Video – Isometric Strength Training

By on November 21, 2014

So I talked about this in more detail in my last post on Bruce Lee but I thought isometric training also deserved a YouTube video as it’s just so awesome…

To recap, isometric training is one of the most effective ways to recruit fast twitch muscle fiber and to increase effort and strength in your contractions. The result? Incredible strength gains.

I also mention that there are two different types of isometric training, though I didn’t mention what each was called. Basically then you have two types: yielding and overcoming. What we’re interested in is the ‘overcoming’ type.

Yielding Isometrics: Here you take a position where there’s some resistance and simply hold that position. I.e. you might hold a dumbbell at 90 degrees mid-way through a curl or you might hold plank position. In either scenario, you are training your muscular endurance – type 2 muscle fiber. This kind of exercise is useful if you want to get better at endurance type tasks (which do have their place) but it’s not going to build you massive biceps or much explosive strength.

Overcoming Isometrics: This time you’re pulling against a force that can’t be moved. This allows you to use 100% of your maximum force and then to hold that contraction for about 10 seconds for each ‘rep’ (repeat about ten times). This recruits much more fast twitch muscle fiber because you are trying to generate 100% effort. This also enabled you to strengthen the neural connection between your brain and the muscle and potentially to become better at ‘willing’ your muscle to recruit the fast twitch fiber.

And it is this type of training that Bruce Lee, Gama and Dennis Rogers (a man who can prevent an plane from taking off with his bare hands) have all used to get almost super human strength.

Also relevant is high tension training which involves bending iron bars or tearing in half phone books. This is similar to overcoming, except the force does actually go somewhere and is thus a little more rewarding.

The Coolest Isometric Exercises

Here are some awesome isometric exercises for you to try out. Because they’re just super cool…

  • Wrap a rope around a tree and try to pull it over
  • Crushing a can of beans in one hand
  • Bending an iron bar
  • ‘Folding’ a frying pan
  • Trying to push down a wall
  • Trying to ‘curl’ a railing that’s nailed into the ground
  • Pushing nails into a wall
  • Trying to lift/bench press your car

How cool will it be when someone asked what you did in your last workout and you say: ‘I tried to rip down a tree with my bare hands’. That’s reason enough to start using isometrics!

About Adam Sinicki

Adam Sinicki, AKA The Bioneer, is a writer, personal trainer, author, entrepreneur, and web developer. I've been writing about health, psychology, and fitness for the past 10+ years and have a fascination with the limits of human performance. When I'm not running my online businesses or training, I love sandwiches, computer games, comics, and hanging out with my family.

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