Working different muscles in your body for different results seems like a fairly obvious concept. Exercises such as squats, deadlifts, crunches, lat pulldowns all work the different ‘sections of your body’. For example, a Romanian deadlift works the hamstrings (in addition to the back, abdominals and more). Crunches work your rectus abdominus (the ‘abs’). In terms of Isolated Muscle exercises, we’re thinking about isolating hamstring, or one oblique at a time as opposed to working the two sides of the body.
Good compound exercises (squats, deadlifts, etc.) put many muscles and joints through a range of motion, allowing you to lift more weight. An Isolation exercise focuses on one muscle group and joint. For example, a single leg deadlift rather than a normal deadlift. Or a single leg glute bridge rather than a typical glute bridge.
So what’s the point?
Isolated muscle exercises help you to find your weakness, you may deadlift confidently but switching to a single leg deadlift your left leg may feel significantly weaker and lacking in balance than your right leg. In finding your imbalanced muscles within the body, it is easier to focus training on improving and strengthening the weaker sides.
Let’s take a Glute Bridge for example, both legs and glutes are being worked confidently but if you lift one leg off the ground into your chest and perform the exercise, it will be challenging. Particularly for growing the glutes, you may feel a lot more muscle engagement with isolated muscle exercises as the focus is smaller.
In my own training sessions, I complete my usual workouts such as a lower body HIIT and strength session then I try to spend 5 to 10 minutes working on a weakness or skill. So the other day I worked on isolated side exercises for the glutes, such as single leg deadlifts. Try adding in a few isolated muscle exercises to your next workout, such as single leg glute bridges or single leg deadlifts, and find your own muscle imbalances to improve on.