Before ripping into another article on exercise, let’s clarify what isolation exercises are. Although our bodies never genuinely work in isolation, isolation exercises target one muscle group, like lateral raises for the shoulders. Although the wrist and forearms are involved in gripping the resistance, the target of the exercise is the lateral deltoids.

Have you got it? Good.

Exercisers starting their exercise journey train isolation exercises because they’re inexperienced or lack the confidence to do anything else. Plus, isolation exercises are more accessible to perform than compound exercises. Compound exercises (training two or more muscle groups) should usually come before isolation exercises because most gains are made here.

When you want the most bang for your isolation buck, here are five practical isolation exercises for improved strength and sexiness. First, let’s go into three reasons for doing them.   

3 Benefits Of Performing Isolation Exercises

Besides a wicked muscle pump and improved flex time, there are other benefits from including the occasional isolation exercise into your workout programming.

For Muscle Rehab

Whether doing PT or post-rehab, strengthening an injured muscle needs targeted isolation exercises. For example, wrist curls for an injured elbow. Doing this helps the injured area and brings healing blood flow for faster healing.

Better Performance

A weaker muscle can hold back your performance in the gym or during your daily activities. For example, strengthening and isolating the triceps helps improve your bench press. Strengthening and isolating a weaker muscle can lead to lifting more weight overall.

Reduced Injury Risk

A weak muscle is more likely to become painful or injured. When you are stronger, you’re less likely to suffer from niggling nonserious injuries.

5 Best Isolation Exercises

You’ll do biceps curls anyway, so they’re omitted, but here are five more you should consider doing for improved strength and sexiness.

Mini Band Lateral Walk

The mini band lateral walk strengthens the smaller muscles of your butt backside, which are essential for single-leg balance and improved knee health. These smaller glute muscles help prevent your knees from bending inwards, which, over time, can lead to knee problems. Plus, this exercise is the cure if you’re having trouble feeling your glutes, and it is Sir-Mix-A lot approved. What more could you ask for?

How to do it:

1. Place the band just above your ankles and get your toes pointed forward and feet hip-width apart.  

2. Bend your knees slightly and take small side steps, keeping the band tight and toes pointed forward at all times.

3. Do all your reps to the one side and then repeat on the other.

Sets & Reps: Do one set of 15-20 reps on each side as part of your warm-up or for two to three sets in your workout.

Resistance Band Overhead Triceps Extension

Overhead tricep extensions are performed in various ways, with my favorite being the band variation. The resistance band provides more tension at the end when needed and less where you don’t—making it easier on your elbows. The beauty of this variation is that it works all three triceps muscles for improved strength and flex appeal.

How to do it:

1. Securely attach a band overhead like a squat rack and attach a rope attachment if possible.

2. Grip both sides of the band and walk out until the band is stretched,

3. Stagger your stance, duck your head, and extend your elbows until lockout.

4. Slowly return to the starting position, reset, and repeat.

Sets & Reps: Two to four sets of 12 to 25 reps near the end of your workout and after doing your compound exercises.

Lateral Raises

Many shoulder compound and isolation exercises train the front and back but not the lateral (middle) deltoid. Training them makes adding size, shape, and strength to your shoulders easy for improved flex appeal. Improving the strength and stability of your shoulders will help protect this mobile joint against injury.

How to do it:

1. Grip a pair of dumbbells at arm’s length by your side.

2. With your shoulders down and chest up, raise the dumbbells laterally until they reach shoulder height.

3. Keep a slight bend in your elbows while raising them to take some stress off your elbows.

4. Slowly lower to the starting position, reset, and repeat.

Sets & reps: Two to four sets of 10 to 20 reps at the end of your workout.

Gripedo Roller

You can strengthen forearms by doing bicep curls, but the Gripedo takes this to the next level. What is a Gripedo? The Gripedo attachment is shaped like a torpedo. It slips over a barbell and acts like a wrist roller, but it is easier because the wrist roller requires shoulder strength. The Gripedo attachment is highly effective at building insane grip strength and sexy forearms.  

How to do it:

1. Set it up like in the video, standing arm’s length away with your elbows straight.

2. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, gripping the Gripedo at shoulder height with knuckles facing you.

3. Roll the weight up, alternating hands until fully wounded.

4. Reverse the movement slowly and repeat if you have anything left.

Sets & reps: Rolling it up and down is one rep, and two to three reps of two to three sets will do.

Captain Morgan Calf Raise

The Captain Morgan Calf Raise is the brainchild of strength coach Nick Tumminello, and why it’s called that should be obvious. The most significant advantage of this calf raise is it gives you a pre-stretch and takes one calf muscle through an extensive range of motion for improved muscular development. Calves are one of those muscle groups that get neglected regularly, including yours truly.

How to do it:

1. Grip a pair of dumbbells at arm’s length and put your front foot on a box or step at around knee height.

2. Move your back foot behind your hips and keep the front knee bent at 90 degrees with your toes pointed forward.

3. Lean forward into the front foot and perform a calf raise on the back foot, lifting your heel as high as possible.

4. Then, slowly lower down, reset, and repeat. 

Sets & reps: Two to four sets at the end of your workout for around 10-15 reps works well.

Wrapping Up

Although you will hit all these muscles mentioned with compound exercises, isolating them helps improve muscle-building and sexiness. When performing these five isolation exercises regularly and with good form, you’ll improve your strength, sexiness, and flex appeal. Doesn’t that sound like a win-win? 

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