How Many Isometric Sets

- Isometric-Training FAQ 1-

By Paul "Batman" O'Brien 

B.A., N.C.E.H.S., Dip. Acu., Cert Clin. IMed., Dip. Adv. OBB, Dip. CHM, Pn1, PN-SSR, PN-NCA, M.AFPA., M.C.Th.A.

How Many Isometric Sets - Isometric-Training FAQ 1 is 1st part of the Readers Questions Sections, where each issue I'll highlight a new question and provide you with a detailed answer.....Feel free to contact me with your questions here - contact me

This week I'll be answering William's questions on How Many Isometric Sets need to be done, if they can be used in association with weight training, and how to structure an isometric routine.

William Asks:

" How many sets of each exercise are you suppose to do? Can you still do regular weight lifting along with isometric training? Do I do just one body part a week or each body part every other day?"


My Answer:

How Many Isometric Sets

The sets you perform are dependant on a number of factors and of course which method of training you use. If you're talking about isometrics, then it varies on the intensity. Some recommend light intensity and longer hold times, others more intensity and shorter hold times, but most agree that you only need 1 set of each exercise - in fact you just need 1 repetition for most of them.

On that, I don't recommend doing intense isometrics more than once a day. The reason is because your body doesn't get stronger or bigger when you exercise - in fact it actually gets smaller in some cases.

You get bigger and stronger after exercising when you relax and rest, mostly when you're asleep. The body needs time to recover. All too often conventional training fails to recognize this fact and leads to over training and illness as well as being burned out and fed up. In fact the optimal time to recover is about 7 days. If you continuously work the muscle with intense contractions and fail to allow adequate recovery all you get is weakness and injury.

On Training Schedules

As regards training schedule - I recommend 2 in my e-book 7 Seconds to Build A Perfect Body!, either one muscle a day (thus 7 days rest between, the optimal time), or 1 muscle aspect a day, again 7 days before the same exercise and section of muscle worked. I find that because these exercises are so quick, that the habit of not doing them is too easy - hence daily training, but structured to allow for maximal recovery. Following either program you get adequate rest to recover and grow.

Does that make sense?

On Weight Training and Isometrics

As regards weight training and regular lifting, yes you can certainly do so, but your gains will be, by and larger a little slower. If you enjoy lifting I recommend doing isometrics afterwards, as the intense contraction confuse the muscle propricoceptors and you may not be able to gauge correct contractile strength afterwards which could possibly lead to injury.

You may find the following article interesting. Isometrics and Weight Lifting and of course my on of my favourite articles...Isometrics Vs. Traditional Lifting

Hope that helps,

Your isometric expert and personal trainer,

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