isolation exercises you can perform if you want to build an impressive upper body is the lateral raise. The nice thing about the lateral raise exercise is that it?ll help you build that ?capped? appearance to your shoulders while also helping to increase your overall shoulder width, which will in time help your shoulders appear wider.
The wider your shoulder appears, the smaller your waistline appears, which is great news for both males and females. Most men want to achieve that elusive ?V-tapered? look and enough lateral raises added to your program will certainly help you get on your way to achieving that.
On the flip side, for women, having nicely developed shoulders will help your waist look slimmer, which is also a common goal for women. So this top isolation exercise will assist both genders equally well and should definitely be a part of any regular program plan.
1. Leg Extension
Finally, the last of the top isolation exercises that you should consider performing is the leg extension. If you want to really feel a muscle burn, this one will help you achieve that like no other. Leg extensions are excellent for strengthen the quad muscles, giving you that quad sweep definition you may be after.
The great thing about this isolation exercise as well is that you can alter the position of the feet so that you are targeting the muscle from a different angle. For example, if you turn the feet inwards, you?ll target your outer quad sweep very nicely, however if you turn the feet outwards, you?ll hit the inner quad to a larger degree. This allows you to add a level of customization to your workout program and prevent your body from adapting and hitting a progress plateau.
Most people will typically do this isolation exercise towards the end of their workout session to really finish off their legs after doing all their squats, lunges, and leg presses, however if you really want to boost the intensity of your plan, you can also consider doing it prior to squatting as a pre-fatigue technique. Note that if you do this, your squat weight will most definitely come down, so don’t expect the same performance you?d achieve if you had squatted in a fresh state.
Ready for the next challenge, check out more exercises to reach your full physical potential!
I’m Troy and I’m the creator of SuperHuman You and Co-Founder of Alpha Lion.
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