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Question about isolating muscles and hypertrophy?

dave_in_nidave_in_ni Posts: 504Member Member Posts: 504Member Member
Here's a question, strictly in terms of hypertrophy.

Take any exercise, we'll say bench press for this example. We put 50kg on the bar, nice slow and controlled eccentrics, perfect form, say we get 90% chest activation doing this. We then put on 60kg, on this we only get 60% chest. 20 shoulders and 20 triceps, we add another 10kg so 70kg on the bar, this time we're only getting 40% chest, 30% shoulders and 30% triceps. These are just examples but you get where I am going with this.

So if hypertrophy is our goal, and we're trying to isolate a muscle where do we stop? In the example of the bench press sure we can lift 70kg but we are pulling in other muscles and our form just might not be 100% perfect. Its important to differentiate between hypertrophy and strength because with strength it doesn't really matter as much

Replies

  • cwolfman13cwolfman13 Posts: 36,703Member Member Posts: 36,703Member Member
    The bench press is a compound movement...it is intended to use multiple muscle groups. A good hypertrophy program is still going to have compound movements like bench press at it's foundation...you would just do additional isolation work...for example:

    Dumbbell Flyes.
    Decline Dumbbell Flyes.
    Incline Dumbbell Flyes.
    Cable Crossovers.
    Bodyweight Flyes.
    Butterfly Machine.
    Cable Iron Cross.
    Flat Bench Cable Flyes.

    My understanding is that the difference between doing bench for strength vs hypertrophy would be time under tension...you would use a lighter weight in a hypertrophy program to get more time under tension...but bench is still not an isolation movement...it is a compound movement.
  • steveko89steveko89 Posts: 1,325Member Member Posts: 1,325Member Member
    My understanding is that the nature of compound exercises recruit other muscles by default, regardless of load, just at varying intensities depending on load (hence being referred to as compound exercises). You need both volume and intensity to drive hypertrophy.
  • timgallegos15timgallegos15 Posts: 57Member Member Posts: 57Member Member
    I think your answer is within your question.... No matter what, chest, delts, traps, lat,triceps will always activate bc thats what happens when you bench press, those are supporting muscles... So we definitely have to have good form to excercise our pec muscle during this exercise, so if have to drop weight in order to have good form, then thats what we do.... Form=Hypertrophy... Now your last sentence bcomes true, strength is how fast i can get the weight up, hypertrophy is big can i get this muscle.... Thoughts?? Just my 2 cents
  • dave_in_nidave_in_ni Posts: 504Member Member Posts: 504Member Member
    steveko89 wrote: »
    My understanding is that the nature of compound exercises recruit other muscles by default, regardless of load, just at varying intensities depending on load (hence being referred to as compound exercises). You need both volume and intensity to drive hypertrophy.

    True, BP maybe wasn't the best example. Something like a Bicep Curl say, there is a point you can go past where you pulling in delts and the rest, sure you may be able to lift the weight but you are not getting full focus on the bicep
  • dave_in_nidave_in_ni Posts: 504Member Member Posts: 504Member Member
    cwolfman13 wrote: »
    The bench press is a compound movement...it is intended to use multiple muscle groups. A good hypertrophy program is still going to have compound movements like bench press at it's foundation...you would just do additional isolation work...for example:

    Dumbbell Flyes.
    Decline Dumbbell Flyes.
    Incline Dumbbell Flyes.
    Cable Crossovers.
    Bodyweight Flyes.
    Butterfly Machine.
    Cable Iron Cross.
    Flat Bench Cable Flyes.

    My understanding is that the difference between doing bench for strength vs hypertrophy would be time under tension...you would use a lighter weight in a hypertrophy program to get more time under tension...but bench is still not an isolation movement...it is a compound movement.

    True I should not have used a compound movement as an example, say a curl or skullcrusher, same thing I guess, you can go past a point where the bicep or tricep is the main focus even though you can lift the weight
  • Justin_7272Justin_7272 Posts: 159Member, Premium Member Posts: 159Member, Premium Member
    Your post is a little confusing, but I think your question is;

    For maximizing hypertrophy in isolation exercises, which is ideal; low-rep high weight, or high-rep low weight. And if it is low-rep high weight, is it worth pushing beyond AMRAP into technical failure by sacrificing form to maximize hypertrophy?

    If this is the correct question, I believe low-rep, high weight (5-12 rep max) is generally considered best practice for both hypertrophy and strength. And lifting into technical failure may help somewhat, but risk of injury outweighs the benefit IMO.

    If you're diving deeper into amount of max rep for max hypertrophy (i.e. lifting at 5RM vs 10RM) there are varying schools of thought (see SL5x5 vs All-Pros), but generally they should both produce similar results. Beyond 12RM is generally considered entering hi-rep low weight territory.
  • billkansasbillkansas Posts: 233Member Member Posts: 233Member Member
    Personally, I stop before performing isolation exercises. I just don't have the time. I prefer to load a barbell and squat, bench, or press it.. and then move on. Frankly, hypertrophy was never a goal that could keep me interested. It's too illusive. Seeing my compound/main lifts go up- that's the only thing I've found that keeps me motivated.
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