The Greatest Isolation Workout routines for Glutes, Chest, Quads, and Extra

The science is evident: isolation workout routines assist you construct muscle.

The problem is, many weightlifters spin their wheels on suboptimal isolation workout routines and skip one of the best ones, which prevents them from gaining as a lot muscle and energy as they need to.

On this article we’ll assist you keep away from this by outlining one of the best isolation workout routines for every physique half, so you’ll be able to optimize your exercises and enhance muscle and energy achieve.

(And if you’d like a energy coaching program that features all one of the best isolation workout routines to maximise muscle progress, take a look at my packages for women and men, Larger Leaner Stronger and Thinner Leaner Stronger.)

Table of Contents

What Are Isolation Workout routines?

There are two varieties of weightlifting workout routines: compound workout routines and isolation workout routines.

A compound train entails a number of joints and muscle mass. For instance, the squat entails shifting the knees, ankles, and hips and requires a whole-body coordinated effort, with the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes bearing the brunt of the load.

An isolation train entails only one joint and muscle. For instance, the biceps curl entails shifting the elbow and trains the biceps solely.

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Compound vs. Isolation Workout routines

Compound workout routines assist you to practice dozens of muscle mass concurrently and raise extra weight safely, which is very useful for muscle and energy achieve.

Additionally they allow you to practice extra effectively (one compound train can do the work of a number of isolation workout routines) and raise testosterone and progress hormone ranges greater than isolation workout routines, which can have a small however useful impact on muscle achieve. 

Due to this fact, a well-designed weightlifting program ought to primarily encompass compound workout routines.

Nevertheless, most individuals shouldn’t exclude isolation workout routines.

Research shows that packages containing each compound and isolation workout routines promote extra progress than these solely containing compound workout routines.

They’re additionally a sensible choice for coaching your muscle mass when doing compound workout routines is not possible.

As an illustration, after a number of units of compound pulling workout routines, your lats, traps, and rhomboids is likely to be exhausted, whereas your biceps would possibly nonetheless be comparatively recent. Coaching them with just a few units of curls ensures they’re adequately stimulated, which is important to maximize progress.

Moreover, isolation workout routines make it straightforward to coach your muscle mass in several positions and thru completely different ranges of motions, which seemingly produces extra balanced and full muscle progress than coaching them with simply 2 or 3 compound workout routines.

One other legitimate motive to do isolation workout routines is that they’re enjoyable, and pleasing and interesting exercises are sometimes extra productive than boring ones.

Thus, whereas compound workout routines will give most of your features, including isolation workout routines can enhance progress much more. That’s why I like to recommend dedicating roughly 80% of your coaching time to compound workout routines and the remaining 20% to isolation workout routines.

The Greatest Isolation Workout routines for Your Total Physique

Chest Isolation Workout routines

1. Dumbbell Fly


The dumbbell fly is a extremely efficient pec isolation train as a result of it trains your pecs when deeply stretched, which is essential for maximizing muscle progress. 

2. Cable Fly

cable fly

The cable fly trains your pecs equally to the dumbbell fly. The one distinction is the cable fly retains fixed stress in your pecs all through the complete vary of movement which can make it barely higher for gaining muscle. 

3. Machine Fly

machine fly

The machine fly is an efficient fly variation for brand spanking new weightlifters particularly because it’s simpler to be taught and requires much less coordination than free-weight workout routines.

Again Isolation Workout routines

1. Cable Pullover

cable pullover

The cable pullover is a wonderful lat isolation train as a result of it trains your lats by means of shoulder extension (shifting your arms from out in entrance of you to both aspect of your torso and past), which maximally activates your lats.

2. Shrug


The shrug is a entice isolation train that primarily trains the higher traps, which when developed assist “body” your higher physique and aesthetically join your neck to your shoulders.

3. Again Extension

back extension

The again extension strengthens the decrease again, making it a superb choice for many who can’t do workout routines just like the deadlift on account of previous accidents.

Shoulder Isolation Workout routines

1. Dumbbell Entrance Increase

Dumbbell Front Raise

The entrance increase isolates the anterior deltoid, the entrance a part of your shoulder muscle mass. Whereas this can be useful in some eventualities, most individuals don’t have to do entrance raises as a result of their “entrance delts” get sufficient stimulation from urgent workout routines. 

2. Dumbbell Aspect Lateral Increase

side lateral raise

The dumbbell aspect lateral increase isolates the lateral (aspect) head of the deltoids. Coaching this portion of the delts is essential for full, proportionate shoulder improvement.

3. Dumbbell Rear Lateral Increase

PULL-Dumbbell Rear Lateral Raise

The dumbbell rear lateral increase is a superb rear delt isolation train that trains the small, cussed sections on the again of your shoulders that usually want further consideration if you’d like them to develop as rapidly as the opposite elements of your shoulders.

Glute Isolation Workout routines

1. Hip Thrust

hip thrust

The positioning of the barbell throughout hip thrusts forces your glutes to work onerous all through the movement, which is a novel good thing about this train.

2. Glute Bridge

Glute Bridge

The glute bridge is a helpful newbie isolation train for glutes as a result of it’s straightforward to be taught, permits you to begin together with your physique weight, and strengthens your glutes successfully.

3. Cable Pull-By means of

Cable Pull-Through

In contrast to different glute workout routines involving the same motion sample (e.g., the Romanian deadlift), the cable pull-through permits you to practice your glutes with out stressing your backbone, making it a helpful choice for individuals with decrease again points. The draw back, nevertheless, is that you would be able to’t raise a lot weight on the cable pull-through earlier than it turns into awkward, which limits the train’s energy and muscle constructing potential. 

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Quad Isolation Workout routines

1. Sissy Squat

sissy squat

The sissy squat is distinctive as a result of it trains all elements of the quadriceps, together with the rectus femoris, a piece of the quads that almost all compound workout routines don’t optimally stimulate.

2. Leg Extension

The leg extension is a confirmed leg isolation train that trains your total quads. The one draw back is it could actually worsen your knees, particularly when you’ve got a historical past of knee accidents. 

3. Reverse Nordic Curl

Kneeling Sissy Squat

Equally to the sissy squat, the reverse Nordic curl trains all elements of the quads, together with the rectus femoris. The one draw back is that the reverse nordic curl requires a level of flexibility many individuals lack, which suggests it isn’t appropriate for much less supple weightlifters. 

Hamstring Isolation Workout routines

1. Seated Leg Curl

leg curl

In contrast to most hamstring workout routines, the seated leg curl trains your hamstrings by means of a full vary of movement and in a stretched place, which is why research shows it’s some of the efficient hamstring workout routines there may be. 

2. Mendacity Leg Curl


The mendacity leg curl trains the hamstrings equally to the seated leg curl. The one draw back is it doesn’t practice your hamstrings in a totally stretched place, so it in all probability isn’t fairly as efficient for gaining muscle and energy. However, it’s nonetheless a viable choice if you happen to desire the way it feels or it’s the one machine you’ve entry to.

3. Nordic Hamstring Curl

Nordic Hamstring Curl

Research shows that the Nordic leg curl is a unbelievable body weight hamstring train, which can additionally reduce your danger of struggling a hamstring damage. 

Calf Isolation Workout routines

1. Seated Calf Increase


The seated calf increase machine trains your total calf however emphasizes your soleus, which contributes greater than the gastrocnemius to the general measurement of your calves. This makes the seated calf increase machine top-of-the-line calf workout routines for mass.

2. Standing Barbell Calf Increase


The standing barbell calf increase is an efficient calf train for coaching the gastrocnemius. Nevertheless, it requires numerous steadiness and coordination, so it’s finest to make use of lighter weights and better reps.

3. Leg Press Calf Increase


The leg press calf increase is simple to arrange and cargo with heavy weights, which makes it best for constructing measurement and energy in your calves.

Biceps Isolation Workout routines

1. Dumbbell Biceps Curl

PULL-Alternating Dumbbell Curl

Alternating dumbbell curls assist you to practice every arm independently, which helps stop one arm from getting larger or stronger than the opposite. 

2. Dumbbell Incline Curl


In contrast to most different biceps workout routines, the dumbbell incline curl keeps stress on the biceps all through the complete vary of movement, which is essential for creating balanced measurement and energy.

3. Hammer Curl

PULL-Dumbbell Hammer Curl

The hammer curl emphasizes the brachialis, a small muscle that lies beneath the biceps that considerably provides to the biceps’ measurement and circumference.

Triceps Isolation Workout routines

1. Overhead Triceps Extension

PUSH-Seated Triceps Press

The dumbbell overhead triceps extension is a prime triceps train as a result of it locations the arms overhead which fully stretches the triceps, which is essential for maximizing muscle progress.

2. Triceps Pushdown

PUSH-Triceps Pushdown

Whereas the triceps extension trains all three heads of your triceps, analysis exhibits it emphasizes the lengthy head, making it notably good for including measurement to your higher arms.

3. Skullcrusher


The skullcrusher trains the marginally smaller medial and lateral heads of the triceps, guaranteeing you’ve outlined, proportional higher arms.

Forearm Isolation Workout routines

1. Forearm Curl


The forearm curl immediately trains the forearms with out fatiguing your different upper-body muscle mass, which suggests it doesn’t intrude together with your progress on different workout routines. It additionally requires minimal gear and is comfy for most individuals. 

2. Useless Dangle


This is a wonderful forearm builder that doesn’t put an excessive amount of put on and tear in your joints. It’s additionally a superb take a look at of forearm energy. In case you can keep your grip for 60 seconds, you’re above common. And if you are able to do it for two minutes, you’ve acquired Orangutan-level grip energy. 🙂 

3. Plate Maintain

plate hold

Like lifeless hangs and forearm curls, the plate maintain successfully isolates your forearm muscle mass. It additionally strengthens your forearms in the same place to what you’d use when deadlift, which can enhance your deadlift efficiency.

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Ab Isolation Workout routines

1. Cable Crunch

cable crunch

The largest good thing about the cable crunch is it’s straightforward so as to add weight to. With the ability to add weight to “crunch” workout routines increases their effectiveness and means that you can use progressive overload (which is an important driver of muscle progress). 

2. Hanging Leg Increase

Hanging Leg Raise

Research exhibits that workout routines that contain bringing the pelvis towards the chest, such because the hanging leg increase, are finest for coaching the decrease abs—an important a part of constructing a six-pack.

3. Air Bicycle


Research exhibits the air bicycle is a unbelievable strategy to practice your obliques, the muscle mass beneath your “love handles” that assist “body” your abs.

FAQ #1: Are isolation workout routines essential?

They’re not important, however they’re useful for maximizing muscle achieve. 

As an illustration, analysis exhibits that combining isolation and compound workout routines causes extra progress than doing compound workout routines alone. 

FAQ #2: Ought to I do compound or isolation workout routines first?

At all times do compound workout routines first. 

It’s usually a good suggestion to do your hardest workout routines first in your exercises, adopted by the second hardest, and so forth.

Virtually talking, this implies beginning together with your hardest compound workout routines and ending together with your simpler isolation workout routines.

As an illustration, in case your lower-body exercise included the squat, Romanian deadlift, lunge, and leg curl, you’d need to do the squat first, Romanian deadlift second, lunge third, and leg curl final.

Organizing your exercises this manner permits you to put extra effort into probably the most difficult and rewarding workout routines, which ought to enhance muscle and energy achieve.

FAQ #3: Do isolation workout routines construct muscle?


Offered you raise heavy sufficient weights (~70-to-85% of your one-rep max), practice shut sufficient to failure, and progressively get stronger, isolation workout routines assist you construct muscle.

That mentioned, it is best to nonetheless prioritize compound workout routines when trying to achieve muscle. A helpful guideline is to spend round 80% of your coaching time on compound workout routines and the remaining 20% on isolation workout routines.

+ Scientific References