High Intensity Training Leads to Isometric Workouts

True High Intensity Training Means Isometric Workouts

Every gym has people in it who talk about their High Intensity training but few of them realize that isometric workouts are the highest possible intensity a person can achieve. When I talk about isometric workouts I use the term ‘Static Contraction’ to differentiate between my training method and the old isometric workouts that were done in recent decades and even past centuries.

An isometric contraction involves no movement of the muscle. Yoga practitioners have used it for centuries because they know it works but in the 1960’s isometric workouts were popularized by Bob Hoffman of the York Barbell Company. The negative issue in both cases is they do not measure the overload or intensity of those forms of isometric workouts where you simply push against an immovable object. Hoffman sold racks that trapped an empty barbell between stops so a person could push or pull with all his power. But exactly how much power is that? Same with yoga. How hard are you pushing?

A Comparison on Conventional and Isometric Workouts

What was always missing from isometric workouts before Static Contraction was measurement of the force being exerted. And knowing that number is critical to making progress in the gym. Recently we did an informal study of the intensity of different workouts variations such as one set to failure, two sets, strip sets, pyramid sets, etc. The results were pretty enlightening but what was also obvious was how little intensity those “high intensity” methods delivered compared to isometric workouts The image below is a graph showing the intensity of the variations we tested with the last one being the intensity in the Static Contraction method of isometric workouts.

High Intensity Training Leads to Isometric Workouts

Same leg press, same test subjects, but they only reached their highest intensity when they did the exercise the way Static Contraction does in isometric workouts. Knowing that, how can anyone justify using a lower intensity ‘high intensity’ workout? Honestly, what sense does it make? Look at the intensity of the isometric workouts compared to the others!

Anyone who is convinced of the value of high intensity strength training has to admit that the highest intensity he can achieve on any exercise is by doing isometric workouts. And if he wants those isometric workouts to provide a way to ensure progressive overload and adequate rest between trips to the gym then Static Contraction training is the only game in town. I don’t say that to brag or make aggrandizing claims, it’s just a fact that there is only one method on the market that allows you to generate the absolute highest intensity for every target muscle group and it’s the isometric workouts in the Train Smart e-book.

I often wonder how different gyms would be if isometric workouts were the first to establish themselves one hundred years ago. How could anyone come along and sell what is today conventional training? Imagine walking into a gym where everyone was doing isometric workouts in their strongest and safest range of motion and then telling them to try a “new” method: “Lift lighter weights but in a more injury-prone range of motion! That will reduce the intensity, plus increase the risk of injury, plus allow you to train more often. What’s not to love? Less efficient. Less effective. More dangerous. Oh, and you’ll only need a quarter of the weight stack you need now so you can use equipment made by Fisher Price.” We live in a strange world.

Just remember next time you hear or read a guy talking about how high intensity training is so important that an honest examination of the principle leads to isometric workouts using Static Contraction training. It’s hard to find trainers with the intellectual honesty to admit the truth of what can be proven to them in seconds, but gradually the point is getting through and we are winning this battle against ignorance. You can help defeat the widespread ignorance by sharing this article about high intensity and isometric workouts. I thank you for that.

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60 Responses to High Intensity Training Leads to Isometric Workouts

  1. Craig at #

    In most cases, high intesity training refers to a method for improving strength AND conditioning and not just pure muscular strength. I don’t dispute the research involved in your method – it is a very efficient and effective way improve the ablility to move very heavy loads. However, this method only improves one aspect of fitness and excludes all others, and for this reason I don’t believe a true athlete should train this way. In order to achieve true athleticism, all aspects of fitness must be addressed, not just pure strength. Developing muscular power, endurance, and strength, as well as coordination, balance, cardiovascular endurance and stamina, requires a much more complex training method that trains all of these aspects together. Such a method has to involve more than just 5 seconds per month because you’re training for much more than just pure strength. It requires more frequent and longer sessions involving more complex movements that engage the central nervous system which will result in improvments in ALL areas of fitness. Training this way may not allow me to lift a small car an inch or two, but it will help a hockey player win a race for the puck at the end of a shift, or a running back power through the defensinve line and then sprint 60 yards to the end zone. My point is, most people want to get much more out of their training than being able to lift ridiculously heavy weight.

  2. The thing is, Craig, you’re mixing apples and oranges. I’m talking about building stronger muscles and you’re talking about that AND every other aspect of fitness. Of course lifting a barbell won’t make you a great hockey or football player or give you agility,coordination, etc. No argument there. But once a guy picks up a barbell to get stronger, bigger muscles it’s all about his intensity of lifting. And nothing matches static contraction for that intensity. A smart athlete would do SCT to build peak strength and use all the hundreds of hours saved every year to practice the other aspects of his sport that would give him all-around improvement. Sadly, most buy into the “3 sets of 12, 3 days a week” B.S. and they are worse off for it.

  3. Donnie Hunt at #

    Before I post anything else on here I feel like I should give a little information about myself. I obviously have an interest in and like to do strength training. I’ve had an interest probably since I was about 8 or 9, maybe before that. I’m now 34. I really enjoy learning about different training ideas and protocols. My own workouts are kind of a combination of different protocols mixed together. I feel like I get alot of good information here and critical thinking.

  4. Critical thinking is ABSOLUTELY crucial. Too many people follow others like sheep without thinking about what they’re doing. I see it daily in the gym. I’m glad we’re getting you to think. That is one of the goals of this website.

  5. I love all the time that SCT saves! I work out 3 times per week including a high intensity cardio workout. My cardio routine is a quick warm up and then 5 all out one minute sprints on the eliptical machine at level 11. Each sprint is followed by a 2 to 2 1/2 minute rest to let my heart rate get back to normal. Your heart is a muscle that also responds to intensity similar to SCT. Total time in the gym including my SCT is about 30-40 minutes (a lot of that time is setting up and breaking down the weights and rest time between the one minute sprints). Never been in better shape!

  6. Arnold Ahyuen at #

    Pete,
    on the contrary SCT alone has given me better 0-60 acceleration and better stability which I give credit to the 900 lbs. plus one legged leg presses that I have done. I have done some air disc training to work on balance but, there too, the leg presses have enabled me to balance for longer on the disc without fatigue.

  7. Bingo, Arnold! Many people talk about speed, quickness, acceleration and power like they each come from a different organ. Haha. They ALL require a stronger muscles and when you want to make any skeletal muscle stronger you’re right back at creating intense muscle overload – and that eventually leads to SCT.

  8. From an optimal aging standpoint, when all the physically intense games are in the past and the critical thing that assures your independence is whether you can stand from a seated position or not, using SCT will be the most effective approach to maintain muscle mass against the ravages of aging. Recovery/repair/regrowth time increases with age, and SCT provides a precise way to insure that enough time between workouts is included in a strategy for maintaining strength, particularly leg/glute strength. Knowing precisely whether we have gained or lost allows us to adjust other factors – nutrition, supplements, sleep time – to accomplish that goal.
    My bet – as Pete says, use SCT to build /maintain muscle mass and strength, and you will be able play the other games and athletic activities decades longer than without it. I’m not a game person; a sheer lack of any degree of speed and coordination, last to get picked for any team as a child, but on April 1 I duplicated my previous dead lift of 505 lb for 5 second hold, at the age of 71-1/2, at 164 lb body weight. Next month I plan to add 5 lb more. I see lots of people younger that I having trouble with stairs, people who were athletes in youth, but now are folding up early. SCT give us a precise, and in my mind, optimally effective way to minimize muscle loss with aging. And that is a critical factor in quality of life for the long run.

  9. Jim Hardy at #

    I’ve worked out both SCT and the HIIT training and have discovered that for strength, SCT tops it. No contest. I’ve also discovered that short of cutting way back on calories I need to do isometric and HIIT workouts to supplement my diet to keep my metabolism up. When combined, I don’t need to workout as often. Maybe my diet could use some fine tuning. But Pete always makes the most sense. These HIIT trainers keep selling their dvds as if their gonna get you more powerful when all it does is get you to work out more often. Increasing injury, sickness and taking time away from your family.

  10. Arnold Ahyuen at #

    Frank,
    guys like you remind me of a biblical senior (compliment) named Caleb who said that he was just as ready to go to battle today(he was over 80 y.o.) as he was when he was a young man (21 maybe?). Kinda makes you wonder what type of SCT they did B.C..

    Anyway, all I have to do to know that everything you say is true is to look in the mirror to know that SCT works. Ironically, the reason I love this work out is because I am lazy and love a cold beer with the “guys” who have no hope of fitting their guts in to some 34 inch button fly levi 501’s eating and drinking the way I do. I have shared SCT with a lot of Dad’s and while they love the idea none have engaged. Oh well. In the mean time I guess I’ll continue to do my two SCT workouts a month while I enjoy the wifes cooking and a cold Sierra Nevada whenever I want while my traps, arms and quads turn in to steel!! Lol!

  11. Phil at #

    An athlete only has to use SCT to realise that it develops muscular power, endurance, strength, as well as coordination, balance, facilitating cardiovascular endurance and stamina. From my experience, and theoretically, SCT cannot only improve pure muscular strength. It is a very efficient and effective way to improve the ablility to hold very heavy loads, however, this method improves more than one aspect of fitness. For example, lifting a barbell loaded with 100% of a person’s max, one inch off the stops, without question involves much more than just pure strength. One requires maximum coordination and balance, and it’s easily provable that a person who has a stronger muscle has more endurance and stamina than a person who doesn’t. SCT fully engages the central nervous system which results in improvments in ALL areas of fitness. One could bet money that with SCT:
    A hockey player will win a race for the puck at the end of a shift, because he’s optimally recovered, he has stronger muscles and more stamina.
    And, it will help a running back power through the defensinve line and then sprint 60 yards to the end zone, for the same reason as above.
    The only suspect weight is the sub maximum weight which fails to stimulate all muscle fibres simultaneously and forces a person to pre-exhaust and pre-exhaust and pre-exhaust until finally the weight can’t be lifted. It’s about getting the puck in the net or the ball on the line first time, isn’t it.

  12. Richard at #

    I just really started using the SCT workout. I bought the e-book a few months ago, and started the 30-day quick start program. I finished the program, but fell a little short of some of my expectations. Probably due to me not doing it correctly or something. Like Steve says above, I love the time that it saves in the gym. I was doing the workouts in a junior college gym because that is where I work and didn’t see the point of spending money at some other gym if I can use this gym here for free. Of course, they don’t have the equipment that some other gyms have, but for starters, I figured it would be fine.
    Well, I finished the 30-day workout, and I just kept on doing the same exercises that I was doing but increasing the weight a bit every time. I am still having problems determining how much rest I need between workouts. I can’t seem to get it right. On some exercises if I rest a week, I get lift more weight. On others, I tend not to be able to increase the amount of lift. I can’t figure out why. Is there anyone out there that can explain it to me? I have never lifted weights before in my life, but felt that at 50 years old, I better start doing something productive with my body.
    Another thing, I just got through having surgery on my right knee. I tore my cartlidge, meniscus, and ligaments. The doc says I can’t go to the gym until I finish my therapy, which he says will take about 2 months. My question is, Should I still do the upper body exercises illustrated in the train smart e-book or just wait until I can go full force again?
    Thanks in advance,
    Richard

  13. Craig at #

    Ok, I agree that 3 sets of 12 reps 3 times a week is BS and that no athlete should train that way. And SCT does increase muscular strength efficiently and effectively. I’m not disputing either point. As for improving balance and coordination, SCT can’t do that very effectively. To improve balance, one must minimize contact with stable surfaces and the points of contact with that surface, essentially unbalancing you and forcing you to get used to maintaining balance. SCT places you in a static position, braced against a bench or into the seat of a leg press machine. There is no imbalance to begin with so this will not improve balance. Coordination improves when complex movements are performed involving the whole body at once: arms and legs, torso, everything. This is also when the CNS becomes most fully engaged because it has to coordinate the simaltanious movements of all of these bodyparts. The wieght used during these activities doesn’t need to be super heavy because building maximum strength isn’t the sole objective. As for increasing endurance, muscular or otherwise, that absolutely requires longer duration, repetitive movement. Anyway, I’m not trying to start an argument. What I am is curious. I would like to know Pete, is it possible to actually mix apples and oranges? In other words, can SCT be used in a program that includes the above methods of training provided the other training doesn’t use heavy loads and is intended to improve aspects of fitness other than pure strength?

  14. Jim at #

    SCT can revolutionize the health and fitness industry. It’s time to bring this out into the light. Are you going to promote this, offer a challenge on TV? Will there be a certification for this? If so, I want to learn about it. I suppose a lot of it will be logistics of working in a gym and setting up the exercises. I was in the fitness industry for 10 plus years, several years ago. I am getting back into it to earn supplemental income as a superslow trainer. I am 48 yrs old and pretty fit and strong by most standards, but probably pales in comparison to the numbers I have seen with SCT. I have always at least been wise enough to be in the high intensity/superslow protocol and not the 3 sets of 10, 3 times a week. Superslow/HIT was revolutionary for it’s time, but this is life altering! It’s time to get a spokesperson, celebrity endorsements, body/strength challenges,…get featured on TV news programs, talk shows etc. Isn’t it time to put SCT on the big stage in the bright lights?

  15. I couldn’t agree more Jim. All of what you mention, and more, is in the works but it’s been frustratingly slow.

  16. It not only can be mixed, it should be. SCT is about getting a person as strong as he or she can be. And it will. But there will always be sport-specific drills to improve the motions of that sport; boxing, hurdles, gymnastics, etc. But there is no boxing or gymnastics “move” that will make a muscle stronger than SCT can make it. None. If more athletes and trainers would wake up to that fact they would spend less time goofing off with crazy strength building methods and tactics.

  17. Tom Strong at #

    Quick questin Pete;

    I have certficates as a Personal Trainer, Nutritional and Wellness Consultant, Advanced Personal Trainer and Sports Conditioning Consultant. If I were to teach SCT as a sub contractor at a gym using their equipment would I need permission from you? The certificates that I have touched on isometrics, but not your system.

  18. I depends what you tell people, Tom. As long as it’s clear that you don’t legally represent me or the SCT methodology I don’t have a problem with it. We won’t have an official SCT trainer certification program until we also have an SCT machine – it’s part of a comprehensive expansion that will roll out at that time. (No, I don’t have a date.)

  19. Tom Strong at #

    Thanks Pete!

  20. Nick at #

    Pete,
    The main thing that has kept me from SCT is that I am already able to lift the entire weight stack when I use many machines at the gym when I use the 3 sets of 10 techniques. I want to use SCT, but I am not sure how I can add weight. Any suggestions?

  21. Isn’t it sad when your gym restricts your development? Like trying to use a 30 meter running track. Haha. This page might help you:
    http://www.precisiontraining.com/static-contraction-exercise-examples-and-some-cheats/

  22. Phil at #

    Hi Richard,
    I’m sure Pete will get back to you and answer the first question. If I may I’d like to comment on your second question. As for training the non-injured/recovering body parts, as a fellow student of SCT, I know where your enthusiasm comes from. For what it’s worth my opinion is 2 months off won’t hurt your lifelong growth with SCT, and it will channel all your recovery systems into mending your right knee. As good as SCT is, it will put a load on your recovery systems which could be optimally used for your knee recovery. Maybe Pete has a different opinion, I would wait for his.
    All the best,
    Phil (47 yrs old, SCT for 8 years)

  23. Phil at #

    Thanks Craig, I think I’m getting what you’re saying.
    My own athletic background is martial arts so I appreciate what you are saying about balance and coordination.
    I agree the leg press machine limits the engagement of the muscles that assist in balancing a very heavy weight to one plane of motion, the y-z plane. You can do SCT with a leg press machine but the leg press machine isn’t SCT. SCT is about holding a weight statically, which depending on the equipment, maximally involves muscles to stabilise the weight. I know, that’s confusing. Please allow me to share an example from my own training. I do a SCT CHEST press with free weights i.e. barbell and discs in a squat frame. The bench is not as wide as my back so there is possibility for free movement in the x, y and z planes. I have to contract my stomach muscles and lower body during the exercise, that’s the only way to lift the weight. In my experience SCT with maximum free weights necessitates whole body balance and coordination, not so with machines.
    All the best,
    Phil

  24. Rob at #

    Hi Craig,

    I am not training to represent my country at sport,however, at close to 50 years old SCT does more than let me lift heavy weight.SCT has all but reduced the pain in my shot knees from running 45-50 mins a night when I did play competive sport.It had an almost immediate effect, then I realized what was happening.I walk to the gym now, do my work out, walk home.My mother is visiting us here in OZ from NZ at present and cannot believe how well I look.I have been in and out of gyms for 20-30 years, trained sports people, SCT for me.No more shoulder tears, no more injuiries plus I can “see” and feel the results.I have a really good reason to lift heavy weight.I will return to coaching in the next couple of years, SCT is going to feature heavily in the programme.For me sitting back and reading the info that comes in the from the SCT site is a another way good way to excercise my brain.I used to question SCT until I changed and saw the results.

  25. Recovery is your #1 concern at this point. Surgery is like 5 workouts, it takes a long time to recover fully in terms of peak strength. Just relax and eat well. When you return to the gym start where you can and build from there. Most of your lifts will still be equal to your last effort. (Muscle takes a long time do disappear off the body.) Also, as soon as you have a couple of lifts that don’t improve it’s a flag that means you need more rest between workouts. Don’t forget that many people only do one or two SCT workouts a month.

  26. Richard at #

    Thanks Phil, Thanks Pete. Will do. It is hard not to do anything. But I will wait until my knee is fully recovered. I guess it is better to be safe than sorry. Might as well put my gym clothes away until after May.
    Thanks guys for the getting back to me. TTYL.
    Richard

  27. Donnie Hunt at #

    If one was to use a machine or setup that prevented you from reaching the end of the exercise movement, could this theoretically allow you to contract with greater intensity than having to keep yourself from fully locking out or reaching the point where no more movement is possible? This thinking stems from some other people but it really got me thinking.

  28. Donnie Hunt at #

    This is in addition to my last post here. My thinking is that if you are contracting against an immovable object, not being in a fully locked out postion or just shy of where no more movement is possible, you would be able to put all your focus into contracting as hard as you can and not have to consciously keep your self in this position. If you were to use plate loaded equipment like this you of course wouldn’t know how much force you are actually producing. You would only know you are using at least the amount of the load. It just seems to me that by doing this you could up the intensity even higher. Your focus will be solely on contracting as hard as you can. You don’t have to “hold back” to maintain the position, you are “forced” to. Again, this idea is not my own.

  29. You are right though….. 🙂

  30. That is one of the purposes of having an SCT machine. Virtually unlimited resistance always in a safe configuration. Zero danger of weights falling (there aren’t any) or of locking out. But you’re only at the tip of the iceberg for what it means to have such a machine – the universe expands. Many wonderful things happen. Stay tuned.

  31. Donnie Hunt at #

    Definately looking forward to see what you guys have in the works! 🙂 I do have access to a pretty good variety of machines. So I can put SCT to practice just maybe not quite to the level I would like to currently.

  32. Donnie Hunt at #

    Any thoughts or specific recommendations on training the neck muscles? Or would the same protocol apply?

  33. Same protocols. Make sure your neck muscles supply the force, don’t apply the load to your neck and let the load apply it’s own force. So don’t attach hanging weights. Put a weight at rest and see if your neck muscles – unassisted – can lift the weight an inch. And don’t use your arms to pull on your head to create resistance. Injuries occur when people guess what their neck can withstand then place that demand on the muscles – if the guess wrong they can get one of the most serious injuries a human can have.

  34. Phil at #

    Hi Nick,
    I’m a fellow SCT student, having trained 8yrs SCT and 22yrs less effective training. I recommend you look at the link Pete has provided.
    I’d like to sympathise with you on gym equipment suitable for SCT. Most gyms local to me and not so local, including so called “Centres of Excellence” and Olympic standard gyms have equipment which have limits that I have to work around or can’t use at all. For example, the 45 deg leg press machine I use, has a maximum load of 600kg. That means all the 25kg discs in our gym, which made me a little unpopular! Like many SCT trainees, I have surpassed 600kg, so I now train single legged, currently using 370kg each leg. It’s a little frustrating that mainstream gyms don’t facilitate for an obviously effective and safe training method.
    In order to make some suggestions, would you please tell me what exercises are you specifically talking about, that you are limited by the weight stack?
    All the best,
    Phil

  35. Phil at #

    Hi Donnie,
    I think the answer is yes. That would be a SCT machine, which is not available currently. One way I think is pushing/pulling against an immovable object and being able to measure the force applied. I don’t know how you’re suggestion to do it, but maybe you have an engineering background. Get a patent first before telling people!
    For me, ideally, the machine would be portable and have an upper range of measurement far beyond what trainees currently can achieve with free weights/machines available today.
    Phil

  36. Donnie Hunt at #

    Hi Phil,

    I do not have an engineering background. I do not remember for sure who or how I first started thinking about this topic. I think the first time I ever thought of doing anything other that a so called full range of motion was from “Power Factor Training” or from reading a Stuart McRobert article. I don’t really know anyone personally that even cares about this stuff. It’s cool being able to commicate with others on a website like this one.

    Donnie

  37. Phil at #

    Hi Donnie,

    It is great to hear what other people do with their training, this is a great website for that. I’ve not tried PFT but I hear people get the results they’re looking for from it so I think that’s great.

    All the best with your training,
    Phil

  38. Ryan at #

    Hey guys,

    Great website! Lots of interesting information here. After reading alot of them It made me think about a couple of things.

    Using a small range of motion in your strongest range vs. a static contraction in your strongest range. Is the small range of motion for people that simply like a closer to conventional method? Or is there some benefit to one over the other. To me it seems like the static hold would be superior in that you are sustaining the effort. There is no disengaging or eccentric movement which would require less effort. It’s another matter if I’m consciously trying to sustain a contraction but the level of resistance is so high that it forces me to lower. I’ve never worked at this level of intensity.

    Many talk about the “micro trauma” or the lengthening and shortening that takes place during conventional exercises as a factor in growth/strength stimulation. Do you guys see any validity to these things?

  39. Ryan at #

    I guess the better question is does this “microtrauma” simply do more damage to the muscle and then of course require a longer recovery period? Is it kinda like getting a suntan but then staying in the sun longer and getting burned? I don’t know much about the physiology of muscles. My thinking is does anything happen during muscle lengthening and shortening against resistance that is productive for growth stimulation that doesn’t happen during a static contraction?

  40. Ryan, to answer your question, no, nothing happens during muscle legthening and shortening that doesn’t happen during a static contraction that is productive for growth stimulation. Its all about activating muscle fibers and no workout recruits more of the type 2 fibers that result in muscle growth than static contraction does. SCT allows for a more fully activated muscle and hence the best stimulus for muscle growth.

  41. Phil at #

    Ryan,
    What Greg says makes sense. A lot of people seem to confuse temporary muscle size with muscle growth. What I mean by that is the muscle gets what is commonly called “the pump” after consecutive stretching and contracting while supporting a weight or resistance. In 7 years of SCT I’ve never experienced “the pump” that I got with sets and reps. I’m not a competitive bodybuilder, where size is important, so I personally don’t see the value in localised swelling which makes muscles bigger for a few painful days only to need topping up with the next workout. I personally want measurable strength gains, so SCT is obviously the best choice for someone like me. I’m all for everyone to make their own choices, I just think it’s so important that people know what they want and what works to get it.
    All the best with your training,
    Phil

  42. Ryan Smithson at #

    Hi Phil,

    I ‘m right there with ya, bud! To each their own, but why would anyone wanna get bigger without getting stronger?? I don’t wanna “appear” strong but not actually be strong.

  43. Phil at #

    Hi Ryan,

    I have to say I have huge respect for the people who train for bodybuilding competitions, whose job it is to “look” strong. It is at a high cost to their health sometimes though, depending on drugs, training techniques etc. but it’s their choice and I respect that. Live and let live.

    All the best for your training bud!

  44. John at #

    Pete,
    I recently picked up “Power Factor Training” and knew that I had stumbled onto something huge.. I read the whole thing in about a day and a half! I am a construction worker and when people talk to me about lifting I always tell them.. Strength helps to do the job.. But size only helps you get along with the guys you work with! Lol! Seriously tho.. I’m also a fighter and always looking for ways to improve performance and gain an edge. Ive been extremely excited about the strength gains I been making with PFT, but weight class considerations are always a concern.. I don’t know what kind of mass to expect from partials or SCT relative to pure strength gains.. Any advice is welcome..

  45. Craig at #

    Hi again Pete,
    Your spot on with your article. I always say that if you are able to lift a weight, irrespective of how heavy it is,you cannot achieve maximum contraction.The only way to achieve complete maximum contraction is against an immovable structure.

  46. Yes, but you need a way to measure how hard your are pushing or pulling on the immovable structure. Thus the need for a good SCT device.

  47. Lori at #

    I am a 59 year old female who has been doing SC for several months. My strength and endurance are much improved. I can now work in the garden shoveling, pruning, moving potted plants, whatever for hours on end. A neighbor asked recently if I was sore after moving a few yards of sand one day. I said, actually no. I am never sore any more for routine activities.
    This, for me, is a wonderful and safe program.
    Thanks for working this out. It is not just for “size” but function! and Fun!

  48. Thanks, Lori. Women usually love SCT and, unlike men, never seem to be preoccupied with size. I can’t imagine why. Congratulations on your functional success and improvement of the quality of your life. Bravo.

  49. Hello from Denmark .All what You write sounds good , but the problem with Isometric workouts is 1. Where can I train Your way ? 2. Do they have enough plates ( kg´s ) ? 3. Is there any other Bodybuilders ,like me ,who train Your way ? The bedst thing was to take a bodybuilder( not just any other person , who normaly not train with weights) and make him better and put the hole thing together in a book with pictures.

  50. In general, bodybuilders don’t like SCT because it involves minimal training. When the numbers prove they should not train for weeks they don’t want to hear it. Bodybuilders want to train 5 days a week no matter what. It’s their hobby.

    Also, any decent gym has the equipment you need.

  51. Pete & Friends,
    I just finished your 30 day quick start program. Every time I went to the gym I doubted I’d written down the right numbers from the week before. I started as a 55-year-old gym puppy. Just one sequence for instance. I started at 180 for the shrug, bought the hooks you recommended and went to 230, 260, then 290. In 26 days!

    One practical result: After avoiding a clean-up chore for a month, I filled a five gallon pail in a deep sink, and just about threw it against the ceiling when I used both arms to lift. Stunned, I one-handed it out and stood there like a fool heisting it in and out in amazement. That’s how lame I was before SCT.

    I’d like your opinion about my heart workout. It produces VO2 max results like SCT does for strength. Al Sears’ PACE program (Progressively Accelerating Cardio-Pulminary Exercise). It’s a variation on interval training, and jives with your understanding of the critical importance of recovery.

    Three-four times a week you do exertion heats (running, jumping, etc., or any gym machine) until you’re reached an oxygen debt (out of breath), but between heats you rest until you’ve fully recovered the oxygen debt. No specific times for heats or rests–though exertion heats are typically 30-120 seconds–you just trust your perception. To a total of 20 minutes or so total workout time. It has had a stunning effect on my heart rate and endurance for useful tasks and games. AND, anyone can do it safely, since you start with only one heat the first time and build up to a sensible max of say 6 or 8 reps.

    Thanks a million for getting this product out there!
    Kevin Mattson

  52. Hi Kevin! Thanks for the kind words. Many SCT trainees have told me they use the PACE system or a modification of it for cardio. I think brief/intense cardio is the way of the future.

  53. Hello again, thank You for the answer. Since july I have trained 5 days a week with very good gains , before that I trained a Danish HIT program and the last 12 weeks ,was only training ones a week . I got a lot stronger but not bigger. I think it is very good to change the program sometimes.With Frendly Regards Bent Nissen , Denmark

  54. Rene Kittelsen at #

    Hello Greg and Pete

    As I’ve read some articles about isometric strenghttraining, I wonder why you haven’t mentioned your variation in some important way?

    Cause after reading a article about isometric training, it refers only to your strongest (lock-out) position, and that’s probably why so many bodybuilders and people in general are skeptic to SCT, or this site in particular.

    I haven’t read all of the content on your homepage yet, but as far I haven’t seen it where it is stated clearly how SCT differs from ordinary isometric training.

  55. Studies – such as they are – that test static contraction sometimes lock out (which I say to avoid!) and they never use the absolute maximum weight a person can hold for 5 seconds or less. They use wimpy weights and hold them for a long time. That doesn’t work very well. It works somewhat, but not nearly as well as SCT.

  56. Pete I was going to buy your book and use this system but I read some negative reviews where people said their strength increased in the strongest position but did not increase in the full range of motion. One even claimed to have torn his knee ligament. What do you think these people were doing wrong? If you can clear this up I would love to buy the book and try this system. I know isometrics at different angles carries over to the the full ROM but I am skeptical about only holding it in the strongest position. Although I must admit gymnasts hold themselves in the strongest position only and end up freakishly strong.

  57. 1. You have to decide how important weak-range power is to you. If you gained 15 lbs of new muscle but got zero increase in weak-range power, is that a problem for you? If you are a competitive powerlifter it certainly would be. (In which case you need to deliberately train in your weak range and can use static holds to good effect.) People who need maximum weak-range power need to train for that. But who needs that? Outside of competitive lifting, who ever needs or uses maximum weak-range power? Would it even be wise to do so?

    2. One guy injured his knee? I can see that happening when 200,000+ people have trained my way. Lifting weight carries some risk. But lifting in the strongest, safest range of motion makes more sense than deliberately lifting in your weakest, most vulnerable range. All my exercises are done in situations where you only move the weight 1-3 inches and it can move no further. I don’t know any safer way to train. A guy doing yoga with zero weight can injure his knee ligaments. Again, I don’t think any method can reduce the risk to zero.

  58. Rene at #

    I got stronger in my weakest range of motion, example benchpress.

    I started out with SCT 5 secs, and for the fun of it warmed up and performed a ROM benchpress to see where I was, and I worked up to 80 kg MAX. So now I had a measurement, so then I did SCT for about 6 weeks, and got to do Workout A the third time (which involves benchpress), so then I did a ROM benchpress to see if I got any stronger in my weakest range, and I sure did, I worked up to 90kg MAX! For a guy who ONLY trained 5 sec holds in strongest range of motion, I went up 10 kg in my weakest range in that time period.

    I was pretty convinced after that, but this is me and may vary for others, but you will not find out before you have tried it.

    To do the exercises right, you need to warm up and do the exercises in the range explained and find the position you feel the strongest in that range (5 to 7 centimeters from your max range).

    This is easy if you have experience, but for a novice you need to use lighter weights to find the your range in each exercise, which you will do every time you warm up in each exercise, and find your range. It`s in the 5 to 7 centimeters from MAX range, so you will find it if you just do it 🙂

    Good luck!

  59. Thanks for the answer. And you are right. Only one person got injured as opposed to so many who use traditional methods! I know for a fact static contractions increase strength more rapidly than traditional methods. I tried a full range bench press with 55 kg and couldn’t do it because I would get stuck at midway so I trained with static contraction for a go for one day. Yes just one day and the next day I was able to do a one rep Max of 59 Kg. What you say makes sense. I think I will be getting your book soon! Thanks for the reply!!

  60. Mark Winchester Sr. at #

    ” I often wonder how different gyms would be if isometric workouts were the first to establish themselves one hundred years ago. How could anyone come along and sell what is today conventional training? Imagine walking into a gym where everyone was doing isometric workouts in their strongest and safest range of motion and then telling them to try a “new” method: “Lift lighter weights but in a more injury-prone range of motion! That will reduce the intensity, plus increase the risk of injury, plus allow you to train more often. What’s not to love? Less efficient. Less effective. More dangerous. Oh, and you’ll only need a quarter of the weight stack you need now so you can use equipment made by Fisher Price.” We live in a strange world.”

    ^ Those are probably the wisest words I’ve ever read re: strength training. My only difference is what if the 2-3 in ROM had been allowed to proliferate. Trapezius which stick up 4 inches above the shoulders would be the ideal not synthol injected biceps whch look about as real as Joan Rivers martian face. The biggest improvement over te status wuo would be the health increases. Chiropractors waiting rooms would be as empty as a Van Halen concert. Hamstrings which bow out further than the gutes would be common. Not patella tendonitis from too many Platz fantasy ATF squat sessions.

    The Health-Lift done the same as it was in 1886 revolutionized w/ PFT simple technology has the power to not only make every single piece of over-designed, over-priced, under loaded exercise equipment totally obsolete but stimulate a such a reversal of medical attitudes on strength training the likes of which the world has never seen. All due to scientifically lifting a heavy weight only 3 inches from ttal lockout as infrequently as 6 times a year for as little as :45 seconds total workout time.

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