Here Are 6 Isolation Trainings to make your muscles pop

It was an early morning just like any other morning at the T. Boone Pickens YMCA. I was guzzling coffee, waiting for my next client to arrive when a woman approached the personal training desk while pulling up her shelve.

There was nowhere to run. Nowhere to hide.

Then without even saying good morning she starts smacking around her underarm fat and says.

“How do I get rid of these chicken wings?”

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“Good morning, my name is Shane. How can I help you?”

This incident still haunts me to this day. Seriously. True. Story.

Anyhow, there are lots of reasons why we lift weights but the reason that unites us all is vanity. We want to like what we see staring back at us in the mirror. And one of the best ways to go about this is performing exercises that train the most muscle.

These are compound exercises which are moves that train more than one muscle group. Some examples are push-ups, squats, chin ups and carries. Then by reasonable deduction isolation exercises train only one muscle group. Examples are biceps curls, triceps extensions, lateral raises, and chest flies.

Compound exercises will get you where you want to go faster but isolation training exercises still have there place.

3 Reasons to Use Isolation Exercises

Besides the obvious vanity reasons stated, there are other benefits to performing isolation exercises including,


Whether you’re doing Physical Therapy, or you have an ouchy, strengthening an injured area requires targeted isolation exercises. For example, calf raises for a strained calf muscle or Achilles tendon. This not only strengthens the injured area but brings healing blood flow to the region for faster healing.

Improved Performance

Sometimes a weaker muscle group can hold back your performance in the gym or on the sporting field. For example, if you have trouble locking out your bench presses or push-ups, building and strengthening the triceps will help. Strengthening the weaker muscle group can lead to lifting more weight overall because you’re only as strong as your weakest leak.

Decreased Injury Risk

A weak or overstretched muscle is more likely to become painful or injured. I have nothing to back this up as I’m speaking from personal experience from training clients for 12 years.  When you are stronger, you’re less likely to suffer from niggling non serious injuries.

6 Muscle Isolation Trainings

These trainings are ‘finishers’ after you have completed your main training.  It’s eight minutes of doing 8 reps of each exercise but you can change it if the time and the reps are kept the same.

Complete each training as a circuit, resting as little as possible between exercises. Rest 30-60 seconds at the end of each circuit and do as many rounds as possible within eight minutes. Select a weight that allows you to complete all repetitions with good form.

If you’re stacking trainings, rest 90-120 seconds in between them.

Keeping the rest low, weight moderate while training the one muscle group will cause a muscle pump and add extra stress which helps bring up a lagging/weak muscle group.

After you’re finished, you know what to do next.

Note – Exercises are hyperlinked

Eight-minute triceps

1A. Overhead triceps extensions– 8 reps

1B. Underhand triceps extensions-8 reps each arm

1C. Triceps pushdowns– 8 reps

Eight-minute biceps

1A. Step back curls-8 reps on each arm

1B. Concentration curls – 8 reps on each arm

1C. Incline curls-8 reps

Eight-minute shoulders (band)

1A. Band pull apart- 8 reps

1B. Single arm lateral raise-8 reps each arm

1C. Band In/Outs- 8 reps on each arm (four front raises/four lateral raises)

Eight-minute shoulders (dumbbells)

1AJavorek’s shoulder complex -one rep

1B.  Leaning away lateral raise- 8 reps each arm

1C.  3 way lateral raise– 8 reps of each

Eight-minute calves

1A. Seated Bent Knee Dumbbell Calf Raise– 8 reps each leg

1B. Accentuated Eccentric Standing Calf Raises- 8 reps

1C. Pogo jumps-8 reps

Eight-minute forearms

1A. Barbell Reverse Biceps Curls– 8 reps

1B. Wrist Roller– 1 reps

1C. Behind The Back-Barbell Wrist Curl– 8 reps

A Short Note on Isolation Trainings

Unless you’re in rehab or doing PT, doing compound exercises before the isolation training works best. You’ll be able to use more weight during the compound exercises for a better training effect overall.

Think of these trainings as the whipped cream and chocolate sauce on top of a bowl of ice cream. Separately they taste yum but together they taste awesome.

Wrapping Up

When you make a certain muscle pop, like biceps, training with a mix of compound and isolation exercises will help you add size and definition to bring your flex appeal to a new level.

You know what to do next.

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