Using Isometrics to Build Muscle

Fast and Effective Muscle Gain in Only Minutes

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.

Using Isometrics to build muscle is the most time efficient way to increase mass and size, and yet they aren’t commonly used in most training programs, and many fitness trainers simply write them off, as being nice, but useless, confined only to rehabilitation or breaking past a sticking point. Isometrics is so much more.

Using Isometrics to build muscle makes sense. Look at the average lift, say the bench press. In this exercise one lies down and pushed the bar, located mid chest, at the nipple line straight up. Now at the very start of this exercise, the muscle is at its weakest point. The tendons and muscle is stretched out, and being asked to contract. At this point you can only recruit a little of your muscle to move the weight. This is where the most injuries occur. At the top of the movement is where you contract the most muscle and where you are strongest.

Of course by the time you get to your strongest range your lifting a weight that’s no problem to you…you can use far more muscle. Okay, this makes sense so far, right? Conventional weight training uses a weak range of motion that is prone to injury and doesn’t stimulate all your muscle fibers, which in fairness is admitted, that’s why you need to do multiple repetitions with the same weight to exhaust and stimulate all your fibers…and that takes time…So how can we start using Isometrics to build muscle and how does this save time?

There is a quicker way. Lift a weight that stimulates you in your strongest range, perhaps…. Yup definitely a good start…but we can make it even better…how about pushing or pulling against a weight that stimulates every possible muscle fiber – an object that you CAN’T lift. This produces an isometric contraction. Of course, with experience one can learn to simply maximally contract a muscle at will, without the need for any external device or equipment.

But I’m fast forwarding through the science again…

Skeletal muscles, the muscles we want to build and make bigger, (there are other types of muscle, e.g. cardiac muscle, that making up the heart), are composed of different fibers, which have different properties. All of these fibers are present in your muscles but in varying amounts. Basically you have Type 1 Slow twitch fibers, these are found highly concentrated in the muscles that support our structural alignment, e.g. the neck, back and legs.

They’re designed to slowly contract over lengthy periods of time and thus are ideally suited to keep us standing up right. They are also by and large smaller then Type 2 A and B. (Think of a long distance marathon runner as opposed to a sprinter)

The other fibers are Type 2 A and B. These are fast twitch fibers, and explosive in nature. They fatigue and tire much quicker, but as a result are capable of generating more force. These are predominantly found in the muscles of the arms and chest for instance, not in constant use but occasionally used to throw something at someone. These also happen to be bigger then the Type 1 fiber, especially the Type 2b fibers.

We also have a third Bonus fiber a Type 3 also call the intermediate fiber because it can become both Type 1 or Type 2 depending on your training or conditioning. 

Check out the photo on he left. This is a great example of the difference muscle fibers can make on the human body. On the left is Maurice Greene, a short distance sprinter, and on the right is Robert Cheruiyot, a long distance marathon runner. Greene the sprinter has thick muscular legs because of his training resulting in fast twitch muscle fiber dominacne while Cheruiyot, the marathon runner shows very thin legs because of his focus on endurance, and thus slow twitch fiber training. If you want big visible muscle, you have to train your fast twitch muscle fibers, and the best way to do this is with isometrics.

Traditional training, i.e. weight lifting within a 10-12 rep range only results in a partial stimulation of these various muscle fiber types. As you got through a full range of motion, including starting off from a weak position, you only stimulate the Type 2 muscle fibers momentarily as your body relaxes them and contracts another group of muscle fibers to take over. Each fiber is only stimulated for a very brief second, hence why you have to do so many reps. Using Isometrics to build muscle on the other hand is far more efficent.

Isometrics contract the muscle in its strongest range and so recruits the most muscle fibers. Furthermore you hold that position for up to 7 seconds. That’s 7 seconds on intense focused stimulation – easily 7 times more work then when performing conventional repetitions. You see, what occurs in that 7 seconds results in the systematic recruitment and subsequent failure of nearly all the Type 2 muscle fibers.

Using Isometrics to build muscle provides the most stimulation, and thus the most muscle growth in the biggest muscle fibers. Combined with a proper stretching and flexibility program to further encourage growth and the elasticity of tissue you can produce maximal muscle growth in only a few minutes.

The best way you can start So how can we start using Isometrics to build muscle and get the body you want is to work with me 1-to-1 through online personal training. I can design a comprehensive, personalised training program for to get you the results you want. Click Here to learn more.

When will you start using Isometrics to build muscle?

Start using Isometrics to build muscle with these exercises

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