By Dave Tate
Dave Tate: Tips of the Week
The use of isometrics has been around for close to 60 years and had itís hay-day during the 70ís with multiple programs built around static contractions. Most of these programs fell by the wayside and didnít stand the test of time Ė not because they faded away, but because they didnít work well. There are, however, some uses that when applied to maximal strength development, can have a positive effect.
So, they have been around forever, kind of suck, but still can be used with great success in some instances.
If youíve been around the block, youíve read that isometric lifts are specific to ranges of motion. Iíve read anything between 10 to 25 degrees of the range you are working in. This means that to cover an entire movement, youíd have to train in several different positions.
Letís back up for those who may not know. An isometric contraction is when you either attempt a lift that is much heavier than you can move, or you apply force against any other kind of immovable object. This produces extremely high tension in the muscle by building progressively for between 3-5 seconds and then decreases in about 1/2 that time.
There are many advantages and disadvantages to this type of training, but rather than expanding on them, Iíd rather take advantages and show you how they can be used to help get your deadlift moving.
The one advantage is that the strength gains ARE specific to the ROM you are working in. So, if your deadlift is weak at the lock-out, you can set the pins up in a power rack. That way, when you pull, the bar will be stopped in the exact position of your mini-max (your weak point). Pull the bar into the pin and exert as much force as you can for 4-8 seconds and then release. You can take this a step further and load the bar to 40-50% of your one rep max and do the same thing.
Some basic recommendations:
* Keep the time of contraction between 4 and 8 seconds
* No more than 6 contractions per set
* No more than 5 sets per movement
* Use no more than 3 times per week
* Limit to one movement per training session.
* Donít pick your strongest position, pick your weakest
It is also important to note that the carry-over of this type of training to dynamic movements is very low. There is no carry-over outside of maximal strength development and its value may not be worth the effort.
This method also works well for the bench press pushing against pins.
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