All Things Isolation Exercises
Your Fitness Goals
Your ideal fitness routine will depend entirely on your fitness and training goals. And depending on your fitness goals, isolation exercises will end up being a huge part of your training regimen. For instance, if you’ve been injured and are trying to rehabilitate yourself (with your rehabilitation coach’s assistance, mind you), you’ll most certainly be performing a number of low-weight isolation exercises to restore yourself to your former level of fitness (and only then, with permission, will you be able to seek higher plateaus). The other primary connoisseurs of isolation exercises are bodybuilders trying to even out the gains they’ve achieved—for instance, trying to focus on the shoulders (which tend to lag behind the rest of the upper body) to bring them to an aesthetically pleasing size (based on the ratio of the size of the shoulder muscles to the sizes of the chest and arm muscles).
Unfortunately, all too often everyone else uses isolation exercises improperly. The real way to incorporate isolation exercises into your exercise regimen is to bring yourself over the peak for specific muscles after performing a number of compound exercises to build your strength and endurance. Not only will performing your isolation exercises in this manner help you bulk up, but also you’ll see that you burn more fat when you isolate muscles. And, because isolation exercises (by definition) focus on a single muscle, and use less weight anyway, there’s little to no stress on the connective tissue that regular gym-goers (as opposed to professional bodybuilders) so often injure.
Since non-bodybuilders should be using isolation exercises primarily to pass a muscle’s plateau, thereby maximizing fat loss and size gains, I’ll mention some other key factors in attaining an aesthetic appearance: diet and cardio. Because you’re going to be training hard, you’ll need all the nutrients you can manage, and you’ll want to minimize, or eliminate entirely, your junk food. Eat plenty of lean protein (l.3 grams/lb. target body weight), and if you’re serious about bulking up, add in whey-protein shakes immediately after your workouts. Other than that, stick to low- or no-fat dairy and plenty of dark leafy vegetables and complex carbohydrates (whole-grains, primarily). As for cardio, you’ll want to do any cardio after your weight-training. First off, cardio will deplete your stores of glycogen and diminish any possible gains. And second, your body will be primed for fat burning after your workout.
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