The Road to Static ContractionMost readers on this blog are already using static contraction as their training method but I know there are some of you who are just observing.  You haven’t taken the leap of faith and started static contraction training yet. Well, why not? What’s the hold up? One way or another you will try static contraction training so why put it off and miss out?

I do believe that all roads lead to static contraction training. Let me explain why.

You may be very happy with your current strength training routine and that’s perfectly fine. If you’re getting the results you want, it would be silly for you to stop training the way you are and try something new.

However, there will come a time when you will stop getting the results that you want or circumstances in your life may change. Maybe you can devote 5 days and 5-10 hours a week now for gym time because you don’t have any other hobbies and spending time in the gym is pleasurable for you. Or you might not have any injuries and love to push your muscles to the brink. You could be a lifetime subscriber to Muscle & Fitness magazine and don’t believe in anything that isn’t endorsed by the bodybuilder of the moment. Who knows, there are lots of reasons and I’m not here to deter you.

What I will say is that circumstances in life will eventually change as they do for everyone. Suddenly you find yourself busy with work, or a new girlfriend or a new hobby and spending 5 -10 hours a week working out isn’t as appealing.

Or maybe you injured yourself and you’ve been out of the gym for several weeks and the thought of going back to the same crazy workout that got you injured in the first place is not very attractive.

Maybe you’ve gotten older and your body just doesn’t like all the full range squats or bench presses anymore.  Every time you do a workout, you ache, and not in the good way, for days afterwards. At that point I’d say your body is trying to tell you something.

We, as humans, are constantly evolving, always becoming more and more efficient as technology has allowed us.  Instead of sending letters, we send emails or texts now. Instead of riding across the country on horseback, we get on a plane and fly across. Instead of going down to the bank and withdrawing money from our bank accounts every time we want to pay for something, we use our credit cards.

Why spend more time and energy to do something when you can get the same result more efficiently?

In this day and age, we not only want our cake, we want to eat it too. We want the same or better results, but we don’t want to spend all that time.

This is exactly what static contraction provides for its trainees. The workout is an ultra brief but ultra intense workout that provides the muscles with the stimulus they need for muscle growth and strength increases. It cuts workout times from hours to minutes. It allows the trainees to spend less time training and more time doing other things. It is the most efficient training system ever developed. And because we as humans always evolve towards efficiency, all training roads will eventually lead to static contraction. It’s the evolution of efficiency that puts static contraction at the end of the road.

So for those of you who haven’t tried it, what are you waiting for? Are you going to be part of the evolution of strength training now or will you wait until some body builder from Muscle & Fitness endorses it for you?

For those of you who know already know how great and effective the workout is, keep on preaching the good word to all those you know. You are on the leading edge of the evolution in strength training!

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26 Comments.

  • Adriaan Jordaan

    Dear Sir
    Can we have some more information on the Digital S C Apparatus and even have exercise demonstrations of these?
    Thank you and kind regards,
    Adriaan Jordaan.

  • Reece

    I enjoy the idea of STC very much. But when me and a good friend of mine tried it out, it just seemed impractical. We’re both average sized teenagers, 67kg, 5’9″, and when we loaded 300kg (just testing out which weight was best) onto the leg press machine and didn’t even do a single full range rep, people actually laughed at us. We got strange looks for every other exercise we did too.

    Can you suggest some ways to make these excercises easier to perform or some way where people won’t look at me like I’m a fool?

  • Hi Reece. First of all you never want to make an exercise “easier” as the point of lifting weights is that they create an artificially high load that makes your brain think you need to build more muscle in order to cope with your physical stress. That’s why gyms are full of heavy weights – you need them. The more muscle you want to build the heavier the weights need to be. I understand you are young and don’t like being different from the other people in the gym, but life is better when you think for yourself and follow your own goals and desires instead of being pushed in a different direction by strangers. The best advice I can give you is to either ignore them (if you can) or explain to them what you are doing. Just saying “I know this might look strange but I’m testing to see if leg pressing 400 kilos 10 cm does more for my muscle growth than pressing 100 kilos 40 cm.) My guess is they’ll stop laughing and wonder if you have a point.

  • Scott

    Maybe not exactly on topic, but after 6 months on this program I’m a believer. I have taken it very cautiously (been injured before) but at 47 I’m now loading 8 45-lb plates on the bar for dead lifts and squats and will have to buy another set in a couple months. (I workout at home with my own rack.)

    Here’s the final “convincer,” which happened recently.

    I’m very familiar with the symptoms of over-training, since I’ve experienced them so often in my past workout programs. I just couldn’t believe that I could possibly need to workout less than once a week…every other week for a particular muscle group when following A and B workouts.

    So even though your program says to stretch it out…even though my gains were slipping a bit…even though I was starting to feel wiped out for more days after each session…I was afraid of losing ground it I didn’t workout every week. After all, I barely even get sore after a session.

    Until last month, when the familiar feeling starting to come over me. 4 and 5 days after the workout and I was dragging around, unable to control my appetite (always a sure sign for me), unable to sleep well. Then, just when I started to feel OK…sore throat, cold symptoms and no desire to exercise at all.

    That did it. I’m now doing a single workout every other week…a full 4 weeks between any particular muscle group. And of course, just as you indicated, there is no backsliding on strength. The gains have picked up again, I recover quickly, and I feel like working out again.

    During that week without a workout, I have now been able to add a few metabolic conditioning sessions (Tabata intervals) to enhance my cardiovascular fitness and still have time to recover from those. But during the workout week, I do nothing but the SCT session because I know I’ll need the energy due to its intensity.

    Anyway, I love it. Two workouts a month, no lower back injuries any more, solid gains. Costs me nothing now since I made the investment in fairly inexpensive iron at home.

    When I feel really, really solid in the program, I’m going to give the CNS (Central Nervous System) workout a go…but I know it will be even more intense…I’ve got the time to make sure I’m ready.

    Thanks for the workout.

    Scott W

  • Thanks for the kind words, Scott. You know, the part about getting a sore throat is so common – or a cold or flu. I hear it all the time, people say some training program was going great and they they “caught” a cold or flu and had to quit (often never to go back to it). And it happens over and over. Training has much more wear and tear than people realize and many programs literally make people sick. That’s a big payoff of static contraction training – it is the absolute minimum wear and tear and it is therefore SUSTAINABLE. And that’s how all goals are met, since we have to transform ourselves over time. Great stuff, and thanks again.

  • John Farrell

    Hi, Pete. I was wondering if I could obtain an actual book ,Train Smart, rather than the e-book version? Also, I was wondering what might be in the Train Smart version of SCT training, that might not have been in your previous book, Static Contraction Training. Which book would be more valuable in your opinion? Thank you for your time. John Farrell

  • Steve

    Hi Pete,
    I have been working out with weights for 49 years and I have been using static and power factor trainning since 2004. I have a question about muscle balance. I have always tried to keep muscles balanced around a joint, making sure to do opposite movements. Every time I do a push, I do a pull in the opposite directon. i can’t see where I am able to accomplish this with an opposite movement for the bench or the leg lift. I have tried to set up a bench so that I row under it (my low back simply can’t hold the weight that I can row), but the bench on my chest simply squishes the air out of me and I can’t do much.
    I know that the dead lift activates the hamstrings somewhat, but it simply doesn’t match the intensity that I am able to accomplish on the leg press for my quads. I’ve had to back off on my leg presses a bit because of knee pain that I’m pretty sure is coming from over developed quads and under developed hamstrings.
    Do you have any other suggestions for these two muscle groups? Will the new static machines overcome these imbalances.
    Thanks again for all of your insight,
    Steve

  • Steve

    Pete,
    I have another question. As a personal trainer who believes in your concepts, I have debates with other personal trainers frequently. The last debate (argument?) that I had was over the “best” exercises for each body part. I thought I remembered reading in one of your books that the muscles were hooked up to electronic patches (I’m sorry, I don’t remember what they are called) to see which exercises created the most stimulus on the muscles. I’ve looked through my material and can’t find it again. Maybe I was dreaming when I read it the first time.
    The other trainer thinks that you determined the stimulus simply by which exercises allow the most weight to be lifted, which skews the results toward the number of muscles working and favorable leverage. An example would be the bench press vs. a dumbbell chest fly.
    Can you help me find this info to prove my point or is my friend correct?

  • Hi John! I stopped doing printed books 10+ years ago. The e-books can contain audio, extra forms, links to resources and have other advantages. Plus they are instantly available worldwide. I don’t like the original SCT book very much. We chose photos poorly (guys likely on the juice) and I have refined the training a lot since then also. The e-book is better is all respects.

  • Steve, while it is good to have balance around a joint, you should not be so dogmatic about it. What that means is that you don’t have to do a pull exercise everytime you do a push exercise. As long as you don’t forget to do a pull exercise, you’ll be fine. This is mostly directed towards those guys in the gym who love doing bench presses because they want to see their pecs pop but don’t care much about doing lat pull downs because they don’t get the same gratification. Or another example is those who like to do their biceps but not their triceps. And don’t assume if you push xxx amount in a bench press that you have to do the same amount in the lat pull down to equal things out. Just train the agonist and antagonist hard and you will be fine.
    Speaking of legs, tell me one hamstring exercise that you can lift the same amount of weight as a quad exercise? If you’re thinking that doing leg curls and leg extensions will help balance things out, you’re wrong. Your quads will always be stronger.
    P.S. I don’t think your knee pain is coming from a joint imbalance. There are MANY other causes of knee pain which are probably more likely.

  • Steve, as a personal trainer myself, this is my favorite area to have “discussions” with other trainers. I call it Static Contraction Apologetics. Are these trainers you are having the discussions with the same ones that have their clients come in the gym 3 times a week for training? And they spend an hour each time with the client? And they feel that having their client do walking lunges while pushing 10 lb dumbbells over their head is actually doing that client some good?
    As a trainer here in LA I can honestly say that 90% of trainers really don’t have a clue what they are doing. While they may understand the mechanics of an exercise but they don’t really understand what’s going on inside the body as a response to that exercise. That’s the same as saying a surgeon telling you that he understands human anatomy but has never really performed a surgery. While he may his way around the body, that doesn’t mean he knows what to do with it. MOST trainers fall into this category. Don’t try to argue with them. They need their 3x a week clients. Basically what you’re trying to teach them is a paradigm shift and since they probably don’t understand what really goes on in the body anyway, there is no point.

  • Steve

    Thanks for the comments, Greg.
    I don’t expect my hamstrings to be as strong as my quads, but I do like to shoot for about 60% as strong. And no, I don’t do or advocate leg extensions or leg curls. While doing a 90 degree squat, the hamstrings, glutes and adductors help to stabilize and get out of the bottom position, and a full deadlift involves the hamstrings more at the bottom position than at the top. When I did full range exercises, it seemed that the muscles of the legs automatically were more in balance. Now that I train in the strong (and safer) range of leg presses and deadlifts, my hamstrings aren’t getting the same stimulus. I have done some back bridges with up to 480 pounds on a barbell across my hips, but I feel it is training my glutes more than the hamstrings, and it still isn’t 60% of what I am able to push on the leg press. I know that the leg press only gives a percentage of the weight that is loaded because of its angle, but I devised a lever lift that actually multiplies the weight by 4 times (I measured it with a hanging scale). My hip strap broke after lifting 1100 pounds and I haven’t been able to replace it yet.
    I know that the lat pull stimulates the lats and rhomboids, but it is a different angle and doesn’t help to pull the shoulders back like the rowing motion does. Most of us, who do heavy benches, need that rowing motion to prevent becoming hunched or round shouldered. I’m still trying to come up with a way to do static rows without crushing my chest.

  • Steve

    Thanks again, Greg,
    I agree, arguing with somebody who “knows it all” is a wast of time. I’m still curious though; did I really read that muscle stimulus was measured electronically, or did I just imagine it?
    Thanks,
    Steve

  • Jordan

    Hey Pete. I was just looking online and I found this article at: http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/powerfactor.htm

    Just wandering what you thought about it

    Thanks

  • He’s mistaken by a mile. He creates a straw argument talking about the measurement of power then goes from there. We care about INTENSITY and that is what we measure. He’s disputing things I never said or wrote. And I always want to ask these guys, “OK, so how do YOU measure the intensity of each exercise every time you perform that exercise?” They don’t. They train blind and measurement scares the crap out of them becasue it shines a light on their BS exercise advice in the gym.

  • Ryan Smithson

    Pete and Greg,

    Great site guys! Really alot to think about. Something that keeps coming to me is the fact that “lifting weights” is something most people to be healthier or stronger. The fact that you guys advocate only lifting in the strongest safest range I think is very, very important. I was just watching a video done by another trainer, showing the best way to do a close to full range pullup. I’ve read about and heard of guys tearing their pecs from working out. It’s interesting to me that when we lift heavy things in everyday that we don’t do it like we do many conventional strength training exercises….

  • Ryan Smithson

    This is in addition to my last post.

    The point I’m trying to address is, is it healthy for the muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones, joints, etc., to try to make the body lift something heavy and trying to NOT involve muscles that seem to want to come into play? Maybe with strongest range statics and partials this doesn’t happen?? Hope this makes sense.

  • Ryan Smithson

    Hey guys,

    I think I’m getting off track here with these last two comments. The goal is too load the body in the safest positions. This in turn allows the muscles to contract most efficiently and more of the muscle to be activated (nociception). Of course the greater the amount of resistance the greater the intensity. Am I following?

  • Ryan, the strongest range IS really important because if you think about it, where do people usually injure themselves when they are doing an exercise? In their strongest range or at their weakest point? Its always at the weakest point.

  • Yes, you are following just right. Load up the muscle, keep it in its strongest range and you will activate the greatest amount of muscle fibers and prevent injury.

  • Adriaan Jordaan

    I am interested to replace my present gym’s apparatus and weights with Static Contraction Apparatus. Can I build this myself? Are there any plans available for this apparatus? Please be of assistance.
    Thank you and kind regards,
    Adriaan Jordaan

  • There are no plans available. It’s actually quite technically complicated to get accurate SCT measurements from machines that have no movement. If you really want to home brew something I’d take a look at the bathroom scales sold at places like WalMart that are cheap but measure 400 lbs. Perhaps two of those could be disassembled and used to measure how hard the sides of a bar are pressing against and immovable barrier. Let us know if you have some success.

  • Adriaan, there are plans for a commercial version of the SCT machine. It is very complex and in depth and highly doubt it could be built without some serious resources behind it. But if you stay tuned to this site, we will be giving you guys the updates first when they happen. Thanks for your interest.

  • Keith

    I have been doing the Power Factor Workout now for 5 weeks, doing each session one time each week. It took me 3-4 workouts to “dial in” my weights and each workout has seen the numbers increase through adding weight and setting a goal of how many reps it would take to better my PF or PI number from the previous week.

    I have noticed(and pretty much expected) that the number increases have been “slower”. In other words, the intensity has increased but not as much as the first few.

    My question is, what would be best to keep the numbers increasing? I know that I need to extend time between workouts soon, probably go to every 2 weeks and even more eventually. I expect that the additional rest would help keep strength up. Am I right?

    Once I extend time, do I keep adding weight and reps? If so, what do you suggest, if anything?

  • Keith, as with all training, the initial response the body has to a workout is a neural adaptation. That takes place over the first few weeks of your workout. The great gains in strength you’ve seen in your first few workouts have been due to your nervous system adapting to the loads you’ve placed on it. From here on, any gains you see will be due to muscle fibers growing as an adaptation to the weight they’re subjected to. Muscle growth is a slower process and hence your gains will be slower. The good news is that you’re on the right track.