says Rich Kite, a strength and conditioning coach and founder of UK Olympic Weightlifting
In the world of weightlifting, most of our training focuses around full compound movements. However, even in this most functional of sports, there’s room for isolation exercises, especially for strengthening joints to increase resistance to injury. With heavy loads going through the body, well in excess of bodyweight, you need to ensure each joint can function correctly while under these forces. Isolation training will do that.
The shoulder and elbow are common victims of injury, and biceps curls do a great job of helping prevent that, while things like leg extension and hamstring curl machines can be used in conjunction with squats and pulls to finish off a session. Leg machine moves might generally be viewed as vanity exercises but they’re actually brilliant for isolating the muscles through a large range of motion. Single-leg variations are especially good for correcting imbalances.
Your approach to workout programming should be to work with what’s in front of you and do what you can to improve performance. It’s important to manage weaknesses so you can continually progress in the most appropriate way. This may mean the inclusion of isolation exercises. Pretty much everyone will benefit from them – you definitely don’t need to be a bodybuilder to make them a key part of your training.
They shouldn’t be the main focus of your training day, but adding three sets of 20 curls with a manageable weight will protect your elbows and strengthen your biceps through a full range of motion. That’s where isolation exercises can make a real difference.
‘ISOLATION TRAINING CAN HELP PREVENT INJURY’