The world of fitness is home to a deeply rooted subculture. And, like all subcultures, arguments often spread from within.
A quick look at Reddit shows yoga practitioners and Pilates enthusiasts clashing, bodybuilders criticizing the way powerlifters squat, powerlifters criticizing people who can’t bench 300 pounds, and runners criticizing lazy lifters. It becomes clear that you are throwing shade.
While most of these conversations are light-hearted, they can actually become tense. This is especially true when discussing underrated or underrated exercises. It seems like every gym member has an opinion on this topic.
My own opinion: The most underrated exercise is not actually an exercise, but rather a training technique. It’s called isometrics.
Isometrics are exercises where the target muscles generate force without noticeable movement.
Wall squats are a clear example of this. With your back pressed against the wall, lower your butt until your knees are at a 90-degree angle with him. He holds this position for about a minute and is done. To understand the benefits, try a few sets and see how your feet feel afterwards.
How muscles and isometrics work
When muscle fibers are activated, they contract to generate the force needed to accomplish the task at hand. This process begins in the brain, where the nervous system sends signals that travel through the body along pathways called motor neurons. These cause muscle contractions that produce movement.
When our bodies make any movement, our muscles go through stages of contraction. During the eccentric phase, the targeted muscles are lengthened (think of the lowering phase of a push-up). During the concentric phase, the targeted muscles shorten (think of the rising phase of a push-up). Adding a pause between these two phases results in an isometric contraction.
During isometric contractions, the muscles recruited by motor neurons can never relax. There is constant, prolonged tension throughout the duration of the exercise, and this tension is the magic that makes isometrics so effective.
With the right tools and techniques, isometrics can be manipulated to provide a training stimulus similar to traditional weightlifting. Isometrics have a few more unique benefits, but the biggest one is the ability to target precise muscle tissue with precision and a limited range of motion. This makes it ideal for injury rehabilitation or training weak areas in certain lifts, such as the initial pull-up phase of a deadlift or pushing the barbell away from your chest during a bench press.
As with any training method, isometrics must be used properly to get the most benefit from them. To maximize muscle-building adaptations, you may want to use something called “yield isometrics.”
Basically, you assume a static position while holding a weight (free weights or your own body weight) in place for 45 to 90 seconds. Planks, holding the top of a pull-up, and holding dumbbells with your arms outstretched to your sides on the floor are all examples of achieving isometrics.
Isometrics can also be used to increase strength with the help of some specialized equipment. Pushing or pulling a stationary object with all your might for 10 to 20 seconds (an approach called “conquering isometrics”) recruits more muscle fibers to help your nervous system function more effectively. will be trained. My favorite format for this type of training is rack iso deadlift and smith machine iso bench press.
Get the most out of your methods
Isometrics are effective, but they can also be a little boring. Deep squats aren’t the most thrilling way to spend 60 seconds.
that’s why There are several variations Within both categories of isometric techniques. There’s a world of programming parameters to help keep your training fresh and engaging, including statodynamic methods, functional isometrics, isometrics, loaded stretching, and reactive isometrics.
If you decide to incorporate isometrics into your routine, choose one or two variations that help support your goals and spend three to four weeks learning how to get the most out of them. Then consider new methods and compare the results. You may find a style that turns you into an isometric club.
paul landini I am a personal trainer and health educator in Kitchener, Ontario.