The bicep curl is the most popular of isolation exercises, and why I refer to it when explaining what isolation exercises are: They are exercises that target a specific muscle in your body – the biceps, for example. During the bicep curl the largest muscle used is the biceps and only a little of the front deltoid (shoulder) is stimulated; therefore the curl is predominantly an isolation exercise.
Other common isolation exercises include:
Lateral Dumbbell Raises
Lateral raises using dumbbells target the side deltoid muscles. Simply grab a dumbbell in each hand, lay your hands by the side of your body and raise the dumbbells outward and upward, then slowly lower and repeat.
Lay on your front on the leg curl machine and curl your legs up toward your butt, and then back again. Use a slow deliberate motion. The leg curl isolates the hamstrings.
The calf raise is generally performed on the seated calf machine. You place the bars over your knees and lift the weight upward with your calfs. This exercise only targets your calf muscles, and boy does it target them well.
Using either a rope or pulley attached to a cable-machine, you pull the rope/pulley down to the floor while keeping the rest of your body still – this isolates the triceps. They are the only muscle you will feel burning while you’re performing the pushdowns correctly.
Ah… the simple crunch. Simple lay on your back and curl your neck and head forward slightly until your abs contract and pinch together. Repeat for at least 10-20 repetitions to feel your abs being worked. There aren’t really many exercises that can isolate your abdominals the way crunches can. I prefer using weight plates while performing crunches to add more resistance in my workouts.
The wrist curl is similar to the bicep curl – think of it as a mini curl, yet you hold the bar in your wrist, place your elbows on your knees and curl the bar and weight using only your wrist. This exercise is a monster to develop your forearm strength.