Use Static Contraction and stop doing baby curls.
Use Static Contraction and stop doing baby curls.

When I saw this photo I had to buy it. It’s a great mnemonic to help people remember that when they do conventional strength training they are lifting a fraction of what they could be lifting. They’re doing baby curls, baby bench presses, etc.

The whole point of going to a gym and lifting weights is to deliver an artificial load for your muscles to resist. The purpose of that load is to quickly fatigue your muscles to the point of ‘failure’ which could also be called depletion or exhaustion. So you could lift a 5 lb dumbbell or a 15 lb or a 50 lb dumbbell. Which one do you think would completely fatigue your muscle faster? It’s quite obvious isn’t it? Why do 100 reps with 1 lb to reach total fatigue if one rep with 100 lbs will do the same thing in less time?

This whole premise gets taken farther when you limit your range of motion to only the strongest and safest range. Then you can lift, perhaps, 150 or 200 lbs. And I’m not talking about a hypothesis here. Many thousands of people have been lifting this way using Static Contraction training and you can read their comments and testimonials on this blog. Lifting a heavier weight works – even when the range of motion is limited. After learning the experiences of thousands of trainees it appears that the range of motion used when trying to build muscle has an importance somewhere between very little and none. That’s part of the reason why isometric exercises have been used for centuries. They work.

This is where people get hung up on how much transference there is to full range strength after doing Static Contraction isometric workouts. My rather flip answer is often, ‘Who cares?’ Outside of powerlifting and Olympic lifting who needs maximum power in his or her weak range? The reason for 99.9% of people to lift weights is to get the well-proven benefits of resistance training, namely;  lower blood pressure, increased lean mass, increased fat burning, increased natural HGH and testosterone levels, increased libido, increased HDL ‘good’ cholesterol, improved cardiac function, lower bodyfat, greater bone density, stronger tendons, ligaments and joints, increased energy, more toned appearance and an increased sense of well-being. If you got all of that but your weak range strength improved by zero percent would you consider it a failure? I’m guessing no. But I can’t tell you how many people get hung up on debating whether or not their weak range power will improve after doing Static Contraction. It’s as if they don’t care at all about those other health and quality of life factors from productive resistance training.

Static Contraction training is not intended for competitive powerlifter or Olympic weightlifting trainees. It’s intended for the other 99.9% of the population that wants the health benefits of resistance training with workouts that are as brief as possible and as infrequent as possible and that don’t injure them or deplete their energy unnecessarily. SCT delivers all of that in spades. But you have to give up the full range baby curls.

Sustainable Workout for a Lifetime
Sustainable Workout for a Lifetime

8 Comments.

  • tony

    Hi Pete how are you,As you may remember I have been doing SC training for around 4 or 5 years now and it works. I had a change of diet about 8 mths ago where basically I reduced the amount of bread that I ate and stopped eating anything sweet, Im was not fat or anything but my weight has reduced from 14 and a half stone to 13 stone even at my heaviest I had reached a point where I was struggling to beat my personal best lifts eg 500 lbs on bench press etc and now with the weight loss Im lucky to push about 430 lbs.Also I have not increased my shoulder press for about 2 years which I cant understand! I want to add more muscle and start beating my records again any advise please.

  • Hi Tony. It sounds like you lost a bit of muscle along with the fat. And you can’t starve yourself more muscle, you need to eat enough calories to enable the new muscle to grow. All the same SCT principles apply though – if you aren’t making progress from where you are now it almost certainly means you need more rest between workouts. As your numbers go up the muscle will come. Just make sure you’re getting enough calories to build it.

  • Paul Mendoza

    Is there still a static contraction machine available for home application?

  • There will be….. 🙂

  • Sam

    Ahhh this is the old dilemma….gaining size/strength while losing calories. One side of the coin says we need more calories, one says less. Some people say doing cardio and strength training is completely counter-intuitive. Greg or Pete…what do you think? I’m personally somebody who has been doing SCT for awhile, along with interval and low intensity cardio…and I’ve seen very nice increases in my lifts, but not too much in physique/size.

  • Sam, just like everyone else, I have my own opinion on this subject. What I don’t agree with is that you have to eat like a pig and “bulk up” only to slim down later when you’re trying to compete. Why? Because I DON’T WANT TO COMPETE!!!! What’s wrong with being 4% or less bodyfat year round? In order to do that, you’ll need to monitor your caloric intake. Eat too many calories, and the extra energy from those calories (afterall, a calorie is just a unit of energy) will have to be stored somewhere. Its a law of thermodynamics. You can NEVER get around it anywhere in this universe just like you can’t get around the law of gravity.

    Personally, I do my SCT training along with high intensity interval cardio training. I’ve found this method to be the best at building muscle, losing fat, and increasing my cardio fitness.

  • Hassan

    Hi Pete.

    I would like to know more about weight training and lowering of blood pressure.

  • Just google “strength training and resting blood pressure.”