Thread: Isometric (overcoming) Training
3/27/2012 2:23pm, #1
- Join Date
- Mar 2012
Isometric (overcoming) Training
I have always been under the impression that Isometric exercises result in an increase in strength whilst giving little increase in mass. However personally I gave them little interest as compared to a free weights preogramme it is very difficult to measure your progress.
That being said, if this is the case then Isometric exercises would be key for combat sports, allowing fighters to reach the maximal strength for thier weight.
Even so, Prior to my time training in China I hadnt really seen Isometric exercises forming a major part of any MA training I have seen or been involved in.
Anyone here invested much time in Isometric training, if so what kind of results did you get?
3/27/2012 2:59pm, #2
- Join Date
- Sep 2006
Isometric exercises are any exercises where you are holding the weight/resistance in a particular position. The usual line on isometrics is this: they give you strength around the angle your doing isometric exercises at, but they're not really useful for building appreciable strength or strength through the full range of motion. They are used in the initial phases of PT and for athletes looking to build strength at a particular joint angle, such as a powerlifter at a sticking point.
Short answer: they suck except for specialized tasks.
If you want strength without mass: watch your diet and do low reps with very high weight and low rep explosive work.
(On a theoretically level you're trying to hit your high threshold motor unit and encourage myofibrilar, not sarcoplasmic, hypertrophy).
Last edited by Res Judicata; 3/27/2012 3:02pm at .
3/27/2012 4:02pm, #3
Res has pretty much hit the nail right on the head there. Isometric exercises have a maximum strength carryover of about 15° in each direction, which is less than saying it makes it seem. They're not bullshit, they work, but they only work for very specific ranges of motion.
I personally use isometric exercises with my clients primarily when working on postural and alignment issues. Although, there are some beneficial uses for athletes also when doing some isometric core exercises.
All that said, I can think of a few instances where isometrics wouldn't be terrible for a fighter. The first that comes to mind is for the lower back, and the posterior chain in general. There's a lot of positioning work and posturing up, especially in the ground game. Another that comes directly to mind is fighting off an armbar. Isometric exercises could be used to improve strength at specific points in the elbow. And that could expand to a number of other submissions.
Though now that I think about it, most of these situations I can think of have to do with grappling. I can't, off the top of my head, think of a good reason for a striker to do them–with the exception of a few basic core conditioning exercises.
Here's the basic rule of thumb in ALL physical training. You get what you train for, both in your MA classes, and in the weight room:
If you're training to move; your weights should move.
If you're training to stand still; your weights should stand still
3/27/2012 4:20pm, #4
wall siting is fun.
also, I have a general rule to always practice isometrics against someone who has me in the mount, I basically try to push them off of me as hard as I can with both arms. I usually get arm barred but it's a great workout up until then."Judo is a study of techniques with which you may kill if you wish to kill, injure if you wish to injure, subdue if you wish to subdue, and, when attacked, defend yourself" - Jigoro Kano (1889)
***Was this quote "taken out of context"?***
"The judoist has no time to allow himself a margin for error, especially in a situation upon which his or another person's very life depends...."
~ The Secret of Judo (Jiichi Watanabe & Lindy Avakian), p.19
"Hope is not a method... nor is enthusiasm."
~ Brigadier General Gordon Toney
3/27/2012 5:50pm, #5
- Join Date
- Mar 2011
The +/- 15 degree strength increase has been my experience so far with isometrics. I have used them a lot to overcome plateaus and in particular sticking points for certain exercises. The big selling point that isometric only trainers make is that you get maximal tension compared with a weighted exercise where at certain points you lose some tension. Some also argue that the strength increase carries over the full range of motion. A lot of old time strongmen and respected trainers today incorporate them into the workouts, but I am doubtful about just using them and excluding everything else. At some point I may do a 6-8 week experiment of using isometrics only to see the results.
Go to the Sandow site to get some good free info on isometrics.
3/27/2012 6:15pm, #6
Isometrics are a tool, like anything else. They're not bullshit, they do work effectively for specific objectives. But like any other tool, they don't do everything. The key is using them where they're needed, and using other tools where they're needed.
There's no such thing as a magic technique or even a best technique. Everything in its proper place.
3/27/2012 9:53pm, #7
I do a lot of isometric/dynamic tension exercises in Hung ga.
They are (to use some clear language) essentially different kinds of static stretches and endurance squats that move reposition weight onto specific muscles (shoulders, quadriceps, triceps etc) without equipment. Results I've seen include greatly increased leg/shoulder strength, muscle endurance, and this applies to things like sprawling, maintaining balance under resistant force, etc.
It won't build huge biceps, but it definitely seems to help joint strength.
Isos don't "Suck", but you should know what you're doing and do them (imho) with a licensed trainer of some sort....and you should not be doing isos alone....they aren't a COMPLETE method....strength training should include both isotonic and isometric. As you age and you can no longer do intense isotonic strength training, isometric becomes much more useful. This is why old people love certain forms of qigong, they are able to maintain a certain level of fitness.
Side note: NASA did a great study of isometric vs isotonic strength training in zero gravity for astronauts, FYI, worth a late night Googling if you're curious. Very interested to see how things change when gravity is removed from the equation (hint: isometric becomes quite useless).
Last edited by W. Rabbit; 3/27/2012 10:00pm at .
3/27/2012 10:00pm, #8
Yeah, without significant gravity you can still produce force, which is what muscles do. But you no longer can produce force simply by overcoming gravity, which is what 99% of weight lifting is based around. Mass and acceleration become everything, and weight become nothing.
3/28/2012 12:36am, #9
3/28/2012 2:37am, #10
The very first thing that comes to mind when I think of astronauts, and general force production, is medicine ball training. Unlike standard weightlifting, which is almost always done in a pretty much vertical fashion (therefore, against gravity), medicine ball training involves using force in a variety of directions, sometimes even with gravity.
The reason it works can be summed by Newtonian mechanics. Mass and inertia are for all intents and purposes equivalent. Mass exists independent of gravity, and is a measure of inertia. Simply, how much force it takes to take an object and put it into motion. Weight, on the other hand, requires gravity. It is, in reality, a measure of how much force gravity exerts on an object. If you have a mass of 100kg, on Earth you will weigh approximately 220 lbs. If you went to the moon it would be less, and if you went to Jupiter it would be more. But no matter where you are–even in the deepest voids of space–your mass is 100kg. Never more, never less.
Muscles don't actually lift weight. They produce force. As most of us know, Force = mass x acceleration. Say you produce 100 newtons of force (a newton is equal to 1kg•m/s^2; or, the force required to accelerate 1kg of mass by 1 meter per second per second). You could accelerate an object with a mass of 1kg by 100m/s^2, or you could accelerate an object of mass 100kg by 1m/s^2, or anything in between. This is independent of gravity. (On Earth, an object of mass 1kg actually has a weight of 1 kilopond, which is 1kg x the force of gravity on Earth; which is constantly exerting a force toward the center of the planet).
Usually, our muscles exert the great bulk of their force simply keeping gravity from pulling us to the floor. They do this all day, every day. In space, it's not so. But in space, it's still possible to produce force. Thus why spacecraft need engines.
The real problem is that the force of gravity never stops, it's constant. So when you lift your 100kg off the ground, you need to continually exert force to meet or exceed to force that is produced by gravity. In space, once you've gotten that 100kg moving, there's no gravity to reverse it, so it keeps going. Therefore, the force is only produced for an instant, rather than continually. But the key point is this: Everything, even the measly photons and neutrinos, has some kind of mass. Thus, at least in theory, force can be produced ANYWHERE.
As I've been writing this–which, with my apologies, has become far far longer than I intended–it occurred to me that a far better idea than medicine balls would be simply springs. Their tension force would be virtually indistinguishable from gravity (Einstein's theory of relativity shows us that forces of equal magnitude are effectively identical). And could be easily, cheaply, and lightly used in space.
So yeah, I've been drinking tonight and I'm apparently far more verbose than usual. But can I get a round of applause for basic high school physics!?!?! YEAH!!
Edit: I did read that article you posted, Rabbit. Well, I at least read the first half with rapt attention. By the second half, I might have started getting bored enough that I kinda skimmed it.