Isometrics are Iso tastic
I am a big fan of ridiculous titles as you can see. Today I just want to to touch a bit on the isometric function of exercise. Isometric essentially means "same length" so any movement where your muscle is flexed but the length of the muscle is not changing you are doing isometrics, think of holding the top of a pull up, or holding a handstand against a wall.. You can hold more weight isometrically than you can concentrically and even more so eccentrically. By doing iso holds in body weight work you can break through plateaus. Stuck at 25 push ups, try holding the bottom position of a push up for as long as you can for a few sets instead of doing full range push ups. Stuck on pull ups? Hold the top of a pull up for as long as you can for a few sets instead of your usual routine. The pull up iso holds have really helped me personally break through a lot of plateaus. I recommend throwing in some isometric holds every 2-4 weeks. It will help you keep things fresh, strengthen your tendons and joints and help you bust through mental barriers.
I've been doing a lot of handstand holds on my off days and it is a lot of fun. Doing things like trying to accumulate 5 minutes in a handstand against a wall will have you feeling it the next day. This past week I tried doing some partial handstand pushups and was amazed at how much range I had. I was ablt to come down about 6 inches from the ground. I am going to keep greasing the groove on these in hopes that I can get to a full handstand push (against a wall)by Christmas. I think this is a goal for a lot of us and here is a plan to get there. This is intended to be approached as skill work on days off. There are certainly more aggressive ways to get a handstand push up but so far this has worked for me and kept it fun, relaxed and injury free.
1. Get comfortable kicking up into a handstand against a wall. 2 weeks
2. Hold the handstand for time building up to 1-2 minutes. 4 weeks.
3. Do 5-7 sets of handstand holds of 30s-1min. Rest a couple minutes between sets and stop once you have accumulated 3-5 minutes. 2 weeks.
4. GTG on partial handstand push ups (put something soft under you in case you biff it) Do multiple sets of 5 reps through out the day on your rest days. Increase ROM as you feel fit until you reach a full handstand pushup. 1-3 months. (depending on how big of a guy you are).
I helped the fam move last week and I have to tell you, I felt strong. Sometimes we get distracted by the gym and lose focus on why we are in the gym in the first place. For most people it is so we can be healthy and function efficiently outside the gym in the real world. I was lifting heavy boxes, squatting, deadlifting and push pressing all day long. I just felt rock solid and it built my confidence in why I work out. I work out so I can do shit. Years ago I used to run all day long and I thought I was fit. Now I can still run all day long if needed but am much stronger and much more explosive. It's all thanks to lifting heavy weights, climbing movements and sprinting/jumping. I can do more work now. I am a more functional human. People need to understand that cardiovascular fitness is only one piece of the puzzle. You need stamina, strength, balance, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility and accuracy as well. And these aspects need to be trained. All day long I see clients at my gym donig 45 minutes of cardio and they have a tire around their belly and have a hard time jumping onto a 12" box. Gone are the days of constant cardio and low fat diets. Now is the time of functional movement, smart training and ancestral/unprocessed foods.
Who would you pick to help you move your couch?