Individuals who find themselves unable to squeeze their strength training routine into their busy schedule have often opt for an alternative method to their regular workout to produce similar results within a minimal amount of time. This method is known as Isometric training. Although isometric training is not recognized as replacement for the traditional strength training workout, the method has been proven effective for individuals who can't perform their normal routine or for individuals who are looking to increase the intensity of their workout.
What is isometric Training ?
The muscle tissue of the human body can flex in a number of ways. One of the more common ways you're probably accustomed to seeing is the concentric contraction. This is the shortening of the distance between joints whenever you contract your muscles as in performing bicep curls. Another way is in the tension experienced during a weight lifting exercise as you begin to lower the barbell or dumbbell.
This is known as the eccentric phase occurring as the muscle tissue tightens when stretched. The isometric contraction takes place whenever the muscle tissue contracts without experiencing any changes in its original length. You've probably seen this during a typical bodybuilding contest or possibly at some time when you've tried to move an object beyond your capability like pushing a wall or opening a stuck window.
For the individual with the hectic schedule one of the primary benefits of isometric training is not only in the ability to perform this type of training virtually almost anywhere without any equipment, but also for the training to activate just about every available motor functions within the entire body. Typically all you'll need is no more than fifteen seconds to perform a single effective isometric exercise for a total workout without anyone even noticing that you're working out.
Given the fact that your workday schedule restricts you from attending your local gym during or after work hours, and your wife or girlfriend takes your remaining attention the minute you step through that door at home, or better yet…your wife just had a baby. Guys, you all know what I'm talking about. If you're able to find between ten to twenty seconds during your daily schedule by pressing the palms of your hands together as forcefully as possible you can effectively train your bicep muscles to build muscle and develop strength.
On the other hand men who can find the time to go to the gym and are looking for that added boost to their training routine with isometric training can increase their muscle build and strength primarily in two ways. Isometrics with equipment and isometrics with bodyweight.
Isometrics with weight training equipment For this technique you'll be utilizing two exercises; the squat and the bench press.
Let's begin with the squat and bench press.
First you'll need to set the barbell mid-range on the rack normally where there's a sticking point. Place a second set of pins just above this point. The exercise however does not require you to rack the bar on the second set of pins but you'll want to use them as the next available height.
Position yourself as you normally would for the bench press or squat and press the weighted barbell to the second set of pins and hold the position for a duration of six to eight seconds.
Isometrics using bodyweight
One of the main complaints by many fitness trainers with isometric bodyweight exercises is the lack of perception normally experienced with actually pulling or pushing the load due to the exercises performed in a lone position using static contractions. For this form of the training exercise we will be using the traditional push-up.
How to perform the isometric push-up
▪ Assume the general position for the push-up exercise.
▪ Lower your body at the elbows until you're about halfway the normal position and hold for a count of ten to fifteen seconds.
▪ Repeat as many times as per your fitness level.