NASA and Isometrics

A 14% Increase in Muscle Size? You Must Be Living on the Moon to Think Isometrics Don't Work

By Paul "Batman" J.O'Brien 

B.A., N.C.E.H.S., Dip. Acu., Cert Clin. IMed., Dip. Adv. OBB, Dip. CHM, M.AFPA., M.C.Th.A.

NASA and isometrics as a topic, has been receiving a lot of attention lately – I know this because of the record number of emails I received since the publication of an interview with NASA on the subject of Isometrics. The article entitled, “Why do Workouts Work?” was actually published in 2004 but has seen renewed interest since the recent isometric explosion. The interview contains two interesting piece of information that seem contradictory but have sparked some interesting questions.

The study of for NASA and isometrics for use in space to prevent muscle atrophy in astronauts compared three different types of exercise; muscle contraction, muscle lengthening, and isometric. What the team led by Prof. Kenneth Baldwin concluded is that after a 12 test of these different types of contractions on rats all showed the “same amount of muscle growth”.

We knew this already. It’s been established since the early Mueller and Hettinger tests that Isometrics produces muscle growth. The article however goes on to say something else. They measured the amount of contractile proteins in the rats and found that the number was reduced in the rats that performed isometrics. From this fact the article goes on to dismiss Isometrics as a feasible workout system. This is bad science and to be honest utter rubbish.

There are a number of problems with this type of publication. The first is that it does not provide any meaningful information. At no point in the article are the actual results discussed. We receive only generalisations. On researching the actual study we find some really interesting results.

The actual study showed the isometrics were in fact the MOST effective form of all three training modalities increasing the muscle mass in the rats legs by 14%. The other methods produced a 12% (for muscle contraction) and 11% (for muscle lengthening). But that’s not all – the Isometric contraction also produced the highest increase in IGF-1 Growth Hormone.

That’s right. The NASA and Isometrics study showed that Isometrics increased muscle mass by 14% and increased 1GF-1 Growth Hormone in the rats. There was also substantial increase in the actual DNA and RNA of the muscle tissue.

While this is certainly a positive indication for isometrics there are still a number of problems with the study – the first is the actual training protocol used. The rats were limited to 1 training position (a 44 degree angle) and stimulated electronically. Further they were trained for alternating periods of time between 20 seconds and 1 minute and trained 10 times over a 20 day period.

Now, the problem is this – is that the actual optimal tension and recovery time for rats? I have no clue, and to be frank neither do the scientists who conducted this study. It’s highly possible that the biopsy’s of the rat’s tissue that determined they had fewer contractile proteins was taken at the low point of recovery phase. Their bodies simply had not created the additional muscle proteins yet. Despite the fact they had more muscle mass than the other subjects, at the point the biopsy was taken in the NASA and isometrics study they simply hadn’t recovered.

Unfortunately this study also tells us nothing of humans and they’re response to isometrics. Nor does it tell us anything of the optimal frequency of training and the nature the strength of contraction needed to produce results. Luckily however the studies that DO TELL US have already been conducted and verified.

The simple fact is isometrics have been shown to increase strength and muscle mass by 5-15% per contraction held for a 7-12 second time frame. And need only to be performed once a week. Why then is NASA studying rats when the human studies have already been conducted? And why are they dismissing the obvious results they obtained from those rats when they did the studies? That I cannot answer.

I can tell you this though, the NASA and isometric testing study does show similar results to the studies done on both frogs and humans. The results are obvious –

  • Increased Muscle Mass
  • Increased Strength
  • Increased Growth Hormone

I can also tell you that if you are interested in acquiring those benefits yourself with just seconds of exercise you can learn all the techniques and the science behind it in my 7 Week System called 7 Seconds to A Perfect Body!, The Scientifically Proven Method for Transforming Your Body in Just Seconds! With over 250 pages and filled with more than 130 photos you too can increase your muscle mass and strength by 5-15% a week.

That means a whole new you.

You can read more about the program and see my incredible transformation, even watch videos of my strength feats here, and remember if somebody tells you about the NASA and Isometrics Study you can tell them “You'd have to be living on the moon to think Iso's don't work!”


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Started Isometric training in May of 2014 at the age of 70. Do 30 to 40 7 second isometric holds once a week. (I found more than that I was overtraining.) …

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