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Isolation Work, Always Needed?


Hey CT, hopefully this question makes sense to you.

Obviously, if someones goal is to get as big/muscular as possible isolation work should be required, especially for a bodybuilder. However, do you feel it would be necessary for someone not looking to add to much over all weight? If the trainees goal is to be 5’10 165-170 lbs lean athletic look would his time be better spent focusing on getting stronger on compound movements.

At that body weight how much added muscle can tricep extensions, bicep curls, or laterals add that heavy pressing/pulling will not?


To me the main purpose of isolation work is to develop lagging muscle groups that don’t respond to the big compound movements alone because other muscles take over most of the work.

For example if your chest doesn’t grow much from pressing because the triceps and delts do most of the work, you will need some isolation work to fully develop it.

But if the compound movements alone are enough to get you the type of physique you want, you don’t need isolation work.

I train several clients with only compound movements. Granted they are athletes, but they also build a lot of muscle mass.

For example, a bobsleigh athlete I work with doesn’t do any isolation work but squats 550 x 7, benches 355, power cleans 355 and recently took his body weight from 180 to 191 (he is 5’6"), very lean and looks awesome

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