Isometrics - Isometric
contraction, normally just called ISOMETRICS ,is one in which the muscle is activated, but instead of being
allowed to lengthen or shorten, it is held at a constant length. This isometrics
muscle contraction is not done through a range of movements but in a static
position. Isometrics is based on the principles of creating muscular tension
while opposing the force of an immovable object or gravity. Isometrics are done
with high levels of intensity (70-100%) rather than repetitious movements
typically for a period of 7-12 seconds. Once the muscle is relaxed after the
contraction increases blood flow to the muscles occurs which equals more
nutrition and energy uptake which in turn increases the muscle mass (size).
Isometric exercise is a form of resistance training in which the participant
uses the muscles of the body to exert a force either against an immovable object
or to hold the muscle in a fixed position for a set duration of time. In this
type of exercise, the muscle is contracted but does not change length during the
exertion of force. Additionally the joint most closely associated with the
effort remains static throughout the exercise.
- Isometrics or
isometric training has been around for centuries in such things as yoga and
Chinese martial arts. Even Pilates utilizes isometric
exercise as part of its training protocol.
Isometrics is probably one of the very few exercise techniques that has been
At the Max Plank Institute in the 1950's Dr. Hettinger and Dr. Mueller
conducted scientific research into the field of isometrics. Their study showed conclusively
that isometrics can increase strength by as much as 300% in less than 30
Isometric Workouts were originally made famous by
Charles Atlas - although he branded it as "Dynamic Tension" and iIn recent years isometric workouts have made a huge
comeback especially in the field of rehabilitation therapy.The most effective way to use isometrics is by utilizing
some form of isometric exercise
equipment such as the Bullworker. In theory the concept can be applied to many
forms of "resistance" training but in practice the Bullworker and its clones
such as the Steel Bow are the ideal tools for this sort of scientifically proven
muscle building. Dr. Hittinger and Dr. Mueller both utilized isometric exercise
equipment to measure strength gains.
Isometric contraction refers to the case of strength training, in which the
muscles contract, but do not change their length. The name isometric comes from the words 'iso' meaning equal and
'metric' meaning distance. In contrary to other dynamic muscle contractions that
involve change in position, isometric contraction is performed in a static
position. Physical activities based on isometric muscle contraction are known
isometric exercises. Sometimes weight lifters and professional bodybuilders will
incorporate some isometrics into their workouts, often in order to break through
barriers and to attain new levels of muscle strength which in turn leads to new
and increased muscle mass.
Advantages of Isometric Contraction Exercises
Isometric exercises can be carried out virtually anywhere! You can do them
whilst sitting watching TV, while sunbathing, while you wait in line at the
supermarket and well the list goes on and on.
Everyday, we could if we want indulge in performing isometric contractions as a part of our
day-to-day activities, such as carrying a suitcase or a carrier bag full of
groceries. Isometrics are particularly beneficial with those with back pain as
the muscles can be developed without further damaging the back and the resultant
gains in (say) abdominal strength help to alleviate the stress on your back
which in turn helps the back to heal as your stronger abs take the strain away
from your injured back.
Often the main advantages are seen as maximal muscular contraction in a short
space of time. Muscle building Guru Zak Lanzas uses isometric training with many
of his corporate clients who simply do not have the time to go to the gym .Isometric contraction exercises lasting for 7 - 10 seconds at a
time are sufficient to activate a group of muscles. When the resistance or
weight is increased gradually, your muscle will become more stronger. However if
you are looking to build large muscles rather than simply "tone" then you need
to check out Extreme Bullworker
Isometric can be performed without any specialised equipment. However if you
want results faster and also you want to seriously increase your lean muscle
mass then you will need to invest in a Bullworker or one of its clone variants.
This type of training though is intense in nature if done correctly, therefore
if you have high blood pressure or any sort of heart condition then consult your
Doctor before training. If your doctor has any questions as this type of
training is when done correctly can have numerous additional benefits, then tell
him to contact us and we will gladly pass on any information that might help.
Benefits Of Isometric
Isometric exercises can be done without any kind of machines or equipment
anytime, anywhere. If you have 10 seconds, you can work a muscle group without
no one even noticing you are using isometric training. The convenience and time
saving is one reason why isometrics are so popular and becoming even more
popular as peoples lives get increasingly busy. Doing isometric exercises 7
seconds at a time during the day can substitute your workout -if done correctly
and with a Bullworker it can be even more productive than a gym workout! A bold
claim? Yes it is but we feel confident in saying this.
Even without a bullworker great results can be obtained. Ab Core Workout -
isometric style - sit in a chair with your feet about 6 inches off the floor,
suck in your belly button while tensing your abs. When that becomes too easy,
simply push down on your knees with your hands while forcing to keep them from
touching the ground. These are called abs isometrics and they will give your
core muscles a good workout without getting out of your seat! So you can do
these while watching TV, waiting for a meeting etc etc.
Pressing your palms together as hard as you can will work your arms, shoulders
and chest. To work your neck and upper back muscles, cross your fingers behind
your head, push your head back in your hands using your neck muscles while
trying to push your head forward with your hands.
Find a wall to push up against or something you can pull against that won’t move
like a door jam. The only thing you need to remember is to use as much force as
possible for 10 seconds. Using maximum force will give you all the benefits an
isometric workout has to offer.
If you have high blood pressure you should not engage in this type of activity
because isometric exercises cause a spike in blood pressure. Although the blood
pressure typically returns to normal rather quickly once the muscle is relaxed,
the spike in blood pressure can be dangerous to those who already suffer from
elevated blood pressure. If you suffer from high blood pressure but you really
want to engage in isometric exercises, please consult with your doctor for tips
on how to lower blood pressure first.
The following are examples of different forms of isometric exercises that help
to improve the strength of muscles such as the abdominals, shoulders, quadriceps
The plank engages a lot of muscles; in addition to strengthening your abs,
you will also strengthen your back. The is one of the best core exercises that
exists - but is not suitable if you have any sort of back related problem, or
that is, not suitable until you have strengthened other parts of your core.
•Start out by lying flat on the floor.
•Slowly raise the body so you are resting on your toes and forearms.
•Keep the back flat and the abdominal muscles taut.
•Hold the position for 10-30 seconds.
•Repeat the exercise 2-3 times.
When this becomes easy, curl your toes under your feet to make it more
difficult. You can also extend one arm forward for another difficult variation.
•Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your back firmly against a wall.
•Slowly slide down the wall until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
•If necessary, move your feet away from the wall to ensure your knees do not
extend past your toes.
•Hold the position for 10-30 seconds.
•Repeat the exercise 2-3 times.
Much of the interest in Isometrics comes from the amazingly successful Charles
Atlas.Starting in 1929 and continuing throughout the century he sold hundreds of
thousands of his muscular development courses using a form of training he called
His courses sold through magazines and the advertising depicted caricatures of a
scrawny kid on the beach getting sand kicked in his face by a big guy. The next
caricature would show the scrawny guy coming back to the beach after completing
the Charles Atlas workout. He'd come back big and buff and whip the bully and
run off with the girls. If you look hard enough you'll still be able to find
some of those ads in magazines today.
The exercises described in the course didn't use weights, rather they used
bodyweight exercises and dynamic tension exercises. The course called for
certain types of movements done in isometric fashion like pushups, where you
hold yourself in a pushup position for a given time. I don't know how much
muscle people have gained over the years using these programs, but what I do
know is that certain concepts and training methods taken from his program can be
extremely effective for the bodybuilder of today.
It's been said that in the iron game, nothing new is really ever invented,
rather we just keep putting new twists on the same effective things and more
effective ways of arranging and performing training methods that our founders
discovered years ago.
It's also interesting how outdated training concepts, like kettlebell training,
continue to resurface and are brought back to life and how these concepts are
often found very effective today. One training concept that fits that bill is
isometric training. It can be a very effective training style for you, but
unlike the Charles Atlas programs, you will need to use weights.
What Is An Isometric Movement?
An isometric movement is a movement in which no movement occurs. An example is
holding a weight in a semi-contracted and motionless state for a period of time.
Another example is pushing on an immoveable object for a given period of time.
Many of you have probably done the trick where you stand in a doorframe and with
your hands by your sides, you press out again the doorframe as if you're doing a
partial lateral raise.
You continue to push against the immoveable door frame for 30-45 seconds, and
upon releasing the pressure, your hands tend to "float" up into the air. This is
an example of an isometric movement.
It turns out Isometric exercises have several benefits for both strength
athletes and bodybuilders.
Benefits Of Isometric Exercises:
Isometrics are purely "muscle" movements that place the stress entirely on the
muscle fibers, eliminating reactive contribution, and even so they increase
muscle motor unit recruitment above and beyond what you get from eccentric or
Activation refers to the recruitment of the motor-units in a muscle. One can
recruit nearly all the muscle fibers during a maximal isometric contraction -
something that doesn't happen with regular eccentric and concentric (down and
up) repetitions. Basically, the more muscle you can recruit the more damage you
can inflict and the more growth can occur. Not surprisingly, this dramatically
enhances strength. Strength gains of 14-40% were found over a 10-week period
using isometric action training.
Isometrics also allow you to prolong the Time under tension of a particular area
or sticking point and thus add to the time the muscle is under tension as well.
If you think about it, when performing the large majority of movements in the
gym the actual working effect of those movements are over a very short range so
a lot of the time spent completing repetitions is just wasted.
For example, when you do a bench press your pectorals are really only maximum
tension in the range from just off your chest to ½ of the way up - the rest is
all shoulders and triceps so if you consider the pause at the top you spend
nearly 2/3 of the entire set working muscles OTHER than your chest.
The average set duration is something like 20-30 seconds. That means your chest
may only be under tension for 10 seconds or less per set. With isometric
training you can isolate a specific area of a movement for a given time thus
prolonging the time the muscle is under tension which is largely responsible for
the hypertrophy response.
Isometrics not only cause muscle breakdown themselves, but also cause an
immediate increase in subsequent dynamic work as well, which basically means you
can perform an isometric exercise and stimulate strength, growth, and actually
have a strength carryover or an increase in strength with your next movement.
This is something that has to be experienced but it is a welcome change. You can
actually get stronger as the workout continues instead of having a loss in
strength typical of most routines.
Isometric training done at a disadvantageous joint angle in a movement like near
the bottom of a bench press or squat will have a strength carryover throughout
all ranges of the movement.
Since isometrics stress the muscle vs the tendons, fascia, etc, they are useful
for rehabilitation or training around injuries. I had a case of biceps
tendonitis the for several months, and basically the only biceps movements I
could do without pain were partial range lying cable curls and isometric
preacher curls (stressing the bottom 1/3).
Not only is my tendonitis almost healed but my biceps have not lost any size and
experimenting the other day I found out I am a good 15% stronger on every bicep
movement due to the isometric preacher curls i've been doing.
Isometrics build muscle mass. In a recent experiment found an average size
improvement of 12.4% for heavy isometric training and 5.3% with isometric
training using weights equivalent to 60% of 1rm weight after a training period
of 10 weeks.
Using Isometrics For Strength
To strengthen your bench press you could either get in a power rack and press
the bar against an immoveable pin for a certain length of time, or hold a
supra-maximal weight in a ¼ rep range for 6-20 seconds.
The first type of isometric movement, pushing against an immoveable object, is
used only for strength, whereas the 2nd type, holding a weight and preventing it
from moving, is best for strength as well as muscle growth. Personally, I prefer
the 2nd type where you simply hold a weight in place for both strength and
Some say that when performing isometrics you will only strengthen the part of
the movement you're training. For example if doing isometrics in a ¼ range bench
press position you'll only strengthen that part of the movement. The truth is
you will strengthen the part of the movement you're training, but you also get a
15-30 degree carryover and if you train at the most disadvantageous joint angle
(like the bottom of a bench press or point in the squat where your thighs are
parallel) you actually get a 100% strength carryover through the rest of the
Strengthen your weak links and everything else strengthens as well. In other
words, if you perform an isometric contraction a few inches off your chest in
the bench press you'll tend to increase the strength of your entire bench press
and the size of your entire chest! But if you only do isometrics over the
easiest ¼ or 1/3 range in a movement you only get a 15-30 degree carryover.
If you really want to increase strength in a movement, using the bench press as
an example, you'd simply use 3 different positions (bottom, mid-range, and top)
and perform an isometric in each position. You'd perform isometrics in the
contracted position near your chest, the midrange position, and then the
extended position up top. A sample workout would be 2 sets of 10 seconds at each
position with the lower position done first. For strength, each isometric
contraction should last 20 seconds or less and ideally under 10 seconds.
Using Isometric Training For Muscle Growth
When using isometrics to increase muscle growth, you're able to put a muscle
under high amounts of tension for a very long period of time. The total length
of time a muscle is under tension is largely responsible for the amount of
muscle growth stimulated from a workout. You will know just how effective this
method is once you try it!
There are 3 ways to implement isometrics for muscle growth. The 1st in my
opinion is the most effective form.
Isometrics For Time
You simply hold a weight equivalent to 50-80% of your 1-rep max in 3 different
positions per exercise for anywhere from 30 seconds to 1 minute. Let's
illustrate an example.
Say you're doing preacher curls. You load up the bar with 60-80% of your 1-rep
max and execute your set by holding the bar in a slightly flexed position near
the bottom of the movement for anywhere from 30 seconds to 1 minute. Obviously,
the heavier the weight in relationship to your 1-rep max the shorter you'll be
able to hold it.
After this set you rest a minute and then repeat in the same extended position.
Next you complete 2 sets in the mid-range position, followed by 2 sets in the
upper 1/3 of the movement. Follow this up with 1-2 sets of full range preacher
curls and your bicep workout is over. Try this and I'm sure you'll find it's the
most effective workout for muscle growth ever! The guidelines for this method
Load: 50-80% of your 1 repetition maximum
Length of time per set: 30-60 seconds
Number of sets per position: 1-3 per position
Number of positions per exercise: 3
Rest intervals: 1-2 minutes
The next method of using isometrics for hypertrophy can be done on any exercise,
but it is more effective for exercises like pull-ups, rows, and curls unless you
have a spotter. This isometric training method involves using isometric stops.
Isometric stops allow you to increase the duration of a set and thus put more
strain on a muscle.
Say for instance you're doing a set chin-ups and you've knocked out 8 reps and
struggled on your last rep so you know you won't be able to complete another
repetition. Most people would simply relax their arms and terminate the set.
However, you can increase the duration of the set and place more strain on the
muscle by lowering yourself under control and stopping the negative motion for 6
seconds at different positions on the way down.
So, using our chin-up example, after completion of your last positive rep you'd
hold yourself near the contracted position for 6 seconds, lower yourself down
about to mid-point and hold for 6 seconds, and then lower yourself down near the
bottom and once again hold for 6 seconds. Do this and you'll definitely notice a
I recommend you use isometric stops on your last set of an exercise where
applicable. You can get good results just doing 1 six second isometric hold on
the last rep of the set, but if you're up for it go for all 3.
You can also superset an isometric with a full range movement. This will boost
the working effect of the full range movement big time. For example:
Isometric bench presses*
Dumbell flyes x 10-12 reps
Repeat 3 times
* Hold near the bottom position for 10 seconds with heavy weight.
Explosive Variety Supersetting
You can also superset an explosive movement with an isometric movement. This
variety is great for athletes who need to maintain explosiveness while packing
on the mass. Pick a movement, any movement and using 50% of your 1rm perform 10
fast and explosive reps as quickly as possible. Next, without resting simply
hold the weight in your weakest position for as long as possible.
Repeat 3 times
Give some of these training methods of the past a try and watch them elevate
your muscle growth years into the future. I predict we will see a reintroduction
of "Charles Atlas" type training into the programs of bodybuilders in the next
year or so.
Thibadeau, C. "Theory and Application of Modern Strength and Power Methods" 2004
Isometric wall squats primarily work the upper quadriceps as well as the lower
quadriceps, hamstrings, and gluteus muscles as stabilizer muscles. To perform an
isometric wall squat:
•Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and lean against a wall with most of
the contact against your lower back.
•Gradually slide down the wall until your knees are at a 90-degree angle.
•Consciously contract the thighs and gluteus.
•Hold the position for 15 to 180 seconds.
An isometric muscle contraction, or static exercise, is one in which the muscle
fires but there is no movement at a joint. In this type of muscle contraction,
there is no change in length of the muscle, and no movement at the joints but
muscle fibers fire. An example of isometric exercise includes pushing against a
The benefit of isometric exercises are that they can be used for rehabilitation
as well as general strengthening without placing stress on the joints.
The Bullworker is a isometric training mechanism designed for a quick workout.
It can hit every area of the body. You can even be take it on vacations. Most
people use this device to work their entire body each workout. It is an
excellent way to build muscle.
at may be BULLWORKER originals or any of the clones including the Steel Bow,
Iso7x, Bully Xtreme etc etc.
Traditional Bullworker Training
Most of the bullworkers
including the clones have a built-in gauge to measure strength for each
exercise. Typically all of the manuals list around 40 or so different exercises,
but in reality the number and type of exercises, especially with products like
the Bullworker X5, is unlimited as you can alter hand positions thereby hitting
either different muscles or sections of muscles within a particular muscle
group. The next few exercises are written to match the original intension of the
designer Gert F Kolber, however if you want to go beyond the bounds of the norm
check out EXTREME BULLWORKER TRAINING.
Chest compression: Hold the Bullworker in front by the handles about chest
height. Slowly compress the device as far as possible and hold for 10 seconds,
then release it. To hit the upper chest, hold and compress the device at chin
level. Compress it at a lower angle to hit the lower chest. Some of the newer
Bullworkers such as the X5 have inside grips that can be used to hit both the
upper and lower chest, too. Grip with both hands in an underhand manner to work
the lower chest. Hold it with hands overhand to work the upper chest. Start out
by doing just 1 set of each. Later, work up to 3 sets. Do this with all
Chest cable twist: Grab the cables, holding the insides of the hands about 8
inches apart. Slowly twist each end as far as possible. Hold for 10 seconds,
Shoulder compression: Hold Bullworker behind the neck, compress for 10 seconds
and release. All exercises should be held for 10 seconds.
Shoulder exercises with the cables: To work the anterior or front deltoid, hold
the Bullworker in front. Hold one hand on the lower cable with an overhand grip.
Grip the top cable with the other hand. Slowly pull the top cable up using
similar tension on the lower end for leverage.
To hit the lateral side of the deltoids, hold upright and pull both ends
outward. For the posterior head, bend at the waist, put the device between the
legs and pull outward.
A one-arm upright rows can be done by holding the Bullworker horizontally. Pull
up on one cable while holding the other end steady.
Back exercises: There are several good exercises for the back. To hit the lats,
hold one end of Bullworker vertically against the top of the left thigh. Grip
the other end at an angle. Bend the waist and pull the weight in toward the
thigh. Repeat with the other hand. Try the exercise sitting as it isolates the
Bent over rows can be performed by stepping on one end of the cable and lifting
up with both arms. Using that same grip, perform a deadlift by using only the
lower back to pull up.
Arm exercises: For triceps, kneel on the floor, keeping one end of the device
against the knees. Press down and hold. Another exercise is to hold the
Bullworker as if using a bow and arrow. Gradually pull one cable away from the
body. Pushdowns can be performed by pushing down on the cables, holding the
For biceps, hold the bar vertically. Pull up on the top end while holding the
bottom steady. Next, hold the bar horizontally and pull up on one end of the
cable, holding the other end steady. Concentration curls can be performed with
one or both hands. Assume a seated position, lean over, put both feet on top of
one cable and pull up.
Bullworker Exercises For Lower Body
Work those thighs, hamstrings and calves. Hold Bullworker overhead and do 10 to
25 squats for the quadriceps. Next, sit down, hold one cable down with the foot
and pull up on the other end. This is a leg extension that can add definition to
the thighs. A third exercise hits the outer thigh. While seated, with the
Bullworker on the floor, hook both feet through the cables. Slowly pull each leg
Hold one cable with both feet, bend over and do a stiff-legged deadlift for
hamstrings. Leg curls can be imitated by looping holding one cable with both
hands and pulling back with each leg.
Calves can be worked in a seated position. Holding the cables with both hands,
push the other end down with the foot. Switch legs. There are two variations of
this exercise. Straightening the leg will hit the lower calf more directly.
Bending the leg and pushing the cable downward will hit the gastrocnemius more
The basic principal behind
the original bullworker was that of isometric muscle contraction. Isometric contraction, is one
in which the muscle is activated, but instead of being allowed to lengthen or
shorten, it is held at a constant length. This isometrics muscle contraction is
not done through a range of movements but in a static position. Isometrics is
based on the principles of creating muscular tension while opposing the force of
an immovable object or gravity. Isometrics are done with high levels of
intensity (70-100%) rather than repetitious movements typically for a period of
7-12 seconds. Once the muscle is relaxed after the contraction increases blood
flow to the muscles occurs which equals more nutrition and energy uptake which
in turn increases the muscle mass (size). Later on the principals behind the
bullworker were enhanced so as to make it more of a muscle building, as opposed
to just pure strength building piece of home gym apparatus with the introduction
of repetitions. This involved several repetitions pushing or pulling and
releasing throughout the full range of the movement (or as far as your strength
would allow you) and on the final repetition then doing the traditional
bullworker hold phase or isometric contraction.
The Bullworker is one of the
few meaningful brands in the field of muscle building. At this point we do need
to make clear that we fully acknowledge any or all trademarks and the terms used
are purely to assist with identification. Virtually all of the top physiques of
a certain area have tried or used the bullworker at some stage although many
moved away from the product due, not in small part, to the instructions that
came with both the original and current variants of the product as they have all
failed to appreciate what muscle really need to grow. For training programs
recommended by the manufacturers check out our
bullworker training chart. Part of the reason for the
development of this site is in Bullworker terms to "go where no man has gone
before" and address the outer limits of the product exploring extreme training
programs aimed at getting extreme results. We will also look at the products in
terms of rehabilitation and weight loss but in the main the focus of this site
is on pure natural muscle building but at a level way beyond the originally
envisaged scope of the product.
- only for adults 21+ who want to add large amounts of muscle and burn excess