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Isolation Exercises for Beginners?


I am 1m 78 and weigh 70 kgs. I've been performing compound movements in exercises like bench press, squats, military press, seated cable rows and lat pulldowns for about a month. I haven't gained much since then, so perhaps is time to incorporate isolation movements? I want to weigh 80 kgs by next summer. I am concerned about my back.

In order to built a strong upper body, I have to have a strong back. Should I start isolation movements and what other exercises should I do for my back?


Exercise stimulates muscle to grow and rebuild itself stronger. But... it needs food to do that.

If you're not eating enough to gain more weight -- and this includes eating enough protein -- no amount of changing your routine will help you.


yes I do eat enough food: 3000 cal/day, 220g protein/day, 400g of carbs/day


You said:

Which is why I said:

Nothing against isolation movements, but adding them because you're not "gaining enough" isn't the reason to add them.


what do you suggest?


That's "enough food" only if your bodyweight is increasing each week.

Yes, as long as the rest of your routine is well-designed.

In no particular order: Rows, pulldowns, pull-ups, one-arm rows, deadlifts. There's no need for anything fancy.

Pretty good line, in a nutshell.

You should be concerned about training everything - upper body, back, arms, legs, everything. Sticking with a complete program will have much more impact on the results, or lack of results, than some isolation work.


Protein content looks good although it could be higher. I'd bump up calories overall; coconut oil and olive oil are good for this. Just add a bit more to your foods, and some people add them to protein shakes. Also peanut butter.

You may want to look into using barbell rows, either "normal" barbell rows or Pendlay rows instead of cable rows... also using weighted pullups instead of pulldowns too. However, I like pulldowns and cable rows personally.

Also, deadlifts or rack pulls are worth serious consideration. Both will hit the back pretty hard.


well I used to eat 2800 cals a day, 210g of protein a day and 350 g of carbs a day too but I lost weight since then. I used to weigh 72 now I'm at 70, that's why I'm eating more food. I always get hungry, even an hour later after a meal


Okay guys well take a look at my routine. Only compund movements. It is split in two days (upper body; day 1, lower body; 2), 4 days a week: Monday (1), Tuesday (2), Wednesday (rest), Thursday (1), Friday (2).

Day 1: upper body

  • Military press 4x6 @ 105 lbs
  • Bench press 4x6 @ 165 lbs
  • Seated row 4x8 @ 95 lbs
  • Lat pulldown 4x8 @105 lbs
  • T bar row 4x8 @ 30 lbs

Day 2: lower body

  • Squats 4x6: 170 lbs
  • Lunges 4x6 :80 lbs
  • Deadlift 4x6: 135 lbs

The reason why I want to emphasize back strenght is because my back is weak. My pecs are pretty strong but my back is sh*t. Lack of back strenght is the outcome of weak arms and not so strong shoulders. I have never really worked out the back to be honest.

What do you guys think?


Get on a proven strength program and eat more.


I'd do babylover's and add on a rear delt movement and calves (if you would like).


Not trying to sound like a dick, but I think you shouldn't be doing your own programming yet. These are all great exercises but they seem to be put together with little rhyme or reason. Especially with regards to the set/rep scheme. Also, I don't know anyone who would recommend doing the exact same upper/lower workouts twice a week.

There's a lot of good basic strength programs that will do the job. I wouldn't worry too much about imbalances at this point because in a few months on a good strength program and your numbers will be vastly different and probably a lot more even.

If you're hell-bent on focusing on rows, play around a bit. Different people seem to find different styles of rows more effective for them. I officially endorse chest-supported rows.


You'll make better progress getting on a proven program like texas method, madcow,mass made simple etc



You've only been training for a month, thats not long enough for anything to happen. jump on one of the 5x5 star type programs, consistant effort, sleep, and food for 6-12mths, you'll be amazed. Don't worry about isolation stuff, focus on getting stronger on the basics, thats what builds muscle. Stronglifts.com to the letter. Patience and consistant effort on the basics. (PROGRESSIVE RESISTANCE) Goodluck