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#219800 - 01/04/06 09:34 AM Isometric Strength Training
Ayub Offline
heartbreaker, lifetaker

Registered: 11/26/04
Posts: 825
Loc: London, UK
Has anyone got experience in Isometric Strength Training? How is it, in comparision to regular weight lifting? Can you recommend any specific exercises?

Cut me Mick!

#219801 - 01/04/06 11:08 AM Re: Isometric Strength Training [Re: Ayub]
Cord Offline

Registered: 01/13/05
Posts: 11399
Loc: Cambridge UK.
isometric or static hold training has a tendency to elevate BP dramaticaly, especialy during the fatigued period as you have to fight hard not to hold your breath and force the hold (valsalva movement).

Core exercises tend to involve isometric contraction of the abdominals (the plank and one arm deadlifts spring to mind), and I myself enjoy lateral holds as a challenge for personal satisfaction, but as a training method to rely on as your principle form of strength training I would say no way. Muscles work best when doing their primary job- that is contracting to facilitate skeletal movement, and muscle biopsy's over the years have shown much more effective fibre recruitment through traditional lifting.
Atlas and his dynamic tension workout plans will not give you a fraction of the results of a good 5x5 strength regime.
Don't let the door hit ya' where the good lord split ya'

#219802 - 01/04/06 02:16 PM Re: Isometric Strength Training [Re: Ayub]
Cownose Offline

Registered: 01/17/05
Posts: 1151
Isometric training can be useful to help develop power at a certain part of a lift (like the sticking point on the bench), but it's not something I would do very often. It's not very practical to train that way regularly since you're not training the full ROM.

#219803 - 01/04/06 03:23 PM Re: Isometric Strength Training [Re: Ayub]
ShaolinNinja Offline
hates silicone bubishi

Registered: 10/09/05
Posts: 301
Loc: Ireland
Like Cord says, isometric exercises shouldn't be your primary or only form of strength training, but they are great as a supplement to your other strength training. They can be done anywhere, a workout can take as little as one minute, and their efficiency at building strength is well documented.
Isometric training has been shown to use a greater fraction of a muscle's fibres, which translates to higher tension and greater strength gains. Isometrics are ideal if it's 'wiry strength' you're after, especially if you keep the contractions under ten seconds. Not to sound like one of those Bruce Lee fanboys who invariably crop up on forums like this one, but it's interesting to note that Bruce Lee used isometrics a lot.
Unlike strength training with weights, you can and should do isometrics every day.
There are different schools of thought on how long to hold the tension, how much tension to apply, and how many sets and reps to do. Personally, I use 4 reps of 6 second maximal contractions. Check out the links below and find what works for you.

A few caveats:
Isometric strength training builds strength specific to the angle the joint is trained at, although 50% of the strength gains carry over to twenty degrees either side of the angle trained. This means you have to train at a variety of angles.
Strength gains from isometrics will stagnate after 6-8 weeks, so make sure you're using dynamic strength training as well.
Isometrics can reduce flexibility if applied at positions well below full extension. Make sure to stretch the muscles you've just worked.

Here are some exercises:
Stand in a doorway. Place both hands on the lintel. (Is that the word? I mean the top of the doorframe.) Push up hard , not just with your arms, but with your whole body: legs, abdomen, chest. Vary the angles - do it with hands together, hands apart, feet together, feet apart. Also, try it while standing on your toes.
Grip the top of the doorframe and pull down, again trying to recruit as many different muscle groups as possible.
Grab an immovable bar low down and try to deadlift it, i.e. drive your legs into the ground and pull up. (I use a radiator pipe for this one.)
Try squats at various depths - with thighs parallel to the floor, with thighs at forty-five degrees, etc. (It can be difficult to find something appropriate to push against, but you can use a doorway again if you extend your arms fully overhead.)
Put your forearms under a desk and push up hard.
Place your hands on a wall with your arms fully extended. Lean forward and push into the wall, again trying to use your whole body.
Standing in a doorway, push outwards with your hands against the jambs. Place your hands low to work the shoulders, higher for the biceps and pectorals.
The world's a will to power and nothing besides

#219804 - 01/04/06 05:41 PM Re: Isometric Strength Training [Re: ShaolinNinja]
Ayub Offline
heartbreaker, lifetaker

Registered: 11/26/04
Posts: 825
Loc: London, UK
Thanks a lot for your responses everyone, very helpful indeed.
Shaolin Ninja:
''Strength gains from isometrics will stagnate after 6-8 weeks''
So I take it that isometric strngth training alone is not a good idea. But with regular, dynamic weight training it can continue to give you good strength gains and in some ways make the dynamic lifts easier (at specific physical angles).
Cut me Mick!

#219805 - 01/04/06 05:54 PM Re: Isometric Strength Training [Re: Ayub]
ShaolinNinja Offline
hates silicone bubishi

Registered: 10/09/05
Posts: 301
Loc: Ireland
Right. I'm not saying do it for 6-8 weeks, then stop. As long as you keep doing dynamic strength training as well, you'll keep seeing gains


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