Isometrics: serious muscle training without weights
Posted On May 26, 2021
Isometrics – A super fast way to increase muscle size and strength without using weights.
Isometry is perhaps the least used and least valued exercise method. 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, usually called ISOMETRIC, is one in which the muscle is activated, but instead of allowing it to lengthen or shorten, it is kept at a constant length. This isometric muscle contraction is not done through a variety of movements, but in a static position. Isometry is based on the principles of creating muscle tension while opposing the force of an immovable object or gravity. Isometrics are performed with high levels of intensity (70-100%) rather than repetitive movements typically for a period of 7 to 12 seconds. Once the muscle relaxes after contraction, there is increased blood flow to the muscles, which equates to greater 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 force against an immovable object or to hold the muscle in a fixed position for a specified period of time. In this type of exercise, the muscle contracts but does not change in length during resistance exercise. In addition, the joint most closely associated with exertion 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 its 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. Their study conclusively demonstrated that isometrics 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Isometric workouts were originally made famous by Charles Atlas, although he called them “dynamic tension” and in recent years isometric workouts have made a big comeback, especially in the field of rehabilitation therapy. Gert F Koebel has developed several devices that use isometrics 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 isometric name comes from the words ‘iso’ which means equal and ‘metric’ which means 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 as isometric exercises. Sometimes professional weightlifters and bodybuilders will incorporate some isometrics into their workouts, often to break down barriers and reach new levels of muscle strength, which in turn leads to new and increased muscle mass.
Advantages of isometric contraction exercises
Isometric exercises can be done practically anywhere! You can do it while sitting watching TV, while sunbathing, while waiting in a traffic jam and well, the list goes on and on. Every day, we could if we want to enjoy performing isometric contractions as part of our daily activities, such as carrying a suitcase or a travel bag full of groceries. Isometrics are particularly beneficial for people with back pain, as muscles can be developed without further damaging the back and the resulting gains in (let’s say) abdominal strength help relieve tension in the back, which in turn helps your back heal like your abs stronger. Take the stress off your injured back.
Often the main benefits are perceived 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 resistance or weight gradually increases, your muscle will become stronger. However, if you are looking to build big muscles rather than just “tone up” then you need to use some more extreme methods of isometric training which, while very intense, can deliver results that can rival those obtained by people taking chemical steroids. , especially if performed while undergoing a planned supplementation regimen with products like Aminotaur, which have been shown to naturally enhance muscle growth while you sleep.
The key advantage of isometry 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.
This type of training, although intense in nature if done correctly, therefore 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, please let him or her 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 type of machine or equipment anytime, anywhere. If you have 10 seconds, you can work a muscle group without anyone noticing that you are using isometric training. Convenience and time savings is one of the reasons why isometrics are so popular and become even more popular as people’s lives get busier and busier. Doing isometric exercises for 7 to 10 seconds at a time throughout the day can replace your training, if done correctly. A bold claim? Yes it is, but I feel safe saying this.
The easiest way to demonstrate this is to press the palms of your hands as hard as you can and, maintaining the tension, you 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 yourself against or something you can pull against that won’t move like a door jam. The only thing you need to remember is to use as much force as possible for 10 seconds. Using maximum strength will give you all the benefits that an isometric workout offers. Some advocates say use 80% of your maximum, but how do you measure 80%? And with 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 normally returns to normal fairly quickly once the muscle relaxes, increased blood pressure can be dangerous for those already suffering from high blood pressure. If you suffer from high blood pressure but really want to participate in isometric exercises, check with your doctor for advice on how to lower your blood pressure first.
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 1 rm of weight after a training period of 10 weeks.
Using isometrics for strength
To strengthen your bench press, you can either stand on a power stand and press the bar against an immovable pin for a certain period of time, or hold a supra-maximal 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 just keep a weight in place for both strength and muscle growth.
Some say that doing isometrics will only strengthen the part of the movement that you are training. For example, if you do 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 that you are training, but you will also get a 15-30 degree drag and if you train at the most disadvantageous joint angle (such as the bottom of a bench press or the point in the squat where your thighs are parallel) you actually get 100% strength in the rest of the movement.
Strengthen your weak links and everything else becomes stronger too. In other words, if you perform an isometric contraction a few inches from your chest on the bench press, you will 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 ¼ or 1/3 range in one move, you only get a 15-30 degree drag.
If you really want to increase strength in one movement, using the bench press as an example, simply use 3 different positions (lower, middle, and upper) and perform an isometric in each position. You would perform isometrics in the contracted position close to your chest, the mid-range position, and then the extended up position. 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 inexpensive to implement. Give them a try, you will notice improvements very quickly, and then you can make isometrics a key part of your exercise regimen.