A couple of days in a row I have heard different debates and read different articles on the benefit of bodybuilding exercises and isolation exercises for the sport of weightlifting. I normally do not agree with Mark Rippetoe on anything but that being said he wrote a great article detailing some of his thoughts on that. Disclaimer: I do not agree with all that is said in the article but I do agree with most of it. It’s worth the time. What he rants on in this article is the necessity to view the body is a system rather than individual parts. This is huge for any simple understanding of strength and conditioning. Furthermore, Glenn Pendlay and John North got together for a Podcasts on the Fourth of July and discussed some of this early on in the podcasts. Also worth the listen to. Check it out here.
My thoughts are simple. The body works as a system and it should be trained as a system. For the purposes of strength and conditioning, working multiple muscle groups at the same time in conjunction with another creates the greatest level of strength. Specifically for the sport of weightlifting this is most crucial as you will never do a movement that doesn’t have multiple upon multiple muscle groups working in unison together. Listen to the podcast and read the article and you will see that this remains true of many other coaches beliefs. Lastly, you also see that there are always exceptions to the rule. The best exception I can think of is someone who needs to develop muscle in specific areas of the body for the purpose of safety and stability or anyone who needs to develop muscle for the sake of weight gain. Both of these circumstances could be situations where isolation exercise sizes might be used but only after full-bodied movements are completed and always in conjunction with full body movement.
Check those resources out and let me know what you think.