Isometric Training For Strength and Definition

The following oldschool workout routine was developed by bodybuilding legend Don Ross (1977).- Mr. Berg

“If you were exercising in the early 60’s, you remember the Isometric Fad. People who didn’t want to put out the time to exercise were encouraged to take ten seconds a day to push against their doorways, down on their desks, and against the steering wheels of their cars, to build “instant muscles.”

At this time, many athletes and coaches realized that strength increased after applying muscle force against immovable objects. Several top weightlifters used isometrics to strengthen their muscles at the point at which they had gotten stuck when lifting past their limit.

After the popularity of isometrics went the way of all fads, most of the devices sold to the public ended up in the city dump. Articles were written exposing the shortcomings of isometrics. The fact that isometrics provide little cardio-vascular work by themselves is the main criticism. Results of many tests eventually showed that progressive resistance exercise was superior in the long run for producing continuous muscular gains. Still, the advantages provided by isometric training remain for those who want to utilize this along with other forms of exercise.

Isometric will help produce outstanding strength gains and will bring out “hidden” muscular definition. Two forms of effective isometric contraction exercise that etch out those “cuts” are muscle flexing and dynamic tension.

“Many physiques champions know the advantages of flexing a muscle and holding it in maximum contraction for six to ten seconds. Dynamic tension involves pitting one muscle against another. Pushing your hands together in front of you , for instance, or locking your fingers and pulling your arms apart. The third and most effective method is with the use of an isometric device; one that you can simulate weight lifting movements with.

When you exercise with weights, even utilizing the strictest form and applying maximum effort, you can’t apply maximum force to every angle of the movement. You can feel where the movement gets easy and little tensions is used.

‘We’ll use the barbell curl for an example. Toward the middle of the movement, you must exert more strength than at the beginning and at the end because of the leverage factor of the construction of your arms. To work all your muscle fibers thoroughly, it would be ideal to be able to apply maximum tension at the beginning and end of the movement as well.

Manufacturers have come up with tons of different equipment designed to work muscles at every angle and reach areas where standard weight exercises miss. Of all the devices now available, isometrics are incomparably less expensive and at the same time, most unique.

You can exercise each muscle at the exact point where you need the most work. You can fill in the biceps and build the “peak,” complete lagging areas of pectoral development, increase your lat spread, carve definition in the calves, etc., while increasing tendon and muscle strength. The most unique aspect of isometrics is that they take only seconds to perform.
isometric training don ross bodybuilding

Isometric devices are the lowest costing of any exercise equipment. Of course, you could spend a lot of money on a power-rack type set-up, but that’s not necessary. For just a few dollars you can purchase a handy isometric unit or for even less, you can make one from hardware items. The illustration will show you how to make a simple exercise.

When training with weights or calisthenics, the repetitions become progressively harder until you can barely move past the sticking point. It is these last repetitions that build the muscle. It is the struggle of the muscle fibers against maximum resistance that stimulates growth and development. This is precisely the effect you get from each isometric contraction.

Whenever you apply all your strength against an immovable bar, it’s like handling the absolute maximum poundage in weight that you can handle in that position. Just as you warm up with weight training, it is necessary to do the same with isometrics. This prevents muscle and tendon injury. Do a few light calisthenics before doing isometrics. As you begin your exercise, slowly increase the pressure for the first five seconds. Hold with maximum tension for the next five seconds, then slowly relax the applied tension. Never let up suddenly after a maximum contraction! It’s a good idea to have somebody time you on your exercise so you can give it all your concentration. Give every bit of your energy you can to your second and final set at each position.

Concentrate on bending that bar or tearing those chains apart; when you can no longer apply that kind of effort, the set is over. Hit at least three positions for each exercise you do. Breathe in short breaths as you tense to avoid dizziness.

You can add isometrics to your weight workout, or do them on alternate days. This is a great way to keep in shape while traveling or working at a job that doesn’t provide time to hit your regular workouts. You can try isometric bodybuilding during the weight training lay offs.

I have always found that adding isometrics to my regular bodybuilding training increases my strength and definition noticeably.”

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