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.
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.