Whether you’re looking to maximize muscle gains or improve your body composition and health, resistance exercise is essential to meeting your goals.
While compound exercises work multiple muscle groups at a time, isolation exercises seek to stimulate only one muscle group in an effort to provide muscle growth.
Though it’s best to include a combination of compound and isolation exercises in your fitness routine, this comprehensive list covers 103 isolation exercises for your whole body, including how to perform them.
If you’re unsure whether an exercise fits your experience level or concerned about an underlying injury or health condition, it’s best to discuss your training plan with a qualified trainer.
The quadriceps, often referred to as quads, are the muscle group that comprises the front portion of your thigh.
These muscles mainly serve to allow extension (straightening) of the knee joint.
This group is made up of four muscles — the vastus lateralis, vastus intermedius, vastus medialis, and rectus femoris.
These muscles are best stimulated by leg-pushing movements.
1. High bar squats
While squats are technically a compound movement, placing the bar a bit higher on your back and narrowing your stance a little can serve to efficiently isolate the quads.
2. Leg press
The leg press serves as a great alternative to squats — not only for those just beginning their training journey but also advanced trainees.
Just like with squats, keeping your stance a bit narrower will help activate your quads.
3. Front squat
With the front squat, the bar is placed just above the clavicle, which moves the center of gravity forward and makes the quads the prime mover for this exercise.
4. Bulgarian split squat
While the split squat targets multiple muscle groups, it does a great job of hitting the quads.
The movement is performed by putting one foot up on a flat bench behind you and squatting down with the forward leg. You can hold a dumbbell in each hand for added difficulty.
It can also be performed with a loaded barbell or Smith machine as you become more advanced.
5. Hack squat
The hack squat is essentially the opposite of the leg press.
Instead of pushing against a weighted platform, you’re pushing against weighted pads that lie on your shoulders.
Just as with the leg press and squat, keeping your stance narrow will help better isolate the quads.
6. Leg extension
The leg extension is the gold standard for quad isolation exercises, as there’s minimal involvement of any other muscle groups.
Most machines utilize a weighted pad that’s placed against your lower shin and pushed against to activate the quads.
7. Goblet squat
The goblet squat is another squat variation in which a kettlebell or dumbbell is held out in front of the body as you squat down.
To better stimulate the quads, you can place a 2.5-pound (1-kg) or 5-pound (2.5-kg) plate under your heel and keep your stance a bit narrower.
The hamstrings are another major muscle group located on the backside of your legs.
These muscles serve to flex the leg at the knee joint and also assist in extending the hips.
They’re made up of three main muscles — the semitendinosus, semimembranosus, and biceps femoris.
These muscles are best stimulated by pulling and hip hinging movements.
8. Leg curl
The leg curl tends to be the gold standard when it comes to hamstring isolation exercises.
While there are several variations, this movement uses a weighted pad that is placed just below the calf muscles and curled in toward your legs.
9. Romanian deadlift
While the Romanian deadlift stimulates some other muscle groups, the primary movers are the hamstrings.
For this movement, a weighted barbell or dumbbells are held in your hands as you bend at the hips with a slight bend at the knees, providing an excellent stretch for the hamstrings.
10. Glute ham raise
The glute ham raise is a unique piece of equipment that’s becoming more popular in training facilities throughout the world.
When performed properly, it can efficiently isolate the hamstrings and glutes to provide maximum muscle activation and growth.
11. Single-leg deadlift
The single-leg deadlift most commonly uses either a kettlebell or dumbbell held in the opposite hand of the hamstring you’re targeting.
The weight is then lowered toward the floor while bending at the hips, allowing your non-working leg to track straight back and serving as a great stretch for the working hamstring.
The exercise is performed on each side until the desired numbers of reps and sets are reached.
12. Resistance band leg curl
The band leg curl is a great alternative when you don’t have access to a leg curl machine.
For this movement, the band is secured to an anchor point.
Next, lie on your stomach while wrapping the band just below your calf muscle. Curl it up toward your hamstring and slowly return to the starting position.
These large and powerful muscles are responsible for the extension and lateral rotation of the hip joint.
They’re best isolated with hip hinging and thrusting movements.
13. Barbell hip thrust
The barbell hip thrust is one of the best exercises for stimulating the glutes.
A loaded barbell, usually with padding, is positioned over the hips with your back braced against a low flat bench.
A hip thrusting motion is then performed for the desired number of reps and sets.
14. Dumbbell or barbell walking lunge
While the walking lunge stimulates multiple muscle groups, it can be an excellent exercise for working the glutes.
Place either a loaded barbell on your back or dumbbells in your hands and perform a repetitive lunging motion while you pay close attention to muscle contraction of the glutes.
15. Cable pull-through
The cable pull-through is a unique alternative to the hip thrust when equipment isn’t available or you feel like switching things up.
A rope attachment is fixed to a low cable. With your back facing the weight stack, grasp the rope in your hands between your legs.
Resting your hands on your thighs, thrust the weight while paying close attention to the contraction of the glutes.
16. Machine glute kickback
The glute kickback is a readily available piece of equipment in most gyms and can be a fantastic choice for working the glutes.
17. Glute bridge
While the glute bridge requires some flexibility, no equipment is needed, so it can be performed at home.
The movement is started by lying down with your feet flat and perpendicular to the floor.
A thrusting motion is then performed to contract the glutes for the desired amount of reps.
The calves are an important muscle group located on the back of your lower leg.
They’re mainly responsible for plantar flexion, which refers to the extension of the foot down away from the body, such as when jumping or running.
18. Seated calf raise
The seated calf raise is one of the more common movements utilized to work the calves.
Due to the angle at which the movement is performed, it predominantly targets the soleus muscle.
19. Standing calf raise
The standing calf raise serves as a good complement to the seated calf raise.
Given that this movement hits the calves from a different angle, it mainly targets the gastrocnemius muscle.
20. Stair calf raise
The stair calf raise is a unique movement that can be performed anywhere you have access to stairs.
The movement is performed similarly to a standing calf raise, extending your feet at the ankle joint and allowing your ankle to go below the surface of the step to get a good contraction.
21. Smith machine calf raise
The Smith machine calf raise is similar to a standing calf raise, although the resistance is provided by a loaded Smith machine bar on your back.
It’s helpful to perform the movement with your toes on a step platform, which allows your heels to track down to get a full contraction with each rep.
These muscles are responsible for the movement of your spine, stabilizing the trunk, and coordinating the movement of your limbs.
What’s unique about the back is that it’s best trained from different angles to maximize muscle gains.
22. Pullup or assisted pullup
The pullup is a classic back exercise. When it’s performed correctly, it can isolate most of the back muscles.
While there are different variations, the standard pullup starts by hanging from a bar with a medium width grip and pulling your body up with your back muscles until your chin is just above the bar.
23. Lat pulldown
The lat pulldown is another bread-and-butter back movement.
This movement mimics the motion of a pullup and is an excellent alternative, as the weight can be adjusted to match your level of strength and experience.
24. Straight arm pulldown
The straight arm pulldown is a fantastic back isolation movement that provides a nice stretch at the top.
This movement is performed similarly to a tricep pushdown, but the arms are kept straight, focusing on contracting the lats.
25. Hammer strength high row
This is a unique machine exercise that’s widely available in gyms.
The movement is similar to that of a lat pulldown, but the individual handles allow for increased flexibility and even make it possible to perform the movement with one arm at a time.
26. Bent over row
The bent over row is another classic back exercise that’s excellent for adding back thickness.
The exercise is performed by starting with a loaded barbell or dumbbells in your hands, bending slightly at the hips and knees, and rowing the weight up toward your belly button.
27. Inverted row
The inverted row is an excellent horizontal pulling exercise for hitting the mid-back.
It’s best performed on a Smith machine set in a lower position, although if the movement is too difficult, you can raise the bar a bit to make it easier.
28. Seated cable row
The seated cable row is a classic horizontal back movement for building thickness and size.
Make sure you keep an upright posture and get a full stretch at the end of each rep for maximal muscle stimulation.
29. Incline dumbbell row
The incline dumbbell row is another alternative to the chest supported row machine.
An incline bench is set at a 30–45-degree angle. You then sit on the bench backward with your chest facing the pad. Finally, you grasp a pair of dumbbells and row them up just until your upper arm is perpendicular to the pad.
30. Good morning
The good morning is a classic strength and conditioning exercise for building lower back strength, though it also hits the hamstrings and glutes to a good degree.
It’s important to perform this movement with good form to reduce the risk of injury.
31. Back extension
The back extension is a widely available piece of equipment that’s great for targeting the lower back.
As you become more advanced, you can hold a weight plate or dumbbell in your hand to make the exercise a bit more difficult.
The superman requires no equipment and can be performed in the comfort of your own home.
It’s an excellent exercise for targeting the posterior muscles, including the lower back.
If you find it too difficult to raise both arms and legs at the same time, try alternating by first raising your left arm and right leg and then your right arm and left leg.
33. Bird dogs
Bird dogs are another tried-and-true exercise for strengthening the core.
Also requiring no equipment, they’re a great addition to a home workout program.
34. Dumbbell shrug
The dumbbell shrug is similar to the barbell shrug but allows for increased flexibility during the movement by utilizing a dumbbell in each hand.
35. Machine shrug
The machine shrug is a plate–loaded option that allows for efficient isolation of the traps.
36. Seated dumbbell shrug
Seated dumbbell shrugs are an excellent way to eliminate the other muscles of the trunk and fully isolate the traps.
They also reduce spinal stress, and therefore, may be a better option for those recovering from injury.
The pectoralis major is split into two parts called the clavicular head, which is the upper chest, and the sternocostal head, which is the lower portion of the chest.
The main function of the chest muscles is to bring the arms toward the center of the body, also known as adduction.
37. Incline barbell bench press
The incline barbell bench press is the gold standard for building upper chest mass.
A barbell is loaded on an incline bench, slowly unracked, and pressed with a controlled movement, getting a full stretch at the bottom and peak contraction at the top.
38. Incline dumbbell bench press
The incline dumbbell bench press involves a movement pattern similar to that of the previous exercise, but dumbbells are used instead of a barbell.
This allows for more shoulder flexibility and may lead to better muscle contraction for some trainees.
39. Smith machine bench press
The Smith machine bench press utilizes a loaded Smith machine bar for resistance and can be performed either flat or on an incline.
This method allows you to isolate the chest muscles by reducing the amount of stabilization needed by accessory muscles.
40. Incline dumbbell fly
The incline dumbbell fly is an excellent upper chest accessory exercise, as it allows for a full stretch at the bottom of the movement.
Perform this movement on an adjustable bench set at a slight incline.
Grasp a pair of dumbbells in your hands, and while lying on your back, extend your arms down with a slight bend in the elbows, allowing for a full stretch before returning to the starting position.
41. Cable incline fly
The cable incline fly is similar to the dumbbell incline fly, but a cable crossover machine is used for resistance.
An incline bench is set up inside a cable crossover, and loaded handles are brought together in a slow and controlled manner, allowing for a full contraction of the upper chest.
42. Barbell bench press
The flat barbell bench press is a bread-and-butter movement for chest building that uses a loaded barbell set up on a flat bench for resistance.
It’s performed by grasping the bar with a medium width grip, unracking the bar, lowering it to your mid-chest with a controlled motion, and pressing up to return it to the starting position.
43. Dumbbell bench press
The dumbbell bench press involves a movement similar to that of the barbell bench press, but it uses dumbbells for resistance.
This allows a greater range of motion resulting in improved isolation of the chest muscles.
44. Machine bench press
The machine bench press seeks to mimic the movement pattern of the traditional bench press but reduces the amount of stabilization required by other muscle groups, which allows for better isolation of the chest.
45. Dumbbell fly
The dumbbell fly is quite similar to the incline dumbbell fly but uses a flat bench instead of an incline bench.
This better targets the lower portion of your chest muscle.
46. Machine chest fly
The machine chest fly uses the same movement pattern as the dumbbell chest fly but provides a more even strength curve, meaning the resistance is more consistent throughout the exercise.
47. Cable fly
The cable fly is unique in that it allows for greater flexibility in the angle at which the exercise is performed.
Setting the cables a bit lower will target the upper pecs, while setting the cables slightly higher will hit the lower part of your chest muscles.
The pushup is a classic bodyweight chest exercise that can be a great addition to your home workout program.
The arms can be placed a bit wider to target the pecs, or slightly closer to hit the triceps.
The shoulder muscles, also known as the deltoids, are made up of three distinct heads — the anterior head or front delts, lateral head or side delts, and posterior head or rear delts.
The main function of the deltoids is to provide abduction at the shoulder joint, meaning moving the upper arm away and out to the side of your body.
The exercises are broken into three categories based on the specific head of the delts that they target.
49. Standing shoulder press
The standing shoulder press is a classic movement for building shoulder mass, particularly for the front delts.
This movement is performed by unracking a loaded barbell and pressing it over your head in a controlled motion.
50. Standing dumbbell shoulder press
The standing dumbbell shoulder press mimics the movement of the barbell press but uses dumbbells for resistance.
This allows for greater flexibility and may help eliminate the wrist discomfort that some people experience with barbells.
51. Seated barbell shoulder press
The seated barbell shoulder press is quite similar to the standing version, although it relieves some of the trunk muscle from stabilizing the body, allowing for more isolation of the delts.
52. Seated dumbbell shoulder press
The seated dumbbell shoulder press is a well-known bodybuilding movement for building shoulder mass.
This movement is performed on an incline bench set to a nearly upright position.
Dumbbells are then pressed above the head in a controlled motion for the desired number of reps.
53. Machine shoulder press
The machine shoulder press follows a movement pattern similar to those of other shoulder-pressing movements but uses an adjustable weight stack for resistance.
Less stabilization is required than is with free-weight shoulder-press exercises, making this a great option for beginners.
54. Smith machine seated shoulder press
The Smith Machine seated shoulder press is similar to the seated barbell shoulder press, but the bar is fixed on the Smith Machine.
Just like the machine shoulder press, this reduces the amount of stabilization required, making the movement slightly easier to perform.
55. Barbell front raise
The barbell front raise efficiently targets the anterior or front delts.
For this movement, a loaded barbell is grasped with an overhand grip and raised to eye level before steadily being returned to the starting position.
56. Dumbbell front raise
The dumbbell front raise is quite similar to the barbell front raise but uses dumbbells for resistance, allowing slightly more flexibility.
57. Dumbbell lateral raise
The dumbbell lateral raise is one of the more popular exercise selections when looking to hit the side delts.
To perform this movement, a dumbbell is held in each hand and raised out to the side of your body with a slight bend in your elbows. The dumbbells are then returned to the starting position in a controlled motion.
58. Cable lateral raise
The cable lateral raise — like other cable movements — provides a steady resistance curve throughout the movement.
This exercise uses a low pulley set up with a single D handle and an appropriate amount of weight.
59. Barbell upright row
The barbell upright row is an excellent mass builder for the delts when performed correctly.
A loaded barbell is grasped with a medium grip and pulled directly upward until your hands reach your shoulders or slightly above. The weight is then returned to the starting position in a controlled manner.
60. Cable upright row
The cable upright row is performed in a similar fashion to the previous exercise but uses a straight bar attachment on a cable pulley for consistent resistance throughout the movement.
61. Dumbbell upright row
The dumbbell upright row provides a bit more flexibility than the barbell upright row.
It’s a great option for those who experience wrist pain when doing the traditional barbell upright row.
62. Cable face pull
The cable face pull directly hits the rear delts when performed properly.
To perform this movement, set up a cable pulley with a rope attachment at eye level.
Pull the rope toward your face while flaring your elbows out to the side, ensuring a full contraction and full stretch during each rep.
63. Seated cable face pull
The seated face pull is the same a the traditional face pull but seated.
This takes out some of the required trunk stabilization, making the movement slightly easier and allowing you to fully focus on the muscle contraction.
64. Banded face pulls
Banded face pulls follow the same movement pattern as other face pulls but use a band for resistance.
These are a great option for workouts taking place at home or in gyms with limited equipment.
65. Dumbbell rear delt lateral raise
The dumbbell rear delt lateral raise is a favorite exercise among bodybuilders looking to target their rear delts.
This movement is performed similarly to a dumbbell lateral raise, but instead of standing straight up, you’re bent over at the waist with a slight bend in the knees, targeting the rear delts.
66. Rear delt machine fly
The rear delt machine fly is a commonly found piece of equipment in most gyms.
To perform this movement, sit down facing the chest pad of the machine and making sure the machine arms are adjusted for the rear delt fly.
Grab the handles, and with a slight bend in the elbows, extend your arms back behind you just until they pass your torso, then finally return your arms to the starting position.
The biceps serve to flex the elbow and facilitate pulling movements, whereas the triceps main function is to extend the elbow joint and perform pushing movements.
Meanwhile, the muscles in the forearm facilitate movements of the wrist and hands.
The isolation exercises below are broken up into three groups — biceps, triceps, and forearms.
67. Barbell curl
The barbell curl is a classic movement utilized by bodybuilders and recreational athletes alike.
To perform the movement, a loaded barbell is grasped with an underhand grip and curled up toward the face while keeping the upper arms parallel to the torso.
The weight is then lowered back down in a controlled motion to get a full stretch at the bottom.
68. EZ Bar curl
The EZ bar curl is another popular exercise for bicep mass building, and it’s performed similarly to the barbell curl.
The curved bar helps relieve some of the pressure on the wrist joint, making the movement slightly more comfortable to perform than with a barbell.
69. Alternating dumbbell curl
The alternating dumbbell curl is performed with a pair of dumbbells, one in each hand.
They’re then curled up, one at a time, and slowly lowered to the starting position.
One benefit to this movement is that while one arm is being exercised, the other is at rest, allowing a slight period of recovery between reps.
70. Two-arm dumbbell curl
The two-arm dumbbell curl is similar to the previous movement but instead of alternating arms, you’ll complete the exercise by curling both arms up at once.
71. Hammer curl
The hammer curl is a slight variation of the two-arm dumbbell curl, but instead of using an underhand grip, the dumbbells are held with a neutral grip, meaning your hands face each other.
This targets the forearms to a greater extent, as well as the biceps.
72. Cable curl
The cable curl is an excellent exercise for isolating the biceps, as it provides constant tension throughout the movement.
The exercise is performed by setting up a low pulley with a straight or EZ curl bar.
The bar is then curled up similarly to a barbell curl, making sure to get a peak contraction at the top and a full stretch at the bottom.
73. Incline dumbbell curl
The incline dumbbell curl is a seated variation of the traditional dumbbell curl.
This movement utilizes an incline bench set at an approximately 45-degree angle to help further isolate the biceps.
While seated, a dumbbell is held in each hand and curled up in an alternating fashion before slowly being lowered back down to the starting position.
74. Dumbbell spider curl
The spider curl is a unique exercise that serves to stimulate a maximal stretch of the biceps at the bottom of the movement.
To perform this exercise, you’ll face backward on an incline bench with your arms hanging down over top with a dumbbell in each hand.
The dumbbells are then curled all the way up, and in a controlled motion, lowered back down, feeling a full stretch at the bottom.
75. Preacher curl
The preacher curl is another bread-and-butter bicep-building movement.
For this exercise, a preacher curl bench is utilized.
With the elbows positioned on the pad, an EZ curl bar or pair of dumbbells are grasped with an underhand grip, curled up, and lowered back down with a steady motion.
76. Machine preacher curl
The machine preacher curl is similar to the traditional preacher curl but instead of an EZ curl bar or dumbbells, a weight arm is used for resistance.
77. Drag curls
Drag curls are a unique variation of the traditional barbell curl.
The difference is that instead of curling the bar up and out, the bar is held close to your torso all the way to the top of the movement and while releasing it back down.
78. Band curls
Band curls are an excellent curl option for an at-home workout, or even to try something different at the gym.
While standing on top of the middle of the band as an anchor, the band handles are grasped with an underhand grip and curled up, then back down, resisting the band tension throughout the movement.
79. Cable pushdown
The cable pushdown is a staple in many exercise programs for its ability to efficiently isolate the triceps.
This movement is performed on a high cable pulley, most commonly with a straight bar attachment.
Facing the pulley and grasping the bar with an overhand grip, the bar is pushed down until just before it reaches your thighs and slowly returned to the starting position, keeping your arms close to your sides.
80. Cable overhead triceps extension
The cable overhead extension hits the triceps from a different angle, promoting well-rounded growth throughout.
To start, set the cable pulley to about chest height with your choice of rope or straight bar attachment.
Grasp the bar with an overhand grip and your back facing the cable pulley, extend your arms up and over your head, pause briefly at the top, and steadily return to the starting position, getting a full stretch at the bottom.
81. Barbell skull crusher
The barbell skull crusher is a classic mass-building movement for the triceps.
To perform this movement, set up a flat bench and load a barbell or EZ curl bar with your working weight.
Lie on the bench, extend the loaded bar over your head, and slowly lower the bar down toward your eyes or forehead, feeling a deep stretch at the bottom and returning the bar to the starting position in a controlled fashion.
82. Dumbbell skull crusher
The dumbbell skull crusher is performed similarly to the barbell skull crusher, but dumbbells are used, allowing for more flexibility at the wrists.
Dips are an excellent bodyweight triceps exercise that also targets the upper chest to a limited extent.
To perform this movement, stand facing a dip station or parallel bars.
Grasp the bars with your hands facing each other and raise yourself up by pushing with your triceps, then lower yourself down with a controlled motion, feeling a stretch at the bottom.
Finally, raise yourself back up, ensuring a full muscle contraction at the top.
This movement can also be performed with assistance, which uses a counterweight to make it slightly easier.
84. Machine dips
Machine dips mimic the movement of traditional dips but use a weighted arm for resistance.
In addition, this exercise is usually performed seated, allowing you to further isolate the triceps.
85. Machine triceps extension
The machine triceps extension is a widely available piece of equipment in most gyms.
While seated, place your elbows on the pad and grasp the machine handles.
Extend your arms down, getting a full muscle contraction at the bottom, and slowly return them up to the starting position, feeling a stretch at the top.
86. Seated EZ bar triceps extension
The seated EZ bar extension is a free-weight version of the cable tricep extension.
While seated, a loaded EZ curl bar is positioned behind the head and extended up, fully contracting the triceps at the top, and lowering it back down to get a full stretch at the end of the movement.
87. Dumbbell kickbacks
Dumbbell kickbacks are a great finisher exercise for the triceps.
To perform this exercise, grasp an appropriate dumbbell in one hand, placing the other hand and one knee on a flat bench.
With a flat back, extend the dumbbell up and back using only your tricep muscle, then slowly return it to the starting position.
88. Band tricep pushdowns
Band pushdowns are an excellent at-home option for hitting the triceps.
This exercise is similar to a cable triceps pushdown, but a band attached to an anchor point is used to provide resistance.
89. Band tricep extension
The band tricep extension follows the same movement pattern as the cable overhead extension but uses a band for resistance, providing constant tension throughout the movement.
90. Barbell wrist curls
The barbell wrist curl isolates the posterior, or backside, of the forearm.
To perform this movement, grasp an empty or lightly loaded barbell with an overhand grip and curl it up toward your body, keeping your arms straight and moving only your wrists.
91. Cable wrist curls
The cable wrist curl is performed in the same fashion as the dumbbell wrist curl, though resistance is provided by a low cable pulley.
92. Wrist roller
The wrist roller is a fantastic forearm builder that can be made at home.
A wooden dowel or metal bar is affixed with a rope, and a small weight is added to the other end.
Grasping the bar or dowel with an overhand grip, your arms are extended out in front of you.
Reel in the rope by spinning the bar, focusing on working the muscles of the forearm, then reverse the motion, letting the rope back out until it touches the floor.
93. Dumbbell bench wrist curls
To perform the dumbbell wrist curl, start by kneeling down facing a flat bench.
Grasp a light dumbbell and allow your hand and wrist to hang over the side of the bench.
Curl the weight up, moving only your forearm and getting a full contraction at the top.
The ab muscles play an important role in stabilizing your core and providing movement of the torso.
These exercises target the abs from a variety of angles, ensuring full isolation.
94. Reaching situp
The reaching situp puts a spin on the traditional situp by having you extend your arms and reach a bit further at the top of the movement, providing a maximal muscle contraction.
95. Rope crunch
The rope crunch is a unique ab exercise that uses a cable weight stack for resistance.
To perform this movement, set up a cable pulley with a rope attachment set to medium height.
Facing away from the weight stack, kneel down and grab the ropes in each hand.
Crunch down, ensuring you get a full contraction at the bottom and deep stretch at the top.
The V-up takes the traditional crunch and adds a step to make it a bit more challenging.
To perform this exercise, lie on your back with your legs straight out.
Initiate a crunching motion by raising your legs up and reaching toward your toes in a simultaneous motion, and steadily return to the starting position.
97. Machine crunch
The machine crunch is an alternative to the traditional crunch. It’s performed in a seated position as opposed to lying on your back.
To perform the movement, select your desired working weight, and while seated in the machine, reach up to grab the handles.
Perform a crunching motion by contracting your abs, then slowly return to the starting position, getting a full stretch at the top.
98. Decline situp
The decline situp is performed on a decline bench, taking the traditional situp and making it much more challenging for maximal ab isolation.
99. Hanging leg raise
To perform the hanging leg raise, start by hanging from a pullup bar.
Raise your legs up as high as possible while keeping them relatively straight, then slowly lower them back down to the hanging position.
This movement can also be performed with the knees bent to make it a bit easier.
100. Ab roller
The ab roller is a commonly found piece of gym equipment that can be used to build significant ab strength.
To perform this movement, start on your hands and knees with the ab roller in your hands.
Slowly roll the ab roller out until your arms are fully extended, then gradually return to the starting position.
101. Russian twist
The Russian twist is a unique exercise that works both the rectus abdominus and obliques.
To start the movement, sit on the floor with a medicine ball or dumbbell in your hands.
Raise your legs and twist back and forth, moving the weight from one side of your body to the other for the designated time or reps.
The plank is a static ab exercise usually completed for a set amount of time.
To perform a plank, lie on a yoga mat with your elbows supporting your body and legs extended straight back behind you.
Hold this position for the desired amount of time, usually 15–30 seconds is a good place to start.
103. Side plank
The side plank is similar to the traditional plank, though for this movement, you’re turned to your side, supporting your body with one arm and isolating the oblique muscles.
Though compound movements may be viewed as superior given that they simulate multiple muscle groups at once, isolation exercises are an equally important part of any strength training program.
To create a balanced training program, it’s best to incorporate a variety of exercises for each muscle group, including a mix of compound and isolation movements.
As always, it’s important to speak with your medical provider before starting an exercise program, especially if you have any underlying conditions.
If you’re unsure about how to tailor your training program to your experience level and needs, consider enlisting the help of a personal trainer.