Important Tip: Isolate Those Lats Muscles! There are two main things that hold people "back" when trying to train their back. The first is that they can't see it when they're training it. This makes it harder to really focus on and properly work AND, since it's not a "mirror muscle," it tends to get lower priority in the overall training workload.
The second thing is that people can't FEEL the back muscles actually doing the work. And if you can't feel the back muscles working, chances are, they're not getting worked very effectively.
Now, you can't fix the first problem of not being able to see the muscle while training it without having a double mirror setup that allows you to see your back in the mirror. It's rare you'll find a gym that has mirrors on two opposing walls - they try to avoid the "funhouse" effect.
Isolation Training Amazing TipsHow To Do It:
To perform this exercise, all you'll need is a high pulley and an attachment (bar or rope).
- Set a moderate weight on the pulley - you won't use a heavy weight for this exercise as it's all about feel. If you go too heavy, you'll have to resort to momentum to move the bar and that will defeat the purpose of the exercise.
- Put both hands on the bar (overhand grip) about 6 to 8 inches apart. Take a big step back, bring the bar back with you. Lean forward so your torso is at about a 45 degree angle. You can have your feet set together or be in a lunge position - whichever is most comfortable to you.
- Keep your abs tight and an make sure there is an arch in your lower back. In order for your lats to function properly, the lower back MUST be arched.
- At the start position, your arms are in an overhead position and slightly bent but stiff. The cable weight is pulling up on your arms so your lats are getting stretched.
- Now begin the movement, pushing the bar directly down and around in an arc. DO NOT bend your arms!! Keep them locked into that slightly bent position. All the movement should occur at the shoulders.
- Important Tip: Isolate Those Lats Muscles! Push the bar all the way down to your thighs, squeezing your lats hard the whole time. Pause at the bottom then let the cable pull the bar back up, keeping tension in your lats.
- As you come to the top, dip your upper body down a bit to increase the stretch on the lats.
- For breathing with this exercise, you want to take a BIG deep breath at the stretch (top) of the movement. Inflating your lungs maximally at the top will increase the stretch on the lats and help you feel the lats working. As you push the bar down, exhale through pursed lips (like you're blowing up a balloon).
- This exercise can also be done one arm at a time with a single cable handle as well.
- Go for moderate to higher reps with this exercise - it's not a power-based exercise but more a "feel" exercise that you need to really keep form tight on. This exercise will give you a strong burning sensation in that lats because they don't really get any break in the tension throughout the movement.
- I like to use this exercise as part of a pre-exhaust style of set, working it immediately before another exercise for the lats such as a variation of chins, rows or pulldowns. Do a set of 8 to 10 reps of the Stiff-Arm Pushdown then go right to the exercise. I can promise...you'll feel your lats working!
- You see, because the Stiff-Arm Pushdown only hits the lats and leaves the biceps untouched, when you move to the other exercise for back (e.g. chins, pulldowns or rows) the lats will already be "pre-exhausted" and the biceps will help keep the movement going, pushing the lats harder.
- It's a great technique and very effective if you have trouble feeling your back when you train it.
Give the Stiff-Arm Pushdown a try in your next back workout. If you've never done a true isolation exercise for the back before, it'll be a nice change of pace and help you get a lot more out of your back training.
"Often times, people stretch one day only to feel just as tight the next," says Sue Falsone, director of performance physical therapy for Athletes' Performance. But with AIS, Falsone says, you utilize reciprocal inhibition to not only loosen up the opposing muscle, but also increase your range of motion. You won't stretch for 10 to 30 seconds, as you would with traditional stretch-and-hold stretches. Instead, by holding stretches for just a couple seconds, you'll increase your range of motion with each repetition.
By using a rope to assist with the stretch, you can increase your range of motion by 6 to 10 degrees more than without the rope. This is key because it helps reprogram your brain to remember this new range of motion. That way it can remind your muscles the next time you stretch or play or lift weights.
Mind Over Muscle
Mentally you’ve conditioned yourself to believe you can stretch only to a certain point. And most often, you've determined that point because you're weak in a given area or you lack focus. With AIS, you're reprogramming your brain, along with any preconceived notions about your flexibility.
For example, say you’re doing a hamstring stretch. You’re lying on your back with a rope wrapped around one leg. First, you squeeze your quadriceps, hip flexors, and abs. As you squeeze, they contract, and your brain sends a message to your hamstrings telling them to relax. That enables you to gently assist with the rope to pull your hamstrings into a slightly deeper stretch, and it helps to reprogram your brain to recognize that new range of motion.
Since your quadriceps and hip flexors are doing the work, your brain is sending signals to your quadriceps, shutting off the signals to your hamstrings, which want to resist. In a sense, you’re tricking your body, and you're constantly reprogramming it.
When to Do It
If you have a tight back or hamstrings, you might find it valuable to practice AIS every day. It's best performed at the end of a workout or when you have some free time at night or on the weekends.
Move actively through the range of motion and exhale as you gently assist with the rope.
The rope should add no more than 6 to 10 percent to your range of motion.
To save time, do the entire series of leg stretches with one leg first, then the other.
Below are a few examples of Active Isolated Stretching movements. Click on each title for detailed exercise instructions.
In our first Tips for Turnout post we looked at ways of opening out the hips, to get some more turnout range, and discussed some reasons why your hips might be getting tight in the first place.
Once you have developed a little more range, it is essential to understand exactly how to train your turnout muscles safely. Far too many dancers do exercises to “improve their turnout” that may actually be damaging for their hips.
One of the most surprising things for us in the clinic is how few dancers actually know where their turnout muscles are! I always ask students to point out where their turnout muscles are both on their own body, and on a muscle chart like the one below… And we always get a few surprising answers!
Female Muscle Chart
Without looking at any of the labels – on the body chart to the left – point to the area where you think your turnout muscles are… Then think about where on your body this would be…What other muscles do you think help with turnout?
What muscles should not be used? Why?
So Where are these muscles on you?
Your turnout muscles sit around the back of your hip, under the line of your leotard, from the lumpy bone on the outside of your hip (Greater Trochanter) towards your tail bone (Sacrum). Your Quadratus Femoris goes from your Greater Trochanter to your sitting bone (Ischial Tuberosity).
What other muscles do you think are involved in turnout?
Many people think that their bigger gluteal muscles, inner thighs or front of the hips are their turnout muscles. While the inner thighs do support turnout in some positions, they are not really ’turnout muscles’.
Your core muscles however are very important in creating a base to work your turnout from, and the muscles in your feet that help prevent from rolling can help stimulate a whole line of smaller muscles through your legs to stabilize more effectively in turnout.
Your deepest hip flexors (Psoas Major) are very important in helping to control the leg in turnout en l’air, and we will discuss this further in Part 3 of this article.
Your (Inner part of the Quadriceps Muscle) will help to control the alignment of the knee en fondu, but again is not really a turnout muscle.
What muscles should not be used – and why?
If you grip with all of your gluteals to try and hold turnout (especially Gluteus Maximus and Gluteus Medius) you will tend to develop a lot of tension in the gluteal area. This can restrict your flexibility into turnout and also into the splits.
Your gluteal muscles are important to help you jump, so if they are already being used for turnout, then they either won’t be available to be used for jumping, or, if they let go of their job to turn out, then you will struggle to control your turnout in allegro. In addition, if you use your gluteal muscles or your hip flexors to help with turnout you may actually devlop tension in these muscles that will REDUCE your turnout over time!
If you use the front of the hips to work your turnout, the TFL and Rectus Femoris will get very tight, and may become sore and inflamed. This is often felt with pain in the front of the hips with retire, or if you notice that the hips are very tight when going into a plie.
What's the purpose of isolation exercises?
“First off, there is no such thing as a true “isolation exercise”. Take the biceps curl for example. While we think that this most basic isolation movement only works the biceps, many muscles in your hands, forearms, shoulders, core and back also play a role. With that being said, isolation movements, more than compound exercises, place an emphasis on a single muscle. These exercises can be used to great effect when in a hypertrophy (mass building) phase or to bring up a lagging muscle that gets bypassed in compound, multi-joint movements. So, if your goal is getting stronger in the powerlifting movements, than isolation has little purpose. However, if you’d like huge arms, some isolation movements such as curls and presses make more sense.”
Isolating Muscle Groups asked by Jerry Hammon:
What's the best isolation exercises for each muscle group: chest, back, shoulders and legs?
"There is no best exercise, whether isolation or not, for any muscle groups. Different things work for different people based on genetics, muscle fiber types, muscle insertion and origination points, arm or leg length and countless other factors. I can, however, give you my personal favorite exercises for each muscle group. For chest, I like cable flyes in all varieties (low to high, high to low, etc.). For shoulders, lateral raises are great at developing the medial deltoid (muscle in the middle of your shoulder) and give you the wide shoulder look. For legs, I like hamstring curls as your hammies are likely lacking in size and strength compared to quads and it’s tough to train your hamstrings through knee flexion in other compound movements. For back I like the underused Trap 3 Raise which target the notoriously weak middle and lower trapezius muscles."
Mass Building with Isolation Moves asked by Tommy Wright:
How do I work isolation exercises into my program for building size?
"Isolation exercises are a great addition to mass gaining programs as they allow you to drive up the volume of the training session (critical for building size) without overly taxing your central nervous system which can make recovery difficult. The majority of trainees would be best served by placing their isolation exercises at the end of their training programs once the big lifts such as squats, deadlifts, pull ups and presses are already completed. For the more advanced lifter, techniques such as ‘pre-exhaust’ in which you perform isolation exercises prior to compound movements for the same muscle groups, can also be effective. "
Useless Isolation Moves asked by Anthony Bruce:
Are there any useless isolation exercises out there? Which ones?
"Again, I think everything can either be useful or useless depending on the individual. For someone who doesn’t respond well to calf raises, calf raises would be fairly useless. Someone who wants giant tricpes would probably do well with triceps pulldowns. Someone who has knee issues may not do very well with leg extensions. Overall, I’m not a huge fan of triceps kickbacks with a dumbbell for anyone (whether you want huge triceps or not) as I don’t find them to be very bio-mechanically effective. While wrist flexion/extension exercises (such as wrist curls) can be useful, I find deadlifts and chin-ups a more effective way to train forearms and grip. But, ultimately, given the right situation, everything has it’s place."
Isolation asked by Robert Fitz:
“I sound like a broken record here, but it really depends on the trainee. I do have a rule with my clients that you have to ‘earn your isolation exercises’. Meaning that you really have to have a good foundation in the big lifts before you get to a place where isolation movements make more sense than continually working the compound movements. Also worth taking into account is the training phase someone is in (a mass building or hypertrophy phase warrants more isolation work than a strength phase) and how often they are training (a 5-times per week schedule allows for more isolation movements to be added than a schedule that allows for only 2 hours per week). A very general rule of thumb would be 2 compound movements for every one isolation."
Complement Your Barbell Curls With Chains
Build bigger arms with this brave new twist on an old standby.
I frequently see athletes using chains when they bench press and squat. Are chains also beneficial with isolation exercises like the barbell curl?
Chains can absolutely increase strength and muscle growth when used with barbell curls. They accomplish this by providing linear variable resistance, which means that as you lift the chains from the floor link by link, the weight they provide increases. This will improve your muscular strength and power because it forces you to use more fast-twitch muscle fibers. It will also place more focus on your biceps by giving you more resistance at the point in your range of motion where your biceps actually kick in about halfway up.
To set up the chains, attach the adjustment chain (3⁄8-inch links) to the middle link of the large chain (5⁄8-inch links). Slide the adjustment chain onto the barbell as though you’re loading a plate. When you’re at the top of your range of motion, only a few links of the large chain should still be on the floor, so set the adjustment chain accordingly. Load enough total weight on the bar— chains plus plates—to limit yourself to eight to 12 reps per set, then perform barbell curls as you normally would.
Quick Tip: If you don’t have access to chains, you can reap similar benefits by attaching elastic bands to the bar.
Exercise Sets Reps
Barbell Curl (with chains) 3 8-12
Barbell Curl (no chains) 2 8-12
Incline Dumbbell Curl 3 10-12
There's nothing wrong with taking your time to add muscle – especially when trying to stave off fat accumulation but the problem most have is that they eat like an emaciated Ethiopian. Maximizing muscular gain, while limiting fat gain, is about optimizing the body's hormonal profile at the right times.
For the natural trainee, this means cycling carbs according to training. I'm not going to go into detail as there are tons of articles devoted to this. Let's just say: more carbs, less fats, and enough protein on training days; less carbs, more fats, and more protein on rest days.
Get Lean, But Forget About Abs
One of the biggest rules I have for skinny fats is to lean out first and never go on a traditional cut ever again. This, of course, requires never getting so fat that you need to cut. Most skinny fats will operate best (as far as gaining muscle is concerned) just outside of the six-pack zone in 11-12% bodyfat (assuming 10% is six-pack level). This is lean enough to be considered lean and "fat" enough to gain muscle.
Don't Underestimate Bodyweight Training
It's common for trainees that want to build muscle to revolve around the barbell, as it's the most fabled piece of equipment. Squats, bench presses, deadlifts – ahh, smell the manliness. But don't neglect bodyweight training like push-ups, pull-ups, chin-ups, dips, muscle-ups, and perhaps even some handstands, planche training, and front levers. Not only do these lifts keep your bodyweight in check (performance decreases if you're overly puffy), but they can build muscle and stave off body fat accumulation.
Don't Neglect Isolation, and Use Thick Bars
Compound lifts work better for just about everything. But without isolation movements, a skinny fat's arms will have about as much definition as a PVC pipe. Don't neglect direct arm work. You need it.
Our breed is known for having tiny wrists, which is why I also recommend using thick bars (or Fat Gripz) for all pressing and all biceps work. You can also throw in some thick bar pulling exercises for good measure. This will be the bane of your workout, but you'll see growth in your forearms, upper arms, and shoulders like never before.
Don't worry about "conditioning" work to "burn calories." Become a short-term power machine. Run sprints, be it on a hill or a track, from 40-100 meters, but don't turn it into a high intensity interval feast. Sprint, walk back to the starting line, catch your wind, and then go again. Also, do farmer's walks, waiter walks, and carries. You'll know why soon.
Be Cautious of Max Effort Work
Skinny fats have terrible recovery capacity. Shorter, brick house powerlifters, with their shortened range of motions and supreme levers, can lift maximally with less trouble. Our lanky stature is inferior in this regard. Be mindful of the recovery process.
Be a Bodybuilder, Not a Powerlifter
Similar to above, skinny-fats won't thrive on minimalistic powerlifting routines. That's not to say you can't train in the lower (3-5) repetition ranges, or that all powerlifting routines are bad, but we're much more suited to higher repetition ranges, training at a lower percentage of our maximum, and using a little more volume.
Shoulders, Upper Chest, Lats, Upper Back
Skinny fats are pyramids: their waists are bigger than their shoulders. This needs to change. Focus on everything above the deltoid tuberosity – shoulders, upper chest, upper back, and neck. Also include lats in there, as wide wings make the waist look smaller.
A steady diet of chin-ups, incline pressing, dumbbell floor pressing, heavy lateral raises (with body English), overhead work, and rows with the elbows flared will do the trick. Oh yeah, remember when I told you to carry stuff?
Wave Your Repetitions
Skinny fats tend to need variation to kick start progress. This doesn't have to be complicated. One of the oldest methods of progression was to increase reps and not weight.
Let's say you're benching 225 and you can get four sets of six reps. All future workouts stay at 225 until you work up to four sets of twelve. Once you hit that, add 10-20 pounds to the bar and repeat the process.
This forces you to train with heavier weights and lower repetition ranges for a while, followed by a period of lighter weights and higher repetition ranges. Most everyone benefits from altering intensity and volume, so don't convince yourself that the end all of strength and size development is five reps.
Every. Damn. Day
I'm going to end on a crapshoot. Some skinny fats are soft because they're babied. From a biological standpoint, having muscle is an artifact of living a lifestyle that demands its creation. So it may be worthwhile to try training every day to provide a signal to the body that being a skinny fat just isn't going to cut it.
Something tells me that running a combination of Waterbury's PLP and Dan John's 40 Day Program could do wonders for anyone.
Skinny fat sucks. There's no denying it, sugar coating it, or trying to pretend it has any redeeming qualities. But it doesn't have to be a life sentence of avoiding public beaches and swimming with your shirt on. If you're tired of hiding love handles and having the hormonal profile of an ovulating woman, give these tips a try.
These transaction isolation levels are:
Committed Transaction Isolation
The read committed transaction isolation level is the Oracle default. With this setting, each query can see only data committed before the query, not the transaction, began. Oracle queries do not read dirty, or uncommitted, data; however, it does not prevent other transaction from modifying data read by a query. Thus, it is possible that other transactions can change data between executions of the query. Any transaction that executes a given query more than once can experience non-repeatable reads or phantoms.
If necessary, the read committed transaction isolation level can be set using the following:
The transaction isolation level is not supported with distributed transactions. With the transaction isolation level, only data that was committed at the start of the transaction plus those made by the transaction itself through INSERTs, UPDATEs and DELETEs can be accessed by a query. Unlike the read committed level transactions, serializable isolation level transactions will not experience non-repeatable reads or phantoms.
The idea is to prevent dirty reads. As I understand it, it's possible in a distributed transaction to get a non-repeatable read because the read consistency does not work across databases.
isolation level non-repeatable and phantom reads are not possible.
solation level can be set using the following:
ALTER SESSION SET ISOLATION
With the Read Only transaction isolation level, only data that was committed at the start of the transaction can be accessed by a query. No modification to the data is allowed.
The Read Only transaction isolation level can be set using the following:
ALTER SESSION SET ISOLATION
As shown, transaction isolation levels can be set at either the transaction level, which applies to that transaction only, or the session level, which applies to each transaction subsequent to the ALTER SESSION command. The use of the ALTER SESSION command to set the transaction isolation level for the session can save some networking and processing costs that could be associated with having SET TRANSACTION at the start of each statement.