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Usefulness of isolation-based hypertrophy

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  • Usefulness of isolation-based hypertrophy

    Hi Drs!

    I recently finished listening to all 4 of your programming podcasts. Thank you for the fantastic content! (Can’t wait for the book).

    Two points made in episode 24 were:

    • Muscle size and neuromuscular improvements are primarily how we improve force production

    • If you want to increase your long term strength potential, you need to increase your skeletal muscle mass

    I understand that “strength is specific”, so I’m curious if you feel that “functional” hypertrophy (in the sense of benefitting the squat/DL/press/bench) can be gained through isolation training?

    Or is it better to use hypertrophy-specific programming using those core 4 movements? (Again, assuming the goal is increased force production in the 4 movements).

    Thank you!

  • #2
    I don't think we look at it in a binary way. Rather, increased muscle cross sectional area increases the muscle's potential to apply force. If you gained a bunch of hypertrophy through non specific methods, you'd have to do some specific work to "transfer" it to the squat, DL, press, and bench press.

    I think there's a time and a place for isolation work nonetheless- typically when volume needs to go up to drive growth, but need to do so with lower fatigue variants.
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