With the increasing popularity of isometric workouts it stands to reason that there would be a lot of confusion and untruths floating around.
In this article most of your questions will be answered and perhaps you’ll get a new understanding of this scientifically validated form of working out.
Isometrics workouts can be used with just your body weight and or isometric exercises equipment. Of course, you always gain faster and superior results when utilizing the concept of “progressive resistance” which can only be done effectively with an isometric exerciser.
What that means is that you’ll be using more than just your body weight in your workouts.
Using progressive resistance is the only known method of increasing muscle size and strength — even when using isometric exercises!
The problem with bodyweight exercise is that at some point you are no longer increasing your muscle size and strength but instead you are merely increasing your muscular endurance. (Slow twitch versus fast twitch muscle fibers)
So at this point you may be asking yourself , “what exactly are Isometric exercises?”
Isometric exercises are based on the joint angle and muscle length not changing when performing the movement. For example, if you were to push against a door jam — with all your strength — of course you will not move the door jam.
And your arms will not move it either. This is called an Isometric Contraction.
If you were to compare this to an isotonic exercise such as a flat bench press — the exercise movement would be up and down — and therefore you are working out in a full range of motion.
However, you may have noticed in the past that at some point — as your muscles tire — you are no longer able to press the weight up through the entire range. You may get to a certain point — and get stuck — here is where you have the greatest opportunity to increase your muscle strength.
If you will hold the weight in that position for approximately 10 seconds using 100% of your strength you will be performing what is called a “Post Isometric Contraction.”
At this time you may be wondering why you would want to do an isometric exercise instead of the more conventional isotonic one? The answer is — isometrics offers many advantages over traditional forms of exercise:
They can be performed anywhere
Isometric exercises does not require equipment and isometric exercise equipment is very inexpensive
They are so safe that they are used for rehabilitation
Isometric workouts don’t take up too much time typically only 7 to 10 seconds per exercise is all that is required.
They are one of the few exercise protocols that are scientifically validated to increase strength — dramatically. (Doctors Mueller and Hettinger)
It will completely reshape and sculpt your body
Isometrics are sometimes referred to as static strength training. This type of method of working out has been around for thousands of years.
Yoga and all martial arts utilize static positions such as the horse stance — to build endurance and strength. Most if not all of the old-time strongman — such as Alexander Zass ( he was considered the father of isometric exercise ) Charles Atlas and others used isometric exercises to build their powerful physiques and strength.
Even Milo of Croton utilized isometrics to become a six-time Olympic champion — in the sixth century BC — by every day hoisting a small calf onto his shoulders and exercising with it.
There have been many others who have used isometric exercise. Bruce Lee, the actor and martial artist — used them as part of his kung fu training and focused on them more after injuring himself lifting weights.
Arnold Schwarzenegger in his book “Education of a Bodybuilder” commented that he liked to perform iso-tension exercises right after he finished his workout.
He commented that it forced more blood into his muscle — made them bigger and tighter.
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