We know that having those grainy striations in your chest is a lifelong goal but more sets of dumbbell flyes and cable work is not going to get ‘em for you. Isolating your pecs will certainly help but by focusing too much on isolation work like this, you are limiting your chances of developing the kind of detail you want. Why?
Well, you’ve got to have the muscle to detail first and that means building routines consisting mainly of heavy, compound movements.
Continuing to use the chest as an example, if your routine is usually five moves and 15-sets deep, you’ll likely want to make sure that three exercises (or about nine sets) are of the multijoint variety – presses, dips and push-ups.
The final two moves, then, can focus on isolation – flyes, cables, pec deck. Plus, the heavy moves have a greater impact on natural physique-building hormones such as testosteronea and growth hormone (GH).
Solution: Make sure that the bulk of your movements for major bodyparts are compound in nature. Presses, squats, deadlifts, rows, dips and pull-ups will all help you add more total muscle mass that you can then enhance with a tempered number of sets of isolation moves. A five-move bodypart routine, for example, should only feature 2-3 isolation exercises.