Isometric training

Why should isometric exercises be a part of every routine? lets get write to the point…

  • Develop better all around strength for everyday function.
  • Achieve greater core muscle control for stabilization and balance.
  • Much less potential for joint and tendon injury.
  • Restricts kinetic movement, compared to running or plyometrics, applying a greater load in a shorter time to the focused area.
  • Fatigues the muscles faster, burning through the slow twitch fibers more efficiently, and activating the desired fast twitch fibers.
  • More effective at quickly fatiguing the fast twitch fibers, achieving better growth, speed development, and agility. compared to normal weight lifting or plyometrics.
  • Highly effective at targeting problem areas of a lift, exercise, or daily movement.
  • Isometrics is one of the best ways to build pure strength and firm/tone muscles. Can it be used to build mass? Yes! Mass builds should be a normal part of the isometric rotation.

Want to start building better muscles today? Start here with isometrics 101, or find the exercise you’re looking for in the links below…

Fiction/stacking  overcoming/yielding  Abdominal  Arms  Chest  Back  Legs

Want more information about isometric training? Please continue reading below for a great in-depth article.

 


article by Andrew Read – Famed strongman Alexander Zass credited much of his great strength to his isometric training as a prisoner during World War I. He would push on the bars and chains that held him captive and quickly saw benefits. Not long after, he started promoting this method of training through his mail order courses.

 

What Is Isometric Training?

In simple terms, muscle can only contract in a few ways. It can do the obvious and contract to shorten the distance between joints, such as when doing a bicep curl. This is called a concentric contraction, where the muscle tenses while shortening. It can also tense while lowering a load, or resisting it, such as when lowering the weight in a curl. This type of contraction is known as eccentric and occurs when the muscle tenses while lengthening. A final type of contraction is called an isometric contraction, and it occurs when the muscle tenses while not changing length. Examples of this are poses in body building or pushing against an immovable object such as a wall.

One of the main benefits of isometric training is that the body is able to activate nearly all the available motor units – something that is usually very difficult to do. Back in the 1950s, researchers Hettinger and Muller found a single daily effort of two-thirds of a person’s maximum effort exerted for six seconds at a time for ten weeks increased strength about 5% per week, while Clark and associates demonstrated static strength continued to increase even after the conclusion of a five-week program of isometric exercises.

Another benefit of isometric training is simply the amount of time spent performing an exercise. Consider an exercise like the bench press. It may take one to two seconds to perform with each joint angle only being trained for short periods of time. In contrast, an exercise that mimics the bench press, like a press against pins at the sticking point of the lift, may be performed for several seconds. In other words, if you have a problem at a particular joint angle in a lift, you can do targeted isometrics to quickly overcome your problems.

Given that you can perform isometrics with little equipment and a relatively short time frame, you’d think they’d be far more popular in the training world. So why aren’t they mainstream? For starters, there’s no denying the commercial aspect. With isometrics there’s no valuable equipment to sell. Secondly, there has been some selective use of the science involved in isometric research. Many will cite potential drawbacks such as decreases in coordination and speed of movement or decreases in muscle elasticity.  

Like all good training methods, you need to know how and when to apply isometrics, and how to overcome whatever shortfalls it has. Every system has holes and it is your job as the trainer to overcome them. Potential decreases in muscle elasticity and speed of movement are easy to overcome with the use of relaxation and stretching methods between sets. The famous RKC Fast & Loose drills apply here, as would something even as simple as pranayama from yoga or even jumping rope.

One of the biggest issues people often cite is that isometrics will only work at that specific joint angle. However, Mel Siff noted in his book Supertraining:

“…isometric training also produces significant strength increase over a range of up to as much as 15 degrees on either side of the training angle. Moreover, as with all strength measurements, there is a specific force or torque versus joint angle curve for each type of muscle contraction, so that it is highly unlikely that a strength increase would be confined to a very precise angle and nowhere else in the range.” – Mel Siff.

In other words, it is more likely than not that strength gained at one joint angle will carry over to others. The caveat is that this seems most likely when the joint is at its most lengthened and the regional specificity of isometric training is most noticeable when the muscle is at its shortest. – article by Andrew Read, Breakingmuscle.com

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