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Best Isolation Exercises for Hypertrophy


I'm looking to add some direct arm/shoulder work to the end of my workouts. Right now I doing 3 full body workouts a week (blasphemy I know) and wanted to add 1-2 exercises per session for biceps triceps and shoulder (each on a different day).

I was thinking:
shoulders monday =
1 push presses
2"delt trio" (ie the lateral raise/front raise/shoulder press combo)

triceps wednesday =
1 weighted dips trying to keep a vertical plane
2 cable pulldowns or kickbacks whatever you want to call them

biceps friday =
1 regular ez curl bar curls
2 hammer curls? im not sure about the biceps...

any thoughts or advice on other exercises that might be better suited for the situation?


OK, those are sensible exercises for hypertrophy of shoulders and arms. But it's hard to give you specific advice without knowing what other work you are doing on those days. Can you post your current program?


That's fine, but what does a "full body workout" look like that doesn't include some kind of shoulder work in each session?

What, exactly, do your workouts look like now (exercises, sets, and reps)?

Really quick... you said, "Best Isolation Exercises for Hypertrophy", but push presses, shoulder presses, and dips aren't isolation exercises, which should remind you that compound lifts plus isolation lifts are what deliver maximum growth. Don't get hung up overemphasizing one or the other.

What you wrote is one way of doing it, sure. But depending on your goals and what you're doing now, you could probably just add a little work for shoulders and arms to each workout, instead of adding one different part on each day.

Read through this, to get an idea of some better exercise choices:


yeah i knew that, isolation was the wrong word, i guess "targetted" might have been a better choice. im currently using Waterbury's new(er) book Huge in a Hurry. the three days each have

an upper body push (dips, bench, or shoulder press variations)
an upper body pull (pull up, cable rows, or clean variations)
and a lower body exercise (squat or deadlift variations)

and ontop of these there's usually one isolation/direct work like curls, tricep ext., and a calf raise. my shoulders need more work than my calves so ive been trading them for shoulder work.

the reason i wanted more work: one set of isolation work doesnt seem to do much for me, gets a pump but is never sore the next day and they tend to lag behind in strength gains so i figured some extra work might help them grow.

now that you know more of what im doing, do u think the exercises are still viable and with the right of idea of each a different day?

thanks for the help by the way.


If you're looking for hypertrophy, why don't you stop training like a performance athlete, and just start bodybuilding?

Do a 3, 4, or 5 way split and enough exercises for each muscle group to make them all bigger and stronger, instead of letting some lag behind.


i appreciate the advice mr popular. however, and i hope you don't take offens to this, because i dont want to get flamed to hell and back nor start large opinionated discussion, so suffice it to say that i dont want to bodybuild, dont have the time to go to the gym more than 3 times a week and most importantly i honestly just enjoy full body lifting more than splits.

i would just like to stimulate a little more growth in my arms. mostly in vanity's name, i arm wrestle a lot and live on a beach :wink:


For arm wrestling you should be more likely focusing on barbell, dumbbell and even maybe really heavy preacher curls. This will give you more size and strength than any isolation exercise.


cool thanks meymz, arent those considered isolation exercises though, just for clarification?


To an extent, remember that you can target the lower back if you cheat too much on the barbell curls. Those can allow you to use more weight, hence promote more overall strength and size.