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Is Focusing More on Isolation After Building a Foundation Okay?

I have been on a general strength program for 6 months now. I can box squat 385 for 5, rep 315 for 5 reps and have a 405 deadlift. My bench is only 185 for 3 due to an injury in my left arm where I have a metal plate in there for 10 years almost but I’m working on that. My chest and arms are lagging in size and obviously strength so I am wondering if it’s ok to make venture off a very strict program and make do more isolation work especially work for my chest and arms. I train 3x a week Monday Wednesday and Friday being what works for me. Currently 175lbs or 79kg

If it fits your goals, it’s OK.

Well I just don’t want to have my lifts go down drastically if I’m only dedicating one or two days to them and just working on lagging body parts

It’s all in the programming. Why not train your main lifts every day you train and follow them up with targeted assistance work. Best of both worlds. Your arms will lag in size until you’re bigger all over; and getting stronger in the 5-10 rep range on the main lifts will most probably get you bigger all over. Your chest may or may not grow well from barbell flat benching alone, but dips and dumbbell bench variations seem to make most chests grow.

Lastly, unless you’re a powerlifter there is no earthly reason you HAVE to squat, bench and deadlift. You can do any or no variation of those lifts you like (and that applies to any other lift). Do what works for you.


Some of the strongest powerlifters ever did isolation exercises regularly! Please, don’t buy this nonsense that every damn lift has to be a compound lift for strength training or that bodybuilding methods don’t make you stronger. Granted if the main goal you’re after is maximal strength in specific lifts you shouldn’t train like a full blown bodybuilder, but don’t think bodybuilding methods are just for bodybuilders. In fact they will make you stronger. See Dan Green, Kirk Karwoski, Dave Waterman, Anthony Clark, Ed Coan, and Glen Chabot and Bill Carpenter’s routines if you need assurance.


This too!

Ed Coan is a really likable guy and is considered one of the greatest powerlifters of all time. Curious to see what his routines are if you have any to share

Use google for that. It’s posted.

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To add onto this @scrubsman, look up Burley Hawk, Matt Wenning, Doug Young, and any Westside style training methods. There are a TON of powerlifters, strongmen, etc who have done isolation work to hit smaller muscles that other wise wouldn’t get hit. The only reason the compounds get drilled so much is because the offer more to your body in a more “bang for your buck” exercise. They also say to do them more because without getting overall strong, you have no reason to isolate.



Bench Press.
135 x 12
225 x 6
325 x 2
375 x 2
425 x 1
465 x 1
485 x 1
500 x 1
515 x 1
530 x 1
540 x 1
540 x1
490 x 9
300 x14

Williams Front Deltoid Raise.
50 pounds for 3 sets of 15.

Triceps Press.
175 pounds for 6 sets of 6.

Stiff-Arm Pulldowns on Lat Machine.
100 pounds for 6 sets of 6.

Flys with Cables.
50 pounds for 6 sets of 6.

One-Arm Concentration Curls.
55 pounds for 6 sets of 6.

One-Arm Rowing Motion.
110 pounds for 6 sets of 6.

When Arnold needed to gain some mass, he called Doug Young for advice!


His ankles are like mine, maybe I do have hope :roll_eyes:

I never noticed dude’s skinny ankles before! Nobody is perfect, I guess.

Didn’t he have smaller wrists too? For his build anyway. I love Young. Any of those old school guys who just trained hard as fuck and took no shit.

From interview with Ed Coan.

Quite bodybuilder-like routine.