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  1. #1
    greenlanterncorp1987 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Are Isometrics useless?

    With the exception of the plank are isometrics basically useless exercises that increase your blood pressure and only strengthen you for being in whatever that certain position that you are in at the moment of training is?

    That's just what I was thinking but what do the rest of you think?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by greenlanterncorp1987 View Post
    With the exception of the plank are isometrics basically useless exercises that increase your blood pressure and only strengthen you for being in whatever that certain position that you are in at the moment of training is?

    That's just what I was thinking but what do the rest of you think?
    My guess is that you're going to get a lot of different responses.

    My opinion is that they are not useless. And it only makes sense. Think about it. Why would only a plank be useful and no other isometric exercises? Remember, isometric exercises include gymnastic-style static holds, and it's pretty hard to argue those are useless. Nevertheless, I think even basic isometric exercises are useful. Recently, after much research (trust me, I myself was skeptical at first, but pretty much all of the research proves that isometrics are useful for building strength), I began implementing one workout/week of just isometric holds. Almost immediately, I saw gains in my pistols and pullups. It was pretty remarkable, to be honest.

    Do they only work the body in certain positions? There is some truth to this idea, though I think it is usually overstated. There is carryover from from the static hold to the entire range of movement. I believe my improved pistol and pullup numbers prove this. Furthermore, you can always do isometric holds at different points in the movement to ensure carryover through the entire range of motion.

    Do they raise your blood pressure? Sure, but all strength training does. Also, often people forget to breathe during isometrics, which only exacerbates the issue.

  3. #3
    Chris Hansen is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by senorchupacabra View Post
    ilding strength), I began implementing one workout/week of just isometric holds. Almost immediately, I saw gains in my pistols and pullups. It was pretty remarkable, to be honest.
    Just curious, what were you doing that helped pistols and pullups?

    People like Pavel, Christopher Sommer, and Ross Enamait all talk about the value of isometrics. Even Coach Wade mentions them in CC although he doesn't go into a lot of detail.

  4. #4
    Wild Pegasus is offline Senior Member
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    The fitness world is shot through with far too much all-or-nothing thinking. I expect it's a side effect of how fitness products are marketed: "All other training systems are crap, buy mine!" (Dragon Door is not only not an exception, but a particularly egregious offender.)

    No, isometrics are not useless. I found dead hangs and flex hangs to be very useful in rebuilding my pull-up ability. Headstands, handstand holds, and isometric pushes from a headstand were very helpful to getting my first HSPU. Holding the bottom of a pistol is a very good way to build pistol strength, far better than squatting on a basketball or whatever BS CC says.

    But isometrics are not the be-all, end-all of exercise, either. Nothing is. It all depends on your goals, background, other training, history of injuries, etc.

  5. #5
    ad5ly is offline Senior Member
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    Isometrics have there usefullness depending on the goal. Re-hab is one thing to consider for isos. As supplementary strength technique with a lifting program another. When away from home or gym and traveling isos are useful. But if your goal is to lift heavy weight then isos alone won't do it. KJ applies it to his plataue breaker technique in PERFECTING THE PRESS book. Isos in conjunction with lifting is fine..Dennis

  6. #6
    Krzyh93 is offline Member
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    Isometrics have one huge advantage: they teach our muscles how to cooperate with the others

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Hansen View Post
    Just curious, what were you doing that helped pistols and pullups?

    People like Pavel, Christopher Sommer, and Ross Enamait all talk about the value of isometrics. Even Coach Wade mentions them in CC although he doesn't go into a lot of detail.
    A number of different exercises. As I said, I've begun dedicating one day per week to isometric training. My template are the workouts in the "Solitary Fitness" book and several different progressions for gymnastic-style holds like the front lever and planche.

    So, like, for the legs, one of the holds I do is essentially the lunge position. The difference is I tense the quads and glutes as tight as possible for 10 seconds, switch legs and 10 sets of 10 second holds for each leg. It might not sound like much to some people, but I'm usually sweating pretty good by the fifth sets. There are several other exercises I do for legs, but they're had to explain. They're almost like yoga poses. For example, there's another position I do where I simply lift my leg straight up into the air until I feel the burn and then I hold for 10 seconds, switch legs and do 10 sets of 10 seconds on each leg.

    For the back, there are several basic lat-tensing exercises, as well as the aforementioned front lever work (there's essentially an inverted plank that someone else had posted on these forums for increasing pullup reps without doing pull-ups. Maybe do a search on that, as the poster provided pictures).

    For the abs I do L-sits and power breathing during isometric days.

    Trust me, I was skeptical as hell of these exercises, so much so that I had "Solitary Fitness" for about 3 months before actually attempting to do isometrics, but they've really boosted my strength in a short amount of time.

    For the extreme skeptic, or for someone who really loves to lift weights or something, there are some good articles over at T-nation about using isometrics with weights.

    http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_...trics_for_mass
    http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_...roved_strength
    Last edited by senorchupacabra; 11-28-2012 at 07:37 PM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ad5ly View Post
    Isometrics have there usefullness depending on the goal. Re-hab is one thing to consider for isos. As supplementary strength technique with a lifting program another. When away from home or gym and traveling isos are useful. But if your goal is to lift heavy weight then isos alone won't do it. KJ applies it to his plataue breaker technique in PERFECTING THE PRESS book. Isos in conjunction with lifting is fine..Dennis

    Yeah, although I've become a recent convert to the power of isometrics, I do agree with this assessment. I think they are best as supplementary exercises. I don't think it's prudent to center an entire program around isometrics, although it seemed to work well for Alexander Zass.

  9. #9
    Rich in Nor Cal is offline Senior Member
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    What ad5ly and senorchupacabra said, to which I'll add only not to forget that muscles working as stabilizers are usually working isometrically. A lot of the muscle work in the power lifts are working isometrically, like the lats and biceps in a deadlift or rhomboids in a bench press, to mention just a few. But as a stand-alone, lifetime program, although better than nothing, I don't think they are adequate or optimal. It's just another tool in the toolbox.

  10. #10
    DLS
    DLS is offline Senior Member
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    I have trashed knees ... they will need replacement surgery sooner rather than later. Isometrics help me maintain and increase my leg strength without putting the joint through its range of motion. I squat (Dan John style) as much as tolerable and add iso's to further work the legs beyond what I could do with movement exercises alone.
    Be well ... Lee.

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