Have you ever felt like your muscles are just snoozing during your workout? Like they're not really awake and ready to work hard?
That's where isometrics come in!
Isometrics (ISOs) are like a big wake-up call for your muscles.
To perform an ISO, you hold a static position, contracting your muscles without changing their length. It's like flexing your biceps without actually moving your arm or holding a Squat in the lowered position as pictured above.
When you hold an isometric contraction before a strength training movement, you're basically telling your muscles,
"Hey, wake up! It’s time to get to work!"
This helps create a stronger neural connection between your brain and your muscles, so they're more activated and ready to work hard during the subsequent exercise. It's like hitting the "activate" button on your muscles.
And if you've hit a plateau in your strength training and adding more resistance isn't an option, isometric exercise can still help you make gains in strength. By doing pre-fatigue ISOs before a traditional strength training exercise, you can tire out the target muscle group and increase activation and recruitment of the muscle fibers. This means you can work DEEPER and push past your previous limits, even without adding more weight!
Plus, isometric exercise is a great way to build stability around your joints and get those feel-good endorphins flowing.
When your mind and body are working together, you can achieve incredible things.
So next time your instructor or trainer has you holding a challenging position, just remember that you're doing more than just building strength - you're giving your muscles a big wake-up call!