Posted by: PFB
Q. I'm having a hard time figuring out what isolation exercises are best for growth. Got any tips?
A. Sure do! The most important aspect to consider when choosing a single-joint, isolation exercise is loading. What I mean is this: the larger the load you can lift in any given exercise, the better it is for growth. This advice directly correlates with the load/motor unit recruitment relationship that's been established by the Neuroscience community. In other words, the larger the load, the more motor units you'll recuit, and the more strength/muscle you'll build.
Most trainees have learned that barbell biceps curls are superior to concentration curls; however, most don't understand why. Well, the reason is related to loading. The barbell biceps curl allows you to lift a substantially larger load than concentration curls; therefore, barbell curls are better for muscle growth. The same is true with virtually any exercise. Think about the triceps. Dips and close-grip bench presses absolutely annihilate triceps kickbacks in terms of hypertrophy development. Why? Because the load you can lift with dips and close-grip bench presses is incredibly large compared to limp-wristed, pansy-assed triceps kickbacks. Therefore, the next time you're deciding between isolation exercises, keep this fact in mind!