Hey Athletes! This week we are talking about isometric holds and why we do them. Don’t miss out on the newest episode of Ask Me Anything!
Episode 56 of Ask Me Anything is up!
Ask Me Anything: Benefits Of Isometric Holds and Why We Do Them
This week Niall asks what are the benefits of isometric holds. Jerred and Joe dive in a little into the science of it and why we do them here at Garage Gym Athlete!
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Related Resources at End of Three Fitness:
- Does Full Range of Motion Matter?
- Cultivating a Muscle-Contraction Practice with Kelly & Juliet Starrett
Thanks for listening to the podcast, and if you have any questions be sure to add them to the comments below!
To becoming better!
All right, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the garage mathlete podcast Jerred. Moon here with Joe. Courtney. What’s up, Joe?
All right, ama let’s get right into the AMA Ask me anything. We have Niall asking, from time to time in a garage gym athlete programming, we perform wall sets or pause squats. I do power yoga twice a week. And no matter how much my leg strength improves with garage mathlete, I find long holding a pose like warrior to think lunge really challenging. What are the benefits of long isometric holds? Why would you program them? And what specifically? are we seeking to improve? Thanks? Got anything on the ISO holds, Joe,
that no matter how much you do them, or how good you get them, they’re still gonna be awful. Yes, sir. Pretty equal to everybody in difficulty. That’s why it’s pretty much you can just say, hey, go do ISO holds, and everybody’s gonna be suffering the same no matter no matter where you are, I mean, you get more stability and better at them as you go or just talk or tolerance to them. But that’s kind of why one of the reasons why we do them. And and yeah, if you want to get into more of the science and such about them,
yes, so the, there are three contractions that muscles go through. So we have concentric, eccentric and isometric. And the big thing that I I like for people to know just in programs in general. So I always say the missing the missing element in most strength programs, is speed. I’ve always said that is speed, you know, a lot of people do kind of Max effort stuff free lifting heavy, or they’ll do sub max effort where they’re lifting, lighter loads for repetitions. But then people always lead out dynamic, people aren’t lifting for speed. And I feel the same way about just muscle contractions. In general, general, when you look at programs, most of the time, there’ll be a good amount of essential concentric contractions, which you have to so that’s just like, lengthening and shortening of a muscle. So like the, you know, bicep curl, you have to, if you’re going to do any movement, you have to have an A centric and concentric contraction, but you don’t have to have an isometric contraction, which is where you would hold that muscle like he’s saying in in a position for longer periods of time. And there are a lot of benefits to isometric contractions. And I think that it really helps injury proof you. I mean, I’ll kind of talk about some of the other science behind it. But the big reason I like isometric contractions, is I think it helps a ton with stability. And I think that it really does mitigate injury. So I think if you look at our body geometry framework, and I know we’ve mentioned body geometry quite a bit on the podcast, and I don’t know if I tell people where to go. But if you go to industry fitness.com, you’d go to our about page, we kind of have our method listed out there. And you can read an entire very long article on body geometry and kind of the ideas behind it. We don’t get into the exact templates and everything that we use on the back end for programming, but all the big ideas are there in the article if you guys ever want to read it. And one of the things that we talked about are progressions, we also talk about contractions and isometric contractions are, are very important. Like I said, I think that they help injury proof you. In the book, super training by Mel Sif, which is really good. He talks about isometric contractions that can help build strength, but I think it was something like 15 to 20 degrees in either direction of the isometric contraction, you will still build strength in those respective respective areas. So what does that mean is if I were to take a like hold a squat, like you’re talking about, like a wall squat or something like that, it’s an isometric contraction. Now, if I were to go 15 degrees, 15 to 20 degrees down, or 15 to 20 degrees up, my muscles are still strengthening in those areas, even though I’m in a isometric contraction, if that makes sense. So it’s not like it’s only working this one area, it actually is strengthening your muscles for, you know, almost full range of motion, but the full range of motion is something that you you want to do. And so I know people are always talking about doing full range of motion, how that’s really important. And that’s not untrue. You know, you need to be doing those things, but you have to throw an isometric contractions as well. I think it adds more stability. And like I said, it’s gonna help you get injured less. And it’s it’s really strengthening the full range of motion. And it and it sucks, like Joe said, it just, it’s like there’s a mental side to isometric contractions. That’s just crappy. You know, and it’s because you don’t train it but if you get into the bodyweight training world where you know, people are just doing it, I’m talking about like, not just doing a bunch of pull ups and running and sit ups. I’m talking about like, ever seen those guys who are doing like, you know, the human flag and like, all these crazy things on pull up bars that are like they’re doing a ton of isometric contraction work and it’s just really helpful and strengthening those those muscles without necessarily having to, you know, put on a ton of mass or, or anything like that it helps with your muscular endurance.
Yeah, and I think another good benefit, especially for the mind muscle connection, if you have any issues with that, I know a lot of times some people have difficulties either engaging their lats, engaging their glutes in certain movements and doing eisah holds can be a good practice either as a warm up or in the routine just so you know how to activate those you know where they are. And you might think it’s, it could be kind of silly, like, Yeah, I know I use them and I work them I felt them sore before but sometimes you can still be lacking you can only just do like minimal activation during like squat. But if you do like hit bridge holds, then that might help your glutes fire a lot more when you’re doing when you’re doing your squats or your last when you’re doing your pull ups. So it’s a good practice for that as well.
Yeah, I know performance based physical therapists love isometric contractions. For that reason that you’re, you’re stating just helping activate muscles because you can. Like if you’re pretty proficient and let’s just say the squat, you could do the full squat movement without I mean, you’re you’re using your muscles, but you’re not truly like engaging them. You know what I mean? Like, and I’m talking about without load, you’re, you’re not really going through the full benefit of what your muscles could have seen if you were to do some sort of isometric contraction in there. So yeah, pause squats are great isometric contractions in general work, we do them all the time. I like them for the core the most. Because I think that that’s the true stability element that’s going to help you more than like a sit up. But we do it across all all domains and body geometry. So it’s something that if you’re part of GTA, you’re seeing a decent amount of it, just enough of it in our programming to still see progress and be injury free. Yep. Alright guys, that’s it for this ama. If you guys do have a question, go to garage, gym athlete comm slash ama, and you can submit your question. Now if you’re listening to this on the podcast player, if you give us a five star review and a positive comment, we would really appreciate it. And if you’re on YouTube, please subscribe. Like the video leave us a comment. And that’s it guys. Thanks for watching or listening