Best Isolation Exercises for Bodybuilding

Compound movements have been well studied over the last 20 years and have proved themselves to be the fastest way to add muscle bulk to your frame. However for improved muscle separation and definition we will all eventually need to do isolation movements that isolate only one muscle group.

This article would be 100 pages if we were to cover every isolation movement that one can do in the gym, so we have selected one isolation movement for each body-part (except calves, forearms and traps) which we will briefly describe how and why the movement is done effectively to achieve the muscle separation or definition you seek.

Inner and lower chest - Cable crossovers:

Cable cross-overs are a great movement to specifically isolate the inner pecs to get the separation from the upper and lower pectorals major and minor. The key to doing this movement correctly is to bring your arms, gripping the cables, as far back as possible feeling the full stretch. When you bring your hands together in front of you, squeeze and make sure you squeeze a little extra, great for developing the sort after separation dividing the pecs.

Rear deltoids - Bent-over D/B raises:

One can use relatively heavy dumbbells for this movement which is great for isolating the posterior deltoid. The torso should be parallel to the floor with knees bent. The elbows need to be pulled past the mid-line of your body to fully contract the rhomboids, the rear deltoid is lifting the weight.

Lats and outer back - Straight-arm pull-downs:

Standing straight up, knees slightly bent and stomach tense with straight arms, you are pulling the lat pull-down bar pushing it towards the floor and repeat. Excellent movement for creating enhanced muscle separation in the upper back.

Biceps - One arm D/B preacher Curls:

A fantastic movement for creating a peak on the biceps, increasing the fullness of the biceps as well, is done on an incline bench or a preacher bench. Slow down on the eccentric and when brining the dumbbell back you should supinate (turn outward) the wrist on the concentric contraction to ensure maximal peak tension.

Triceps - Overhead One-arm cable extensions:

This movement isolates all three heads on the triceps by placing the shoulder joint in a solid fixed position, which minimizers swinging therefore reducing the chances of bad form, like when doing other triceps movements. Holding the cable behind your neck with elbow pointed upwards while seated, extend the arm upwards squeezing the triceps.

Front thighs/quads - Leg extensions:

On the leg extension machine adjust the seat to ensure your knees are hanging over the edge with the footpad at the lowest point on your shins. When you straighten your legs on the concentric movement make sure you remain seated and never swing when doing this movement.

Abdominals Cable Crunches (with rope):

A highly effective way of increasing the thickness of the abdominal muscles by using a strict curling motion with weight, in a kneeling position hold the rope attachment behind your neck keeping your pelvis and your lower back dead still you then curl downwards towards the floor while crunching the abs.

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