Isometrics – Serious Muscle Training Without Weights
Isometrics: A super quick way to increase muscle size and strength without using weights.
Isometrics is perhaps the least used and least valued method of exercise. It is perhaps the best strength training method to be used in rehabilitation and can produce increases in strength and size where traditional weight-bearing exercise regimens have failed. The isometric contraction, commonly called ISOMETRIC, is one in which the muscle is activated, but instead of being allowed to lengthen or shorten, it is held at a constant length. This isometric muscle contraction is not performed through a series of movements but in a static position. Isometry is based on the principles of creating muscular tension while opposing the force of an immovable object or gravity. Isometric exercises are performed at high intensity levels (70-100%) instead of repetitive movements, typically over a 7-12 second period. Once the muscle relaxes after contraction, there is increased blood flow to the muscles, which equates to increased absorption of nutrition and energy, which in turn increases muscle mass (size). Isometric exercise is a form of resistance training in which the participant uses the muscles of the body to exert a force against a stationary object or to hold the muscle in a fixed position for a set amount of time. In this type of exercise, the muscle contracts but does not change in length during the force exercise. Also, the joint most closely associated with the effort remains static throughout the exercise.
Isometric training has been around for centuries in things like yoga and Chinese martial arts. Even Pilates uses isometric exercise as part of their training protocol. Isometry is probably one of the few exercise techniques that has been scientifically validated.
At the Max Plank Institute in the 1950s, Dr. Hettinger and Dr. Mueller conducted scientific research in the field of isometry. His study conclusively showed that isometric exercises can increase strength by up to 300% in less than 30 days!
Isometric workouts were originally made famous by Charles Atlas, although he called them “Dynamic Tension,” and in recent years isometric workouts have made a huge comeback, especially in the field of rehabilitation therapy. Gert F Koebel has developed several devices that use isometry as the basis of the exercise protocol, including the Bullworker.
Isometric contraction refers to the case of strength training, in which the muscles contract, but do not change their length. The name isometric comes from the words ‘iso’ meaning equal and ‘metric’ meaning distance. Unlike other dynamic muscle contractions that involve a change in position, the isometric contraction is performed in a static position. Physical activities based on isometric muscle contraction are known isometric exercises. Sometimes professional weightlifters and bodybuilders will incorporate some isometric exercises into their workouts, often to break down barriers and achieve new levels of muscular strength which in turn leads to new and increased muscle mass.
Advantages of isometric contraction exercises
Isometric exercises can be done just about anywhere! You can make them while sitting watching TV, while sunbathing, while waiting in traffic and the list goes on and on. Every day, we could do it if we want to allow ourselves to do isometric contractions as part of our everyday activities, like carrying a suitcase or a shopping bag full of groceries. Isometric exercises are particularly beneficial for people with back pain, as the muscles can be built without further damaging the back, and the resulting gains in (for example) abdominal strength help relieve stress on the back, which in turn helps your back heal as your abs get stronger. take the strain off your injured back.
The main benefits are often seen as maximum muscle contraction in a short space of time. I use isometric training with many of my corporate clients who just don’t have time to hit the gym. When the resistance or weight is gradually increased, your muscle will become stronger. However, if you are looking to build big muscles rather than just “tone” then you need to use some more extreme methods of isometric training which, while very intense, can deliver results rivaling those achieved by people taking chemical steroids , especially if done while undergoing a planned supplementation regimen using products like Aminotaur which has been shown to naturally enhance muscle growth while you sleep.
The key advantage of Isometrics is that it can be done without any specialized equipment. However, if you want faster results and you also want to seriously increase your lean muscle mass, you can incorporate the foundation of this with any strength training device, from chest expanders to dumbbells to barbells.
However, this type of training is intense in nature if done correctly, so if you have high blood pressure or any type of heart condition, consult your doctor before training. If your doctor has any questions, as this type of training, when done correctly, can have numerous additional benefits, then please have them contact us and we will be happy to pass on any information that may help.
Benefits of isometric exercises.
Isometric exercises can be performed without any machines or equipment anytime, anywhere. If you have 10 seconds, you can hit a muscle group without anyone noticing you’re using isometric training. Convenience and time savings is one of the reasons isometrics are so popular and are becoming even more popular as people’s lives get busier. Doing isometric exercises for 7 to 10 seconds at a time throughout the day can substitute for your training, if done correctly. A bold statement? Yes it is, but I feel safe saying this.
The easiest way to demonstrate this is by pressing your palms as hard as you can and maintaining the tension will work your arms, shoulders and chest. To work your neck and upper back muscles, cross your fingers behind your head, push your head back with your hands using your neck muscles while trying to push your head forward with your hands.
Find a wall to push against or something to pull against that doesn’t move like a door frame. The only thing you have to remember is to use as much force as possible for 10 seconds. Using maximal force will give you all the benefits that isometric training has to offer. Some proponents say use 80% of your maximum, but how do you measure 80%? From my own studies, I have never seen anyone get hurt using isometrics.
If you have high blood pressure, you should not do this type of activity because isometric exercises cause an increase in blood pressure. Although blood pressure usually returns to normal fairly quickly once the muscle relaxes, the spike in blood pressure can be dangerous for those who already suffer from high blood pressure. If you suffer from high blood pressure but really want to engage in isometric exercises, check with your doctor first for advice on how to lower your blood pressure.
Isometrics build muscle mass. In a recent experiment an average size improvement of 12.4% was found for heavy isometric training and 5.3% with isometric training using weights equivalent to 60% of 1rm weight after a 10-week training period.
Using isometrics for strength
To strengthen your bench press, you can either get on a power rack and press the bar against an immovable pin for a certain amount of time, or hold a supra-max weight in a ¼ rep range for 6-20 seconds.
The first type of isometric movement, pushing against an immovable object, is used for strength only, while the second type, holding a weight and keeping it from moving, is better for strength and muscle growth. Personally, I prefer the second type where you simply hold a weight in place for both strength and muscle growth.
Some say that by performing isometric exercises you will only strengthen the part of the movement that you are training. For example, if you are doing isometrics in a ¼ range bench press position, you will only strengthen that part of the movement. The truth is that you will strengthen the part of the movement you are training, but you will also get a 15 to 30 degree holdover and if you train at the most disadvantageous joint angle (such as the bottom of a bench press or point in the squat where your thighs are parallel) you actually get 100% remaining strength for the rest of the movement.
Strengthen your weak links and everything else is strengthened as well. In other words, if you perform an isometric contraction a few inches from your chest on the bench press, you’ll tend to increase the strength of your entire bench press and the size of your entire chest. But if you only do isometrics in the easier range of ¼ or 1/3 in a movement, you only get a 15-30 degree holdover.
If you really want to build strength in one movement, using the bench press as an example, simply use 3 different positions (low, mid-range, and top) and perform an isometric exercise in each position. You would perform isometric exercises in the contracted position near your chest, the mid-range position, and then the extended position at the top. A sample workout would be 2 sets of 10 seconds in each position with the bottom position done first. For strength, each isometric contraction should last 20 seconds or less, and ideally less than 10 seconds.
The benefits of isometric exercise are many and varied, but simple and cheap to implement. Give them a try, you’ll notice improvements very quickly, and then you’ll be able to make isometric exercises a key part of your exercise regimen.