Isolation Exercises – Cheat meals for the body?

So we understand that MVNSSFLSNS is the food we should eat for health and that precisely monitoring the amounts will help us improve or maintain performance.

If I am struggling to ween myself off the standard western diet then maybe I augment my Real Food diet with some cheat meals to increase compliance. After all the diet that nobody sticks to doesn’t work right.

If I don’t have the discipline to weigh and measure then I can get some good responses out of just eating real food, can’t I? In addition Dr Sears has told us that if we just cant give up standard western fare then positive outcomes can be achieved through weighing and measuring even fast foods. Even though this is not the intent of zone.

Now I am not really a nutrition guy, all willpower and no won’t power but lets look at some parallels.

We understand that the real food weighed and measured equivalent in Fitness programming is CVFMHI.

But if I just do FM that are relevant to life then I should be able to stay out of a nursing home.

and if I hit isolation movements step machines and elliptical trainers with high intensity then I will see some results – MM, BF, CV capacity.

We know that variance isn’t as required if I know the demands of what I am training for, specialists have been narrowing their focus to achieve success since the start of S&C

My point is that before we get to zealous about applying the CrossFit definition we should understand that it represents the ideal scenario for getting fit (for getting work capacity across broad time and modal domains). But there are many expressions of CrossFit that don’t strictly adhere to the definition and still positively change plenty of lives everyday.

Long intro because I am going to share my favorite isolation exercises ( and I don’t want a blanket bashing from the community) hopefully we can reassess some of the group think around isolation versus compound.

I value functional compound movements most because they have a unique ability to express power. At the same time I also value isolation movements for their ability to target specific weaknesses that exist in those functional movement patterns.

Here we go:

Hip Extension, Hip Thrust, Glute Bridge –

For athletes with what Stuart McGill terms ‘Glute Amnesia” the above exercises when executed with particular attention allocated to maintaining an unchanging midline and purely hip hinging are GOLD in warm ups or finishers, I love these pieces.

Side lying external rotations, cable crossover lat pulls –

For athletes who struggle to get organised at the shoulder or are chronically internally rotated.

tricep pushdowns or kick backs-

For athletes struggling to lock out HSPU or dips

Bicep Curls –

For Athletes struggling to fill out their little sisters TShirt – Just kidding, the moral of the story is that isolation movements have the capacity to accelerate ones development of functional movements and should not be disregarded just because they do not easily fit into the definition of CrossFit.


2 responses to “Isolation Exercises – Cheat meals for the body?”

  1. Dan Williams says :

    I recently had a discussion with someone who made a decent argument for the functionality of bicep curls.

    We decided that most (though certainly not all) movements act to improve health. If it’s an exercise that doesn’t cause you damage, it probably causes you good. It’s a continuum – the aim should be to progress along this continuum to include more ‘LLLDQ’ exercises. Contrived movements aren’t bad for you (generally), there’s just something else that’s better.

    Looking forward to reading your future posts.

    • coachingmci says :

      Thanks for christening the new blog Dan. Arguably contrived movements may be the best movement for an individual at the current point in their journey. For example a hip thrust or a glute bridge can improve p chain awareness and strength better than a quad dominant heels off the ground squat would. The end goal is the good squat and the isolation exercise can help neaten it up. Isolate then integrate. I think the hate should be on the trainer that gives a trainee isolation exercises without context rather than on the exercises themselves.

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