Isometrics are very simple and old technique used by many old time strongman, the best example it is Alexander Zass.
To understand Isometrics we first know about the types of muscle contractions.
Type of Muscle Contractions:
1. Concentric – when the muscle fibers shorten and flex. Like when pulling up during pullups.
2. Eccentric – when the muscle fibers lengthen or stretching. Like when you lower yourself from pullup.
3. Isometric – when the muscle fibers neither shorten nor lengthen. Like holding the pullups in midway.
So, Isometrics is simply holding a contraction and you can do it RIGHT NOW!!!. Just flex or squeeze your biceps or fist and then hold that contraction for some seconds and
That’s is isometrics but how can it build immense Strength, Well it’s very effective when building strength as normally when we train for strength
We go for increasing intensity or more weight and do 1-5 reps and use only concentric and eccentric Contractions for exercise.
So, For Example of pull ups: you pull yourself up (Concentric) and then lower yourself down (Eccentric).
There are many variations of isometrics but importantly there are two:
1. Overcoming Isometrics – when you push or pull an immovable object where you can’t move the object but keep applying force.
2. Yielding Isometrics – when you hold a position, or weight or resistance for a longer period of time.
Now, overcoming isometrics is very GREAT FOR BUILDING STRENGTH. And Yielding is great for muscle control, exhausting muscles further (important for hypertrophy).
Isometrics for Strength:
How can you build strength from isometrics. Well the ANSWER is OVERCOMING ISOMETRICS.
In overcoming isometrics, You apply your maximum force to an object that cannot move. Like Pushing a Wall for some seconds.
Remember Alexander Zass, he was imprisoned during the war, during the imprisonment he used to pull chains and try to bend the bars of the prison.
After some times he was able to bend the steel bars and escape and then he invented a workout program consists of isometrics.
How Isometrics can Build Strength:
In overcoming Isometrics, you applying a force more than your 1 Rep Max for a longer period of time like 7 seconds. This is will teach your body to activate more Muscle Fibers.
Second, Isometrics strengthen the joints, and connective tissues which on training for strength get damaged more during the normal training.
But with isometrics you will strengthen your joints and connective tissues as also the Doctors advice. This strength in tissues and Joints will increase your strength more.
Third, it suppresses your nervous system to limit your body to produce more force as it can damage your muscle fibers. Now your limiter is less strong, you will able to use more of your strength.
ENOUGH TALK NOW LET’S START HOW TO DO IT!!!
How to Do it:
You can do it in many ways, But there are some few Guidelines.
- Use Multiple Joint Angles: isometrics is joint-angle specific, if you are training in one position, you will get more stronger in that position and some spill over to other positions or angle. So, train in at least 3 angles (Top peak, Middle, Lower or starting position or angle).
- Hold the Contraction for at least 6 seconds: Apply your maximum force for at least 6 seconds and then change the angle and do it again.
- Do the sets and reps of like a Strength Training: So, like in strength training where you do 3×3 or 3 sets of 3 reps, 6×3. You can use that. Hold each Contraction for 6 seconds with different angles.
- Rest For at least 3 to 5 minutes: You will rest for at least 3 to 5 minutes or more if you want between your sets.
- Do Overcoming Isometrics at the starting of the workout just after the warm up: Overcoming isometrics is same as training in higher intensity and to perform you need to be fresh not exhausted so, start it during the starting of the workout.
Some Example Exercises:
1. Pushing a Wall, Tree, or Door. For Shoulders, Triceps, and Chest.
2. Pulling a Rope tied to a tree. For Back and Biceps
3. Trying to Crush the Water Bottle by your Grip. For Grip
4. Join your Hands together in front of you like a prayer and push it. This is For Chest.
And Much more, you can use your creativity for that.
Isometrics for Building Muscles:
Overcoming isometrics cannot be as effective for building as for strength. it is in general are not efficient for building muscles
But it’s tool which you can still use in your workout to fully exhaust your muscles and trigger hypertrophy.
So, for this Yielding isometrics can be use. LET’S GET INTO IT >>
How to do it:
What our purpose of using it, is to exhaust your muscles at the end of the workout for more hypertrophy response.
- At the last set of the workout, hold: let’s say you are doing workout for triceps and finishing it with pushups so, when you are not able to do pushups. Hold the Pushup in the mid Position for 15 to 30 secs or 1 mins. Then lower yourself to just above the ground and hold it again. Then You’re finished.
- That’s it, it’s that simple.
Isometrics for other Uses:
It can be use for other things like:
- For strengthening Joint and Tendons: Some Doctors also gives their patient who injured their joint or tendons to do some isometrics exercises.
- For Learning A New Skill: If you can’t able to do pull ups then yielding isometrics can be use to build the necessary strength. You just hold the position of pull ups on the top or mid way for some seconds and progress your timing.
- For Breaking through the sticking points: If there is a particular position you get stuck then do overcoming isometrics on that angle.
- Building Explosiveness: There is variation of isometrics known as Ballistic Isometrics, more on that later. To build explosiveness.
That’s it. It is a great old tool you can use in your workout. It does not require any money. You just need to be Creative. And you will get results.
It can be very safely use in body-weight exercises or Calisthenics. So, Check out the Calisthenics Guide.
Until the Next Post,
BE the BEST,