Tag Archives: isometric exercise

Strengthen Your Core with the Inverted Balance Plank

4 Dec

Want to try a challenging, isometric core-strengthening exercise?  Next time you train, add the Inverted Balance Plank to your workout.

Here’s how to do it: Lie on your back, legs straight and feet together, arms folded across your shoulders.  To begin the exercise, elevate your shoulders and back, and legs and feet, so that you’re balancing on your butt.  Keep your shoulders and feet about six inches above the ground.  Brace your core (like you’re preparing to take a punch in the stomach) and hold that position for 30 seconds, or as long as you can.  As you are able, add more time in increments of 15 seconds.  Use this exercise as a workout “finisher.”

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Advertisements

Get Stronger with Isometric Exercises

22 May

Here’s a great strength-building strategy for your next training session.  At the end of your workout, perform a body-weight squat and hold it in the down position.  Aim for a goal of two minutes.  If two minutes is too difficult, initially, start with two 1-minute intervals and rest for 60 seconds between them.

“This kind of isometric exercise builds strength and improves mobility and has a low risk of injury,” according to BJ Gaddour, CSCS and creator of the Men’s Health DeltaFIT series.  Isometric exercises work by creating muscular tension while opposing the force of an immovable object or, in this case, gravity.  Studies have shown that that a 7 second muscle contraction increases your strength by about 5 percent.

Isometric exercises are not limited to body weight squats.  You can hold almost any exercise — such as a pushup in down position, or a calf raise in up position — and make it isometric.  Some exercises, like planks and side planks, are inherently isometric.

Please also see related articles:

Increase Time Under Tension to Get Stronger, Build Muscle

Add Isometric Exercises to Your Training Regimen

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Add Isometric Exercises to Your Training Regimen

27 Feb

squat-a-ex_0[1]Want to accelerate your strength and power gains — and add some variation — in the weight room?   Incorporate isometric exercises into your training regimen.

The term “isometric” actually comes from two Greek words meaning “equal measure.”  There are a number of ways to define the word isometric but, basically, an isometric exercise is one in which there is muscle contraction without movement (muscle length does not change during contraction).

Here are some examples of isometric exercises:

  • Holding a pushup in the “down” position for some pre-determined period of time (or, as long as possible)
  • Holding a squat in the “down” position
  • Holding a chinup/pullup in the “up” position

Isometric exercises may also involve a pause (shorter hold) between the eccentric and concentric (up and down, or push and pull) phases of the exercise.  You can increase the intensity level of isometric exercises by adding time to the “hold,” or adding weight to the exercise.

How can athletes benefit from isometric exercises?

Every athlete wants to be able to generate a lot of explosive force.  Isometric exercises, when added to a training regimen, have been shown to help athletes produce more power.

Isometric exercises can help athletes improve their ability to absorb impact and resist force.

Isometric exercises are useful in helping athletes build muscle and joint stability.

Because of the “mental toughness” required to hold an isometric exercise for as long as possible, athletes can learn to improve mental focus and overcome fatigue.

Beginners may benefit from isometric exercises when they are unable to perform an exercise (like a pushup or chinup) with technical correctness through a full range-of-motion.  The strength built, over time, by doing the isometric version of the exercise can improve their ability to perform the traditional exercise.

When performing isometric exercises, athletes should strive for perfect form and posture.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Increase Strength and Explosiveness with the Isometric Squat

22 Jul

squats-strength-training[1]Want to improve your speed, agility, vertical jump, and overall lower-body explosiveness?

Try adding the isometric squat to your training, according to research from the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, which found a strong correlation between an isometric squat — performed at (knee flexion angles of) 90° and 120° — and strength and explosiveness.

The isometric squat is performed by pausing in (and holding) the “down” position for some period of time (for example, 1-4 seconds).

As with any squat exercise, you can use body weight, a dumbbell or kettlebell (goblet style), or barbell (front or back squat).

  • Start in upright position, with hips and knees fully extended
  • Slowly lower your body by pushing your hips back and toward the ground
  • Keep chin and chest up, and heels on the ground
  • Pause when knees are bent at 90° to 120°
  • Return to starting position by pushing hips forward, and extending hips and knees
  • Repeat for pre-determined number of repetitions

Please see related articles, Get Stronger with Isometric Exercises and Add Isometric Exercises to Your Training Regimen.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Increase Time Under Tension to Get Stronger, Build Muscle

15 Sep

squat-a-ex_0[1]There are lots of strategies for getting stronger and building muscle.  One such strength- and muscle-building strategy is a concept known as time under tension (TUT).  The rationale for this approach is that the longer you can keep tension in your muscles during a set, the more you’ll exhaust them, forcing them to get stronger and grow to adapt.

How to Increase Time Under Tension

There are a few ways to increase the amount of time your muscles spend under tension:

  • Do more repetitions
  • Increase the amount of time you take to lower the weight
  • Pause an exercise at some point in its range of motion and hold it for time

(also see related articles: Get Stronger with Isometric ExercisesAdd Isometric Exercises to Your Training Regimen, and Take the Negative Chinup/Dip Challenge)

How it Works

Doing a lot of repetitions — 12-15 or more — is great, but there are also some potential problems that accompany this approach.  The more reps you perform, the more likely it becomes that your form and technique tend to break down, increasing your risk of injury.  More repetitions also forces you to use lighter weights, sacrificing muscular tension.

Time under tension can be increased, for virtually any exercise, by increasing the time of the eccentric (lowering) phase of the exercise, or by incorporating isometric “holds” (pausing during a movement), effectively creating a longer-lasting set.

For example, when doing the squat or bench press exercises, you could lower the weight to a six-second count, for each repetition; or you could pause at some point during the eccentric phase of the exercise and hold for 3-4 seconds before continuing the movement.

Try to incorporate this strategy into your workout routine and you’ll see how more tension in your life can actually be a good thing.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Strengthen Your Core with the Inverted Balance Plank

14 May
20140512_161752

APTC student-athletes performing the Inverted Balance Plank

Want to try a challenging, isometric core-strengthening exercise?  Next time you train, add the Inverted Balance Plank to your workout.

Here’s how to do it: Lie on your back, legs straight and feet together, arms folded across your shoulders.  To begin the exercise, elevate your shoulders and back, and legs and feet, so that you’re balancing on your butt.  Keep your shoulders and feet about six inches above the ground.  Brace your core (like you’re preparing to take a punch in the stomach) and hold that position for 30 seconds, or as long as you can.  As you are able, add more time in increments of 15 seconds.  Use this exercise as a workout “finisher.”

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Get Stronger with Isometric Exercises

13 Jan

squat-a-ex_0[1]Here’s a great strength-building strategy for your next training session.  At the end of your workout, perform a body-weight squat and hold it in the down position.  Aim for a goal of two minutes.  If two minutes is too difficult, initially, start with two 1-minute intervals and rest for 60 seconds between them.

“This kind of isometric exercise builds strength and improves mobility and has a low risk of injury,” according to BJ Gaddour, CSCS and creator of the Men’s Health DeltaFIT series.  Isometric exercises work by creating muscular tension while opposing the force of an immovable object or, in this case, gravity.  Studies have shown that that a 7 second muscle contraction increases your strength by about 5 percent.

Isometric exercises are not limited to body weight squats.  You can hold almost any exercise — such as a pushup in down position, or a calf raise in up position — and make it isometric.  Some exercises, like planks and side planks, are inherently isometric.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Add Isometric Exercises to Your Training Regimen

6 Nov

squat-a-ex_0[1]Want to accelerate your strength and power gains — and add some variation — in the weight room?   Incorporate isometric exercises into your training regimen.

The term “isometric” actually comes from two Greek words meaning “equal measure.”  There are a number of ways to define the word isometric but, basically, an isometric exercise is one in which there is muscle contraction without movement (muscle length does not change during contraction).

Here are some examples of isometric exercises:

  • Holding a pushup in the “down” position for some pre-determined period of time (or, as long as possible)
  • Holding a squat in the “down” position
  • Holding a chinup/pullup in the “up” position

Isometric exercises may also involve a pause (shorter hold) between the eccentric and concentric (up and down, or push and pull) phases of the exercise.  You can increase the intensity level of isometric exercises by adding time to the “hold,” or adding weight to the exercise.

How can athletes benefit from isometric exercises?

Every athlete wants to be able to generate a lot of explosive force.  Isometric exercises, when added to a training regimen, have been shown to help athletes produce more power.

Isometric exercises can help athletes improve their ability to absorb impact and resist force.

Isometric exercises are useful in helping athletes build muscle and joint stability.

Because of the “mental toughness” required to hold an isometric exercise for as long as possible, athletes can learn to improve mental focus and overcome fatigue.

Beginners may benefit from isometric exercises when they are unable to perform an exercise (like a pushup or chinup) with technical correctness through a full range-of-motion.  The strength built, over time, by doing the isometric version of the exercise can improve their ability to perform the traditional exercise.

When performing isometric exercises, athletes should strive for perfect form and posture.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

%d bloggers like this: