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Isolation Work: To Lockout or Not to Lockout?

Hello Mr. Paul,

I have a question about isolation work. Even though I am a fairly young guy (24), I’ve had a few issues with my joints in the past (I had lyme disease a few years ago. Its healed and all, but my joints turned out a little achy). I am not trying to get medical advice out of you, I would like to know your opinion on the subject. Some people say, that when you’re doing isolated work on a muscle, you shouldn’t straighten out the joint. This is in part to keep the tension constant, but also because It may result in undue stress on the joint. However, this also takes out some of the range of motion. Do you think that having joint health as a priority, should people lock out the joints during isolated work?

Sorry this is off topic but how did you get your lyme disease symptoms under control? I ask because my wife has been struggling with it for years now and we’ve tried a lot of different protocols.

It really depends on the movement, right?

So with a db bench press there’s basically no tension at the top 1/4 of the movement. So going to full lockout there doesn’t really offer you up any benefit. Where if you using say a converging chest press where the motion of the machine brings the arms to the center line of the body and is still offering up a decent amount of resistance there, you’d want to finish the whole ROM.

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I was on a few different treatment methods. I was on antibiotics, which felt horrible, throughout and afterwards I was attending Voll method (https://sensitiv-imago.com/quantum-diagnostics/voll-s-method) and I believe this has actually helped. However, as I was on both concurrently, I cant be certain. Wish your wife can get well soon

Thank you for your quick answer and Im sorry for not being specific. I meant the isolation exercises in which its possible to achieve contraction in a stretched muscle (like in curl variations)

Ok I’ll look into that thank you.

Give me a list of moments…

Most specifically I mean exercises around elbow and knee joints. During lying leg curl variations, Its possible to completely extend the knee. Its a similar situations during biceps curls, when you can completely extend your elbow (for example a preacher curl). I was told, that because of the nature of isolation exercises (usually high reps), complete extension, thus achieving a stretch in the muscle, can put undue stress on joints and is injurious in the long run. I would just like to have your take on that, If you agree or not.

Im sorry, cause I think that this little question of mine has already taken way too much of your time

No I don’t think of movements in that way like that.

For example on a preacher curl what we look at is their active range of motion. This will be determined by when their shoulders move. If someone goes into internal rotation as they are lowering the bar on a preacher curl, then they are past their active range of motion for the biceps.

So I don’t look at silly shit like that. The muscles are made to lengthen and lengthen under load as well. You just have to understand the other mechanics going on to determine how far that needs to be with certain movements.

Thank you for your answer.
I really appreciate all the common sense and expertise you bring into this field. Whenever you publish a new article, I make sure to check it out. I think they are great on many accounts.
So, thanks again and wish you all the best

Paul, this is kinda along the same vein of isolation work and I didn’t think it was worth creating a new thread over.

1-I’ve seen you say garage gym lifter (like myself) can use bands to replace cables if they don’t have them. Do you still feel the same about this?

2-what’re your thoughts on blood flow restriction training? I’ve seen it used in some programming that had a lot of compound movements as a way to get some hard isolation work without killing yourself. I plan to give it a shot just for fun and to see how it feels and see if it works for me. Just curious as to your thoughts on the technique and if it has any benefits to use. Thanks in advance . If you’ve answered this before, sorry to ask about it.

  1. Depends on the movement. Usually no, but you can use tempo with free weights to mimic some cables movements. Kas and I covered that this last week.

  2. BFR is a total waste of time unless you’re injured. One of the bio mechanics guys I work with was in on the development of BFR and it’s entire purpose was to get injured guys to training until they were fully healed. It literally does not promote a higher degree of hypertrophy.

Awesome! I was thinking that on tempos free weights first isolation movements I’m having an issue setting up with my cable system like laterals, Y raises things like that.

As for BFR I’ve had some elbow, knee and wrist pain and wanted to run it for a while to lay off the joints for a short stint. So kind of rehabbing in a way just to give everything a break that I’ve been slowly destroying the last few years.

Thanks for the response man. Appreciate your time

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