T Nation

Isolations Are Not Necessary!

I know this topic has been beaten over the head, but why do new lifters (or anybody doin full body splits such as rippetoe) think that their body can’t grow without doin isolations (especially arms). Every time I see a new log or someone motivated to “bulk up like mad”, it says I’ll be doin modified rippetoe

example squat 3x5
bench 3x5
dlift 15
dips 2x8
*db curls 3x10
*preacher cable curls 3x10
*vbar pressdowns 3x10
*tricep kickbacks 3x10

Don’t get me wrong…I’m not arguing with volume guys. For some body types or goals that works wonders. Oh well…I’ll stop my venting for now. Let me know what you think!

*And yes you wont see me ever post my pictures in the photo section for a long time to come hehe

[quote]irish_red wrote:

*And yes you wont see me ever post my pictures in the photo section for a long time to come hehe[/quote]

If that’s the case then why don’t you listen to guys who have actually built a large amount of size. I have NEVER agreed with this current trend to have beginners avoid isolation exercises completely. That makes no sense to me. It is like going to the opposite extreme simply because some newbies are dumb enough to ONLY train chest and biceps for years.

Now we have people completely avoiding biceps work for years. Yes, you should be doing lateral raises and bent over raises. Yes, you should be doing biceps curls and triceps extensions. That is, if your goal is to build a balanced physique. No one even 10 years ago would have ever recommended someone avoid those movements.

Now, it’s the latest thing. Meanwhile, the guys who worked out for years but DID do isolation movements from the start show the results of it.

I am misunderstood but that was my fault for not clarifying. Yes, I completely agree that if your working toward a balanced physique such exercises are necessary. But for case in point, say you have a 130 lb ecto who benches and deads the bar, and squats 95 (extreme example i know). A program involving all money exercises and nothing else (such as a 3 day/wk full body) will benefit them greatly.

Instead of worrying about curls n what not, if they work on steadily gettting the the big 3 up to higher weights, they will have a great base on which to add more mass and sculpt with isos.

Might of already said this, but I do agree that isos used at some point. For instance, this fall I plan just on full body A/B split all winter and getting poundages up. Right now I’m 6"2’ 170 5%

bench 180
squat 225ish
dead " "

Once spring comes around I plan to go back to earlier volume split.

m=legs/lb t=chest/should th=back/traps fri=arms

How long does it take for a bench session? dead? squat?

15-20 mins? I see no reason to spend at most a half hour in the gym to work on the “big 3” and avoid all isolation movements until you have a good base.

Damn, why not work on all body parts equally? I swear some of you people post just to use your keyboards.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
irish_red wrote:

*And yes you wont see me ever post my pictures in the photo section for a long time to come hehe

If that’s the case then why don’t you listen to guys who ahve actually built a large amount of size. I ahve NEVER agreed with this current trend to have beginners avoid isolation exercises completely. That makes no sense to me. It is like going to the opposite extreme simply because some newbies are dumb enough to ONLY train chest and biceps for years.

Now we have people completely avoiding biceps work for years. Yes, you should be doing lateral raises and bent over raises. Yes, you should be doing biceps curls and triceps extensions. That is, if your goal is to build a balanced physique. No one even 10 years ago would have ever recommended someone avoid those movements. Now, it’s the latest thing. Meanwhile, the guys who worked but DID do isolation movements from the start show the results of it.[/quote]

No one can get the idea through their heads that just because they’re probably wasting time spending two days a week on arms, that doesn’t mean they should never do isolation work.

Fellas, I would like to take FULL responsiblity for this post. I put down some fly paper at the door to this forum, and I thought that it would keep the trolls out. I was wrong, you need fire or acid to kill a troll, not fly paper. My mistake.

Your math doesn’t add up. A Riptoe squat, bench, dead routine revolves around 5 x 5. So for sake of easy lets say you did the big three with 2 mins rest between sets. You’ll need at least that if you’re working hard. 15 sets times 2 mins. equals at least 30 mins. That is not even adding in the time it will take for the sets themselves.

It’ll probably take you 40-45 mins. after wards you should do some back exts. and abs. One day you could do shoulders and abs and the last day do some bis, tris, and abs.

Just do the compounds until you’re exhausted of them. Then finish with the isolations, until you’re exhausted completely.

Everything gained, nothing lost.

no one is ever going to sway the NO “isolation” or YES “isolation” crowd with words here. It always does make for a good pissing match though. It then digresses to “Your (sic) an idiot” “You need to do isolation alot (sic)”

For my nickels worth, do a balanced routine, compare what you are able to do every three weeks or less. Progressing, fine, don’t change a thing. Not progressing, change it. I am going to watch this thread with my pee pancho on and my shoe in the other hand held firmly in front of my web cam.

[quote]irish_red wrote:
Yes, I completely agree that if your working toward a balanced physique such exercises are necessary. [/quote]

Exactly - case closed.

Many people start knowing nothing. If you have a beginner lifting weights, ANY exercise will benefit them greatly. I know people who actually got quite large on just curls & benching and lots of food.

You can laugh it up at people sitting for half an hour doing nothing but curls in a gym, if they are training hard enough & eating, they WILL get big arms - simple as that.

I don’t recommend doing only these exercises and this won’t lead to a balanced physique, but that’s not the point here.

[quote]jp_dubya wrote:
no one is ever going to sway the NO “isolation” or YES “isolation” crowd with words here. It always does make for a good pissing match though. It then digresses to “Your (sic) an idiot” “You need to do isolation alot (sic)”

For my nickels worth, do a balanced routine, compare what you are able to do every three weeks or less. Progressing, fine, don’t change a thing. Not progressing, change it. I am going to watch this thread with my pee pancho on and my shoe in the other hand held firmly in front of my web cam.[/quote]

It shouldn’t be much of a debate. If the people ONLY doing compound movements are less developed overall than the guys who do both some compound and isolation over years of training, what is there to argue about? Most of these debates only go on for pages because people ignore real world results and start arguing theory.

Who are the really big guys in the gym, the ones who never do any isolation movements, or the ones who do it all?

I never do direct tricep work via isolations movements, it just overtrains them. That’s based on thirteen years of experience. My arms and in particular triceps are pointed out by people all the time. That being said, adding 3-5 sets of zottman curls has done wonders for my bicep peak. It really boils down to the individual.

I generally recommend focusing on big lifts and avoiding isolation movements the first six months of a lifting programming. I think it’s important to learn how to train the big movements before isolation exercises.

[quote]Professor X wrote:

Who are the really big guys in the gym, the ones who never do any isolation movements, or the ones who do it all?
[/quote]

The really big guys are the ones who move the big weights and eat the big meals. Generally powerlifters in the higher weightclasses are big but I’ve never seen one do curls or kickbacks.

Isolation can be good when used in conjunction with other movements. It is a great way to place emphasis on a lagging part.

I like combos like pullups/curls, bench press/tricep pushdowns, deadlift/hamstring curls, front squat/leg extensions…

Stuff like that seems to work prety well.

Other than that though, the isolation stuff is useless;)

[quote]eisenaffe wrote:
Professor X wrote:

Who are the really big guys in the gym, the ones who never do any isolation movements, or the ones who do it all?

The really big guys are the ones who move the big weights and eat the big meals. Generally powerlifters in the higher weightclasses are big but I’ve never seen one do curls or kickbacks.

[/quote]

Generally powerlifters who don’t do direct arm work do not have what I call big arms!

When I do programs like TBT or others that focus mainly on compound movements, I have to add arm work. Otherwise, I do not make progress on my arms.

[quote]eisenaffe wrote:
Professor X wrote:

Who are the really big guys in the gym, the ones who never do any isolation movements, or the ones who do it all?

The really big guys are the ones who move the big weights and eat the big meals. Generally powerlifters in the higher weightclasses are big but I’ve never seen one do curls or kickbacks.

[/quote]

[quote]Professor X wrote:
jp_dubya wrote:
no one is ever going to sway the NO “isolation” or YES “isolation” crowd with words here. It always does make for a good pissing match though. It then digresses to “Your (sic) an idiot” “You need to do isolation alot (sic)”

For my nickels worth, do a balanced routine, compare what you are able to do every three weeks or less. Progressing, fine, don’t change a thing. Not progressing, change it. I am going to watch this thread with my pee pancho on and my shoe in the other hand held firmly in front of my web cam.

It shouldn’t be much of a debate. If the people ONLY doing compound movements are less developed overall than the guys who do both some compound and isolation over years of training, what is there to argue about? Most of these debates only go on for pages because people ignore real world results and start arguing theory.

Who are the really big guys in the gym, the ones who never do any isolation movements, or the ones who do it all?

[/quote]

I agree that isolation work is essential past a certain point of development. And it may be beneficial for some beginners as well. But I do think that it is not at all bad for someone with 14 inch arms to focus exclusively on compounds. Hit them hard and heavy and with intensity and go home. Till they’re bigger. If they have enough left to do some isolation work from the getgo at the end of the workout without ‘saving’ themselves for it or half-assing the really beneficial compound work, and the additional isolation work doesn’t unduly tax their recuperative abilities too much, so much the better.

My situation in particular may be good evidence that one should still do some isolation exercises.

I can do about 10-12 supinated chins at a body weight of 170. Yet, I have trouble doing sets of 10 with a 45 lb bar on curls. Clearly my biceps are lagging to a ridiculous degree.

My big 3 are: Bench 205, squat ~340, Deadlift 385

I realize these numbers are mediocre, yet my curl is EXTREMELY weak in comparison to these lifts.

[quote]eisenaffe wrote:
The really big guys are the ones who move the big weights and eat the big meals. Generally powerlifters in the higher weightclasses are big but I’ve never seen one do curls or kickbacks.
[/quote]

They may not do kickbacks, but they do plenty of triceps extensions. As for curls, T-Lurker’s pic says it all.