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.