The Greatest Isolation Workouts for Glutes, Chest, Quads, and Extra

The science is obvious: isolation workouts enable you to construct muscle.

The difficulty is, many weightlifters spin their wheels on suboptimal isolation workouts and skip the very best ones, which prevents them from gaining as a lot muscle and power as they need to.

On this article we’ll enable you to keep away from this by outlining the very best isolation workouts for every physique half, so you’ll be able to optimize your exercises and increase muscle and power acquire.

(And in order for you a power coaching program that features all the very best isolation workouts to maximise muscle development, try my applications for women and men, Larger Leaner Stronger and Thinner Leaner Stronger.)

What Are Isolation Workouts?

There are two sorts of weightlifting workouts: compound workouts and isolation workouts.

A compound train entails a number of joints and muscle mass. For instance, the squat entails transferring the knees, ankles, and hips and requires a whole-body coordinated effort, with the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes bearing the brunt of the load.

An isolation train entails only one joint and muscle. For instance, the biceps curl entails transferring the elbow and trains the biceps solely.

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Compound vs. Isolation Workouts

Compound workouts assist you to practice dozens of muscle mass concurrently and raise extra weight safely, which is very helpful for muscle and power acquire.

Additionally they allow you to practice extra effectively (one compound train can do the work of a number of isolation workouts) and raise testosterone and development hormone ranges greater than isolation workouts, which can have a small however helpful impact on muscle acquire. 

Due to this fact, a well-designed weightlifting program ought to primarily encompass compound workouts.

Nevertheless, most individuals shouldn’t exclude isolation workouts.

Research shows that applications containing each compound and isolation workouts promote extra development than these solely containing compound workouts.

They’re additionally a sensible possibility for coaching your muscle mass when doing compound workouts is not possible.

For example, after a number of units of compound pulling workouts, your lats, traps, and rhomboids is perhaps exhausted, whereas your biceps may nonetheless be comparatively contemporary. Coaching them with just a few units of curls ensures they’re adequately stimulated, which is significant to maximize development.

Moreover, isolation workouts make it simple to coach your muscle mass in several positions and thru completely different ranges of motions, which possible produces extra balanced and full muscle development than coaching them with simply 2 or 3 compound workouts.

One other legitimate motive to do isolation workouts is that they’re enjoyable, and satisfying and interesting exercises are sometimes extra productive than boring ones.

Thus, whereas compound workouts will give most of your positive aspects, including isolation workouts can increase development much more. That’s why I like to recommend dedicating roughly 80% of your coaching time to compound workouts and the remaining 20% to isolation workouts.

The Greatest Isolation Workouts for Your Complete Physique

Chest Isolation Workouts

1. Dumbbell Fly


The dumbbell fly is a extremely efficient pec isolation train as a result of it trains your pecs when deeply stretched, which is vital for maximizing muscle development. 

2. Cable Fly

cable fly

The cable fly trains your pecs equally to the dumbbell fly. The one distinction is the cable fly retains fixed stress in your pecs all through all the vary of movement which can make it barely higher for gaining muscle. 

3. Machine Fly

machine fly

The machine fly is an efficient fly variation for brand new weightlifters specifically because it’s simpler to be taught and requires much less coordination than free-weight workouts.

Again Isolation Workouts

1. Cable Pullover

cable pullover

The cable pullover is a wonderful lat isolation train as a result of it trains your lats by shoulder extension (transferring your arms from out in entrance of you to both aspect of your torso and past), which maximally activates your lats.

2. Shrug


The shrug is a lure isolation train that primarily trains the higher traps, which when developed assist “body” your higher physique and aesthetically join your neck to your shoulders.

3. Again Extension

back extension

The again extension strengthens the decrease again, making it an excellent possibility for many who can’t do workouts just like the deadlift on account of previous accidents.

Shoulder Isolation Workouts

1. Dumbbell Entrance Elevate

Dumbbell Front Raise

The entrance elevate isolates the anterior deltoid, the entrance a part of your shoulder muscle mass. Whereas this can be helpful in some eventualities, most individuals don’t have to do entrance raises as a result of their “entrance delts” get sufficient stimulation from urgent workouts. 

2. Dumbbell Facet Lateral Elevate

side lateral raise

The dumbbell aspect lateral elevate isolates the lateral (aspect) head of the deltoids. Coaching this portion of the delts is vital for full, proportionate shoulder growth.

3. Dumbbell Rear Lateral Elevate

PULL-Dumbbell Rear Lateral Raise

The dumbbell rear lateral elevate is a superb rear delt isolation train that trains the small, cussed sections on the again of your shoulders that always want additional consideration in order for you them to develop as rapidly as the opposite components of your shoulders.

Glute Isolation Workouts

1. Hip Thrust

hip thrust

The positioning of the barbell throughout hip thrusts forces your glutes to work onerous all through the movement, which is a singular good thing about this train.

2. Glute Bridge

Glute Bridge

The glute bridge is a helpful newbie isolation train for glutes as a result of it’s simple to be taught, helps you to begin together with your physique weight, and strengthens your glutes successfully.

3. Cable Pull-By

Cable Pull-Through

Not like different glute workouts involving an analogous motion sample (e.g., the Romanian deadlift), the cable pull-through helps you to practice your glutes with out stressing your backbone, making it a helpful possibility for individuals with decrease again points. The draw back, nevertheless, is that you may’t raise a lot weight on the cable pull-through earlier than it turns into awkward, which limits the train’s power and muscle constructing potential. 

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Quad Isolation Workouts

1. Sissy Squat

sissy squat

The sissy squat is distinctive as a result of it trains all components of the quadriceps, together with the rectus femoris, a bit of the quads that the majority compound workouts don’t optimally stimulate.

2. Leg Extension

The leg extension is a confirmed leg isolation train that trains your whole quads. The one draw back is it could actually irritate your knees, particularly when you have a historical past of knee accidents. 

3. Reverse Nordic Curl

Kneeling Sissy Squat

Equally to the sissy squat, the reverse Nordic curl trains all components of the quads, together with the rectus femoris. The one draw back is that the reverse nordic curl requires a level of flexibility many individuals lack, which suggests it isn’t appropriate for much less supple weightlifters. 

Hamstring Isolation Workouts

1. Seated Leg Curl

leg curl

Not like most hamstring workouts, the seated leg curl trains your hamstrings by a full vary of movement and in a stretched place, which is why research shows it’s one of the efficient hamstring workouts there’s. 

2. Mendacity Leg Curl


The mendacity leg curl trains the hamstrings equally to the seated leg curl. The one draw back is it doesn’t practice your hamstrings in a completely stretched place, so it in all probability isn’t fairly as efficient for gaining muscle and power. Nonetheless, it’s nonetheless a viable possibility if you happen to choose the way it feels or it’s the one machine you could have entry to.

3. Nordic Hamstring Curl

Nordic Hamstring Curl

Research shows that the Nordic leg curl is a unbelievable body weight hamstring train, which can additionally reduce your danger of struggling a hamstring harm. 

Calf Isolation Workouts

1. Seated Calf Elevate


The seated calf elevate machine trains your whole calf however emphasizes your soleus, which contributes greater than the gastrocnemius to the general dimension of your calves. This makes the seated calf elevate machine top-of-the-line calf workouts for mass.

2. Standing Barbell Calf Elevate


The standing barbell calf elevate is an efficient calf train for coaching the gastrocnemius. Nevertheless, it requires plenty of stability and coordination, so it’s greatest to make use of lighter weights and better reps.

3. Leg Press Calf Elevate


The leg press calf elevate is straightforward to arrange and cargo with heavy weights, which makes it supreme for constructing dimension and power in your calves.

Biceps Isolation Workouts

1. Dumbbell Biceps Curl

PULL-Alternating Dumbbell Curl

Alternating dumbbell curls assist you to practice every arm independently, which helps stop one arm from getting larger or stronger than the opposite. 

2. Dumbbell Incline Curl


Not like most different biceps workouts, the dumbbell incline curl keeps stress on the biceps all through all the vary of movement, which is vital for growing balanced dimension and power.

3. Hammer Curl

PULL-Dumbbell Hammer Curl

The hammer curl emphasizes the brachialis, a small muscle that lies beneath the biceps that considerably provides to the biceps’ dimension and circumference.

Triceps Isolation Workouts

1. Overhead Triceps Extension

PUSH-Seated Triceps Press

The dumbbell overhead triceps extension is a prime triceps train as a result of it locations the arms overhead which fully stretches the triceps, which is vital for maximizing muscle development.

2. Triceps Pushdown

PUSH-Triceps Pushdown

Whereas the triceps extension trains all three heads of your triceps, analysis reveals it emphasizes the lengthy head, making it notably good for including dimension to your higher arms.

3. Skullcrusher


The skullcrusher trains the marginally smaller medial and lateral heads of the triceps, guaranteeing you could have outlined, proportional higher arms.

Forearm Isolation Workouts

1. Forearm Curl


The forearm curl straight trains the forearms with out fatiguing your different upper-body muscle mass, which suggests it doesn’t intrude together with your progress on different workouts. It additionally requires minimal tools and is snug for most individuals. 

2. Lifeless Cling


This is a wonderful forearm builder that doesn’t put an excessive amount of put on and tear in your joints. It’s additionally an excellent take a look at of forearm power. Should you can preserve your grip for 60 seconds, you’re above common. And if you are able to do it for two minutes, you’ve obtained Orangutan-level grip power. 🙂 

3. Plate Maintain

plate hold

Like lifeless hangs and forearm curls, the plate maintain successfully isolates your forearm muscle mass. It additionally strengthens your forearms in an analogous place to what you’d use when deadlift, which can increase your deadlift efficiency.

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Ab Isolation Workouts

1. Cable Crunch

cable crunch

The most important good thing about the cable crunch is it’s simple so as to add weight to. Having the ability to add weight to “crunch” workouts increases their effectiveness and permits you to use progressive overload (which is an important driver of muscle development). 

2. Hanging Leg Elevate

Hanging Leg Raise

Research reveals that workouts that contain bringing the pelvis towards the chest, such because the hanging leg elevate, are greatest for coaching the decrease abs—a vital a part of constructing a six-pack.

3. Air Bicycle


Research reveals the air bicycle is a unbelievable strategy to practice your obliques, the muscle mass beneath your “love handles” that assist “body” your abs.

FAQ #1: Are isolation workouts mandatory?

They’re not important, however they’re helpful for maximizing muscle acquire. 

For example, analysis reveals that combining isolation and compound workouts causes extra development than doing compound workouts alone. 

FAQ #2: Ought to I do compound or isolation workouts first?

All the time do compound workouts first. 

It’s typically a good suggestion to do your hardest workouts first in your exercises, adopted by the second hardest, and so forth.

Virtually talking, this implies beginning together with your hardest compound workouts and ending together with your simpler isolation workouts.

For example, in case your lower-body exercise included the squat, Romanian deadlift, lunge, and leg curl, you’d need to do the squat first, Romanian deadlift second, lunge third, and leg curl final.

Organizing your exercises this fashion helps you to put extra effort into probably the most difficult and rewarding workouts, which ought to increase muscle and power acquire.

FAQ #3: Do isolation workouts construct muscle?


Offered you raise heavy sufficient weights (~70-to-85% of your one-rep max), practice shut sufficient to failure, and step by step get stronger, isolation workouts enable you to construct muscle.

That stated, you must nonetheless prioritize compound workouts when trying to acquire muscle. A useful guideline is to spend round 80% of your coaching time on compound workouts and the remaining 20% on isolation workouts.

+ Scientific References