The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness
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The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness

Itís no secret that when people contradict themselves, it has the effect of making the flaws in their actions or statements seem glaringly obvious. But what about when WE ourselves get caught contradicting ourselves by someone else?

By: Nick Tumminello Added: January 6th, 2014
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Thread: Isometrics

  1. #1
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    Isometrics

    I've been reading articles on the web that suggest isometrics helps build explosive strength ( which seems kind of counter intuitive to me ). Some of the articles suggest that about 10% of your training should consist of isometrics. I was wondering how people here felt about this, and if any people here have used isometrics in their training.
    Last edited by BigTallOx; 05-06-2009 at 09:44 AM.

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  3. #2
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    the closest i get to isometrics is grinding out lifts and hitting sticking points.

  4. #3
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    No...

  5. #4
    Super Moderator vdizenzo's Avatar
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    Too much thinking. The more you think--the more you stink. SFW!


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  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by vdizenzo View Post
    Too much thinking. The more you think--the more you stink. SFW!
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  7. #6
    Westside Bencher Travis Bell's Avatar
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    hahaha good one Vin

    I'm just going to echo what everyone else has said by saying not everything on the interwebz is true. Isometrics are pretty worthless for powerlifting


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  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Bell View Post
    hahaha good one Vin

    I'm just going to echo what everyone else has said by saying not everything on the interwebz is true. Isometrics are pretty worthless for powerlifting
    I certantly wasn't suggesting everything on the web was true. One of the articles I found was by Louie Simmons, where he describes how to perform isometric exercise and says "I hope just some small part of this article will awaken your mind to try a new method of training". But in another article he says "Conventional isometrics - that joint-jarring pressing against immovable pins - is unnecessary."
    Last edited by BigTallOx; 05-06-2009 at 11:43 AM.

  9. #8
    Senior Member Sensei's Avatar
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    I don't ever plan to do isometrics, but the idea is very sound. There are a lot of times when lifting that the weight isn't moving (or barely moving) - isometrics might be an occasional tool for that. Rehab is another application.

    I was pushing my car the other day on an incline and it took forever to get that bastage moving... At the time, I really wished I had been training that range of motion better.

    I don't know about 10%, but it's probably not a bad idea to do some here and there.

    btw, I'd consider pause squats an isometric variation.
    Last edited by Sensei; 05-06-2009 at 11:52 AM.
    A child does not learn to squat from the top down. In other words, he does not suddenly make a conscious decision one day to squat. Actually, he is squatting one day and make the conscious decision to stand. Squatting precedes standing in the developmental sequence. This is the way a child's brain learns to use the body as the child develops movement patterns. Therefore, a child is probably crawling, rocks back into a squatting position with the back completely relaxed and the hips completely flexed, and stands when he has enough hip strength. This approach makes a lot of sense and can be applied to relearning the deep squat movement if it is lost. -Gray Cook
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  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sensei View Post
    I don't ever plan to do isometrics, but the idea is very sound.
    So, just curious, if the idea is sound why do you never plan to do isometrics?

    I'm not trying to think too hard, but for me fully understanding the ideas behind something is very helpful.

  11. #10
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    Louie says a lot of things. Most of it makes my head hurt.
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  12. #11
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    Ask all the top lifters today if they are using isometrics

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    People talk about them a lot. But nobody ever seems to get around to implementing them properly or seriously. And nobody does them long enough to really be able to say they work or don't work.

  14. #13
    Senior Member Sensei's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigTallOx View Post
    So, just curious, if the idea is sound why do you never plan to do isometrics?
    My training is pretty barebones - I don't obsess about things. Most of the time, if I can crawl to the basement to do my jerks, snatches, squats, and pull-ups, I'm damn satisfied.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Moore
    Ask all the top lifters today if they are using isometrics
    Ben,
    I think everyone would agree that the top PLers in the world are using weights in their training (at least on occasion) heavy enough that bar "speed" approaches isometric-like work. I'm just assuming when we talk about isometrics we're NOT talking about the Charles Atlas mail-order program...
    A child does not learn to squat from the top down. In other words, he does not suddenly make a conscious decision one day to squat. Actually, he is squatting one day and make the conscious decision to stand. Squatting precedes standing in the developmental sequence. This is the way a child's brain learns to use the body as the child develops movement patterns. Therefore, a child is probably crawling, rocks back into a squatting position with the back completely relaxed and the hips completely flexed, and stands when he has enough hip strength. This approach makes a lot of sense and can be applied to relearning the deep squat movement if it is lost. -Gray Cook
    Lifting Clips: http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=johnnymnemonic2
    Blog: http://squatrx.blogspot.com/

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    I've heard of bodybuilders utilizing an isometric contraction at the end of a bench set (with the weight down and their chest muscles stretched out) in order to 'burn out' - but thats more for hypertrophy I think than strength gains.

    How would a PLer use isometrics in their training?
    Last edited by samadhi_smiles; 05-06-2009 at 03:01 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by samadhi_smiles View Post
    I've heard of bodybuilders utilizing an isometric contraction at the end of a bench set (with the weight down and their chest muscles stretched out) in order to 'burn out' - but thats more for hypertrophy I think than strength gains.

    How would a PLer use isometrics in their training?
    The one way that I can see that it will help with training is when you perform a "grinder" type set where the weight is so heavy the bar is moving very, very slowly, if moving at all. I think it is Chuck V. who has made the comments about "learning to strain against the bar". If you keep it simple, doing that in essense somewhat of an isometric contraction.
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  17. #16
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    You're either doing isometrics or you're not. If there is bar speed at all (ie. The bar is moving) then you are not performing an isometric exercise

    And I have implemented them in training and got nothing out of it

  18. #17
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    IMO. isometrics don't make any sence at all. let's say you are benchpressing against pins with 200lbs. and holding it against the pins for any amount of time, say 10 seconds or whatever. how many lbs. of pressure does it really take to hold it there? 201lbs of pressure? there is no way to tell, and even if there was, wouldn't you just rather bench 201lbs. full range for 10 seconds? isometrics? why? ........

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    Quote Originally Posted by barbell01 View Post
    IMO. isometrics don't make any sence at all. let's say you are benchpressing against pins with 200lbs. and holding it against the pins for any amount of time, say 10 seconds or whatever. how many lbs. of pressure does it really take to hold it there? 201lbs of pressure? there is no way to tell, and even if there was, wouldn't you just rather bench 201lbs. full range for 10 seconds? isometrics? why? ........
    I think the point is to press the weight as hard as you can against the pins, not just hold the weight against the pins. Theoretically it is supposed to help with a sticking point. Never tried it myself though so don't know if it works.

  20. #19
    Westside Bencher Travis Bell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Moore View Post
    You're either doing isometrics or you're not. If there is bar speed at all (ie. The bar is moving) then you are not performing an isometric exercise

    And I have implemented them in training and got nothing out of it
    Quote Originally Posted by barbell01 View Post
    IMO. isometrics don't make any sence at all. let's say you are benchpressing against pins with 200lbs. and holding it against the pins for any amount of time, say 10 seconds or whatever. how many lbs. of pressure does it really take to hold it there? 201lbs of pressure? there is no way to tell, and even if there was, wouldn't you just rather bench 201lbs. full range for 10 seconds? isometrics? why? ........
    Agree with both of you.

    and BTO, I'd be interested to see that article that you are referring to where Lou recommends isometrics


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  21. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike95763 View Post
    I think the point is to press the weight as hard as you can against the pins, not just hold the weight against the pins. Theoretically it is supposed to help with a sticking point. Never tried it myself though so don't know if it works.
    i prefer moving the bar through my sticky points, rather than holding the bar at my sticky point with an unknown amount of pressure. if it is truly my sticky point, i think i spend enuff time holding it there anyhow. hahaha

  22. #21
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    I think he is referring to the Jan 2006 article on the Westside website. I'd be curious to hear Louie's current take on it.

  23. #22
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    i would also think that doing isometric holds would only teach you how to hold it there(against the pins) using the least amount of force, for the most amount of time. If that were true, isometric holds would actually be counterproductive.

  24. #23
    Westside Bencher Travis Bell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by haydn104 View Post
    I think he is referring to the Jan 2006 article on the Westside website. I'd be curious to hear Louie's current take on it.
    Ah, good call. I had forgotten about that article.

    We do not do isometrics any longer at Westside nor have we done them with any consistency for a few years. Pin pointing how to make them translate over to a sticking point was difficult and we found that doing limited range of motion movements worked the sticking points faster and stronger.

    Just something we've evolved past I guess.


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  25. #24
    Senior Member AlMohr's Avatar
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    From what I have read isometric contractions produce more force then concentric contractions, but only transfer to about 5-10% in the full ROM making them very specific too the part in the ROM being trained. For most powerlifters getting such a small force transfer is wasteful especially when other, much more effective methods for sticky points are out there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlMohr View Post
    From what I have read isometric contractions produce more force then concentric contractions, but only transfer to about 5-10% in the full ROM making them very specific too the part in the ROM being trained. For most powerlifters getting such a small force transfer is wasteful especially when other, much more effective methods for sticky points are out there.
    Al,

    Isometrics are one of the most effective method you can employ to strengthen you "sticking point."

    Two of the biggest proponents of isometric strength training are Chris Thibaudeau and Bill Starr, strength coaches.

    The Russians found isomteric strength training to be one of the best method for increasing strength. Secretes of Soviet Sports Fitness and Trainng/Yessis

    Dr Mel Siff and Yuri Verkhoshansky go into how effective isometric are in the development of strength, Supertraining.

    The problem is a lack of education in isometrics.

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