If I told you that you could build more muscle without actually moving you could possibly think I’m either crazy, trying to joke with you, or caught up in another crazy fad that doesn’t work (or all of the above!)
But, it’s true and I’ll explain how it can be done easy and effectively.
As you keep reading I’m sure that some of the exercises are already familiar to you but maybe you just didn’t realize the full benefits of what you’re doing!
Static or isometric holds are how it’s done. This is done by forcing the muscle to work while it is maximally contracted, by holding at that contraction point for a period of time to cause an overload of the muscle. The difference between this type of stimulus exercise and using a Full Range of Motion (ROM) is that when using ROM you are limited to your weakest point, meaning you can only lift or do as many reps as your weakest muscle part will allow- think pull ups!
I’m not saying you should do one or the other, I am simply saying there are many different ways you can keep changing up your routine to create muscle stimulus.
The huge benefits of static and isometric training are many. For one, and maybe the most important benefit is the fact it can be done with successful results by complete beginners to advanced athletes. As with beginners, the technique to perform certain exercises and movements may not be up to par and could be cause for injury, working on isometric and static exercises to learn how to use this high level of tension is the perfect starting point.
Isometric training also helps build strength at a particular point in your ROM, so if you want to target a specific point in an exercise that lets you down on the full movement you can isolate that to improve your weak spot and therefore make the ROM movement more complete.
Muscular endurance and strength is also a benefit of static training. While static training puts stress on your CNS (central nervous system) quite quickly it causes your muscles to fatigue faster than if you were performing ROM exercises where there are slight breaks at certain points of the movement. Its ability to increase strength is based on the fact that every muscle fibre needs to be engaged for the entire time during the hold and static movement.
I highly recommend incorporating some of this training into your current fitness regime. If you are wanting to give this style of training here are some of my favourites;
Plank hold: A well-known core exercise I’m sure you have all done or at least seen in action! This exercise not only works the core but the shoulders, chest and leg muscles too. Start off by doing 4-5 sets of 30 secs without breaking form and build your way up. You can see my Youtube clip of this here
Wall sit: A great leg burner! With your back against a wall, lower your hips until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Position your feet so your calves are parallel to the wall behind you. Knees should be bent at 90 degrees. Place your hands on your hips or hold your arms out in front of you. Hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds. Repeat 4-5 times and build up the amount of time and sets you can do.
You can see my Youtube clip of this here
Pull up hold: This is done by getting into a pull-up position, pulling yourself up so your chin is above the bar and then holding this position for a period of time. This will work your whole back and arms and really test your mental strength as your whole body starts to shake with fatigue. Again, build up and start by holding for 5-10 sec with 4-5 sets gradually increasing both as you find your body getting stronger. You can see my Youtube clip of this here
Push up hold: Just as the pull-up hold was held at a contracting point in the movement so is the push-up hold. As the name suggests, Start in a normal push-up position and lower yourself with chest towards the ground as you would any normal push up. Now, instead of pushing yourself immediately back up, hold and pause as your chest is just off the ground! Start with 5-10 secs and build your way up with sets and reps. You can see my Youtube clip of this here
Chin up hold: Very similar to pull up hold but will put slightly more emphasis on the biceps. I have found that this type of hold is harder if you hold your forehead to the bar, rather than chin above it, as is the case with the pull-up. The reason being is that it will keep your arms at more of a 90-degree angle which will isolate your biceps more and really make them burn! You can see my Youtube clip of this here
Wall assisted handstand hold: Again, as the name suggests you’re going to get into a handstand position with support from a wall or even a friend. Holding your body weight upside to fight gravity and build those shoulder muscles. Your core and glutes will also get a workout here and you push up through your arms and torso to lengthen your entire body. You can see my Youtube clip of this here
There you have it. Six great exercises you can do that will help build muscle, strength, and endurance all without you having to really move! These exercises will also help with your ROM and full variation of each exercise. If you incorporate these into your training I can promise you, you will start to see major improvements across your whole program!
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