T Nation

Why Adding Isolation Exercises Helped

I have been training for for over 30 years, and have been exclusively doing compound movements with no isolation exercises for the last 12 yrs. Before that I got sidetracked from my bodybuilding and was doing triathlon and mountain bike racing. Big mistake. My strength allowed me to train super hard and also led to the worse overtraining nightmare ever. Been doing the powerlifts and strong man type training with a bodybuilding outlook. I improved my strength tremendously, but when I look back at pictures when I was training like a bodybuilder , I saw that I needed to add the isolation movements back into my program. Even though I am approx 30lbs heavier at the same bodyfat level I didn’t look as good as I did when doing the isolation stuff .

I got sidetracked by all the “hoopola” about how isolation exercises are basically worthless. Well, guess what… I started doing high volume isolation for my delts and arms again and in just 2 months, I started looking like my “OLD” self again only 30 lbs heavier. By gettting much stronger in the compound lifts, I added lots of muscle to my body, basically to my glutes, hamstrings, spinal errectors , obliques, abs, and traps. Seemed like my delts and arms did not gain anything in size and my arms actually regressed. The funny thing is …all the “old” advice was right on the money! There is basically nothing new under the sun! Sure, you need to get stronger…but once to a certain point really does not help much .

I now firmly believe in high volume , short rest, isolation work per Arnold!! The PUMP is absolutely crucial for looking your best. It felt so good to get my arms so pumped again that I could barely extend them at the conclusion of my workout. And my quads were negelected as well from the compound lifts… but no leg extensions anymore for me…backward sled dragging for 30 sec. sets with a minute or 2 between has pumped my quads tremedously!!
So, if you want to “look” your best , you have got to include isolaton !! And the ‘sad’ thing is that I already “knew” this years ago, but like I said started to believe all the “new” info .

No shit isolation exercises helped you… The no isolation angle is just a gimmick being worked by shill writers.

I want to add, check out John Meadows articles on back and shoulders. I wold like to recommend 3 of his exercises. the 6 way shoulder, the Stretcher, and the Meadow row. This guy has some very good advice especially on some 'tweaks" that make certain exercises more productive. I especially like his 6 way shoulder exercise for the side delts…fries them like no other exercise.

Also, his recommendation to do very high (60) rep sets for rear delts works wonders. His STRETCHER exercise for lats is awesome. The pump you get in your lats from this is superb! Check out the video under his “monsterous back” article. Also, the meadows row allowed me to feel the muscle more than any other one arm row .