The Case For Isometrics

Discussion in 'Hypertrophy-Specific Training (HST)' started by Old and Grey, Jan 8, 2019.

  1. Old and Grey

    Old and Grey Super Moderator Staff Member

    I could never get decent traps until I incorporated using Isometric exercises daily and then they exploded within three months. Also found them to be useful for full triceps development.

    _Simon_ likes this.
  2. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Active Member

    I've always wanted to incorporate isometrics... how did you use them for triceps O&G, isometric contractions at the shortened position (eg holding contracted position of tricep kickback, that would be intense haha..) or the lengthened (OH DB ext stretch)?
  3. NWlifter

    NWlifter Active Member

    cool study, here are a few more...

    Relative changes in maximal force, EMG, and muscle cross-sectional area after isometric training.

    Garfinkel S, Cafarelli E.

    Department of Physical Education, Faculty of Pure and Applied Science, York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

    The purpose of this experiment was to determine whether training-induced increases in maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) can be completely accounted for by increases in muscle cross-sectional area. Fifteen female university students were randomly divided into a control (N = 7) and an experimental (N = 8) group. The experimental group underwent 8 wk of isometric resistance training of the knee extensors of one leg; the other leg was the untrained control. Training consisted of 30 MVC.d-1 x 3 d.wk-1 x 8 wk. Extensor cross-sectional area (CSA), assessed by computerized tomographic (CT) scanning of a cross-sectional slice at mid-thigh, was used as a measure of muscle hypertrophy. After 8 wk of training, MVC increased by 28% (P < 0.05), CSA increased by 14.6% (P < 0.05), and the amplitude of the electromyogram at MVC (EMGmax) was unchanged in the trained leg of the experimental subjects. The same measures in the untrained legs of the experimental subjects and in both legs of the control subjects were not changed after training. Although there was an apparent discrepancy between the increase in MCV (28%) and CSA (14.6%), the ratio between the two, the specific tension (, was not significantly different after training. As a result of these findings, we conclude that in these subjects there is no evidence of nonhypertrophic adaptations to resistance training of this type and magnitude, and that the increase in force-generating capacity of the muscle is due to the synthesis of additional contractile proteins.

    Effects of isometric strength training on quadriceps muscle properties in over 55 year olds
    L. Welsh1 and O. M. Rutherford1

    (1) Department of Physiology Biophysics, St. Mary''s Hospital Medical School, Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, W2 1PG Norfolk Place, London, UK

    Accepted: 17 April 1995

    Abstract Changes in strength, speed and size of the quadriceps muscle have been investigated in elderly men and women after 6 months of isometric strength training. We have also indirectly investigated the role of metabolites as a stimulus for muscle hypertrophy by studying two training protocols. One thigh was trained using short, intermittent contractions (IC), while the other trained using long, continuous contractions (CC). This meant that there should be a greater metabolite change in the muscle performing CC, as the blood flow is occluded for longer. Nine subjects [eight women, mean (SE) age, 71.8 (2.9) years] were measured for contractile properties and strength before and after training, and compared to nine age-matched controls [71.5 (2.1) years]. The training group increased quadriceps strength by 48.7 (9.1)% (P < 0.005) and 53.1 (11.3) % (P < 0.005) following the IC and CC protocols, respectively. There was no change in muscle strength in the controls. Both muscles showed significant slowing after training as measured by the relaxation times and the force-frequency ratio. There were non-significant decreases in muscle fatigability after training. The control group also showed some significant decreases in fatigability and muscle speed. The training group showed significant increases in muscle (and bone) cross-sectional area of 4.0 (1.7)% and 4.9 (1.3)% following the CC and IC protocols, respectively. These increases were significantly different from the decrease observed in the control group. These findings suggest that people over the age of 55 still have the capacity to increase muscle strength and size, and that the training causes slowing of the muscle. Muscle hypertrophy does not seem to be strongly influenced by metabolite changes in this age group, as there were no differences in measurements observed between protocols.

    Twitch contractile adaptations are not dependent on the intensity of isometric exercise in the human triceps surae.

    Alway SE, Sale DG, MacDougall JD.

    School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation, Ohio State University, Columbus 43210-1284.

    Ultrastructural and twitch contractile characteristics of the human triceps surae were determined in six healthy but very sedentary subjects before and after 16 weeks of isometric training at 30% maximal voluntary contraction (MVC). Following training, twitch contraction time was approximately 16% shorter, although no differences were observed in one-half relaxation time or peak twitch torque. Percent fibre type was not changed by training. The mean area of type I and type II fibres in the soleus increased by approximately 30% but only type II fibres showed an increase in area in the lateral gastrocnemius (30%). Despite such changes in fibre area the volume density of the sarcoplasmic reticulum-transverse tubular network averaged 3.2 +/- 0.6% and 5.9 +/- 0.9% in type I and type II fibres respectively, before and after training in the two heads of the gastrocnemius. The results indicate that contractile adaptations to isometric training at 30% MVC were limited to twitch contraction time and were not directly related to changes in percent fibre distribution or the volume of sarcoplasmic reticulum and transverse tubules in either type I or type II fibres. The data further demonstrate that substantial fibre hypertrophy is achieved by training with low-intensity contractions.
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  4. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Active Member

    Just tried isometric leg extensions, just holding at the top position, fairly light weight, contracting just enough to keep the weight stationary for 2 sets of 60 seconds, was good fun. Got tough around the end, but am used to doing alot of isometric holds in karate.

    Been having some pain in the knees so gonna see how this goes, whether it helps. Just been doing normal light higher rep leg extensions previously.
    NWlifter likes this.
  5. Brixtonian

    Brixtonian Active Member

    Back in the days of my HIT and Superslow training, I used a type of isometrics quite a lot.

    For example. Following a HIT set of dips or skullcrushers, to failure, I would immediately drop on to my knees and with my elbows at right angles, press down on a chair/bench (kind of like a mid range pressdown) and hold for max.

    For chest, immediately following a chest dip or bench press to failure, I would adopt a mid range static press-up (again with elbows wide and at right angles)

    The focus was to keep trying to push passed an immovable object.
    I never did them as a stand-alone exercise, always within 2-3 seconds of finishing an all-out failure set of a (usually) compound movement
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  6. Jester

    Jester Well-Known Member

    I used to do a lot of pressing against solid walls. Not sure if it ever helped or not. Mentally ass kicking because of no quantifiable measure and the wall not moving :p
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  7. Mojo77

    Mojo77 Member

    Easy to incorporate. Take a weight you can do 10 to 12 reps with and then you will lift that for time. Forget reps, think a minute or minute and a half with that weight. Keep pumping the reps out. The isometric will come by itself as you can not lift the weight anymore. First they will be yielding isometric naturally progressing into overcoming isometric.
    Regarding sets and rest. Take 5 deep breaths then do it all over 3 or 4 times. Do this every damn day and you will see growth real fast.
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2019
  8. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Active Member

    Really wanna try this but I know that'd push to me crazy levels of fatigue and CNS burnout pushing far past failure like that :p, but still would love to incorporate it somehow... unless just one exercise per session...

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