Talk:Isometric exercise

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Isometric done with weights?[edit]

can isometrics be done with weight? if so what would that do? what about sets and reps?.....

Well, I guess holding a weight stationary would count as isometric exercise... SCHZMO 23:56, 29 May 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for the suggestions on how to improve this article. — Lentower (talk) 10:29, 22 March 2015 (UTC)

References into links[edit]

I turned the two references to heart conditions into links. It seemed silly to expect people to know what those two things were. I also wanted to connect heart murmur to Heart_murmur#Abnormal_sounds but I didn't know how to send it down the page to the relevent text. Or if that was even acceptable by wikipedia standards. 15:44, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

Article needs work[edit]

This page needs a lot of work and needs the citations linked. For now I removed a claim that was very suspect. It claimed isometrics "increases the strength of the participant faster than any other natural method". This is very dubious and sounds like something the "super-slow" and "static training" zealots spout. Isometrics certainly play a role in strength training, but they are certainly not the be all end all. --Rob Sanheim 16:30, 25 August 2006 (UTC)

Eccentric and concentric contraction[edit]

  • I replaced muscle contracting with muscle shortening - a muscle contracts during an eccentric contraction, it just lengthens at the same time, so to call one muscle lengthening and the other muscle contraction is incorrect. WLU 21:00, 19 November 2006 (UTC)
  • I agree that your change is better than what I had originally written when I wrote the section on NASA and Isometrics. The reason I worded it the way I had is because, in the study cited, they used the word "contraction" instead of "muscle shortening". The sentence in the study reads as follows: "They tested three types of exercise: muscle contraction, muscle lengthening, and isometric, where the muscle exerts a force while remaining the same length."[1] In order to further wikify the section, I added the internal links to Eccentric and Concentric muscle contraction. I had actually considered using "muscle shortening" but opted not to due to the fact that they didn't word it that way in the article cited. I therefore decided I could kill 2 birds with 1 stone; by internally linking to "Eccentric" and "Concentric" contraction I thought I could further wikify the article while, at the same time, clarify the fact that "contraction" as used in the cited article was synonymous with "muscle shortening". Nevertheless, your change indicates that there was a potential for confusion, regardless of how it was worded in the article cited, and that the rewording was necessary. Thanks for your input. 23:56, 19 November 2006 (UTC)

If the above guy is still adding to the page, you should totally get a user id, it's really handy for tracking changes on multiple articles, plus I don't have to worry if it's the same person making changes on the documents - comments to anon users are generally a waste of time, and a userid makes it a lot easier to engage in an actual dialogue. But it's up to you. That being said...

I added brief summaries to the references 'cause otherwise it just lists them as numbers and I find the brief summaries helpful in distinguishing between them and whether I actually want to see the source.

I also removed the "In one study, published by John Little, one subject gained nine pounds of muscle from one workout, while simultaneously losing nine and a half pounds of fat" section because that violates absolutely everything I know about the biology of strength training and without the original source I can't verify. I'm more comfortable taking it right out than leaving it with a fact tag. Also, a single-subject study is tremendously suspect right off the get-go. If anyone can find the original source, I'd be happy to put it back in. WLU 17:12, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

Bully extreme[edit]

  • Anyone else suspicious of the bully extreme links? The actual content is unreferenced but looks accurate, but the overall website is designed to sell a machine. WLU 23:19, 29 November 2006 (UTC)
  • You are correct. Definitely SPAM attempting to sell the Bully Extreme. I removed the links. The same links have appeared repeatedly in other Wikipedia articles and have repeatedly been removed from those articles as well. For example, see Bullworker Talk Page, as well as the article's History page. Also see the Isometric Exercise History page. 18:06, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

Refutting a couple of things[edit]

"In his course he advocated a series of dynamic tension exercises which included Isometrics.[2] Unfortunately, isometrics fell out of favor as it was discovered that many of the principal advocates were using steroids to enhance their gains.[3] "

1) Charles Atlas won a bodybuilding contest in 1922, BEFORE the use of steroids became widespread for strength training. []

Steroids have been around since the late 19th century I believe; originally they were used to treat victims of starvation who had lost a lot muscle tissue. That is what anabolic steroids SHOULD be used for. However, I believe it was the Nazis who first used it for strength training purposes. In Atla's time (or rather, his younger days), laws regarding steroid use were far stricter, and restricted to medicine. Also, the problem in the 1920's wasn't steroids, but, bootlegging and the Mafia.

Point says that 'many' were using steroids, not that CA was. WLU

2) That isometrics fell out of favor because many of the principal advocates used roids just doesn't make any logical sense; everyone with even a passing interest in weight training can tell you, many of the principal advocates of weight training have used steroids. The list includes names like; Arnold Swarzennegger, Lou Ferigno, Mike Mentzer, Bill Pearl, and even many modern day top competitors. Its common knowledge with anyone who has ever read muscle magazines, or even attempted strength training of any kind.

Now, in defense of Arnold Swarzennegger, he did not build his body up using roids; he started using steroids, actually, when he started winning the more prestigious bodybuilding trophies and the pressure of competition got to him. The higher up you go in sports competition, the tougher your opposition, and the more your confidence gets shaken. Sooner or later, everyone looks for an edge. Nevertheless, despite this well known fact, isotonic resistance training has not fallen out of favor.

In Arnold's well known "Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding" there are pictures of him at 16. At age 16, even I looked better than him at that age. As you watch pictures of him growing older and progressing up until the age of 19, it is very, very easy to tell it is not a steroid body.

However, when you get to the point where he starts making a name for himself in bodybuilding circles, he goes from 210 lbs, to a massive 240. It is at that point you can so tell he was using roids.

Everyone says he used steroids to build up his body, but, that just isn't true; you can actually see the slow progression of his muscle size and strength during his teens in his Encyclopedia if you bother to look. Had he used steroids, he would have gotten way, way bigger. Myself personally I think Arnold was in his prime in 1980; he had achieved masculine perfection, and he richly deserved that Mr. Olympia title.

I personally would like a physique with that kind of symetry, BUT WITHOUT the size. I'm weird like that; most guys who strength train want to get bigger. I want to stay the size I am, but symetrical.

Whatever the case, to whoever wrote this article, please try to be more level and fair. Everyone knows many top bodybuilders from the 70's onwards have used roids at some point in their careers. Even "Body for Life" advocate Bill Phillips.

If you have any suggestions or changes for the page, you are welcome to make them as long as they don't violate the 5 pillars. WLU
It doesn't make any logical sense to say that Isometrics fell out of favor because its proponents used steroids. Proponents of isotonic exercise have use roids for years, and that form of exercise hasn't fallen out of favor (its actually quite popular now). Whatever reason it was, it could not have been roids; if steroids where the reason isometrics fell out of favor then, weight training should have fallen out of favor also.
That's what the reference says though, so that's what we write in the article. Another part of the problem was (I think discussed in the reference) difficulty in measuring progress beyond subjective sensations associated with isometrics. WLU

Regarding that "isometrics only works at a certain angle," I disagree from personal experience. I have done everything; bowflex, dumbells, and the Atlas system. All 3 will nuke my bodyparts just the same.

I have a textbook that disagrees with you, and references trump personal experience every time :) WLU
do the people who wrote the referenced works even work out? How do we know those doctors weren't paid by gyms who don't want to go out of business? Are these people really doctors, or merely sports physiologists? How old is the text book? Also, when they make those statements about strength angles, where there any lab experiments done to compare and contrast a weight training group as opposed to an isometric group? I maintain that in the sports physiology world there is way too much bias regarding the issue. Appeal to authority is a logical fallacy you know.
    1. Doesn't matter if they work out, it's the scientific method that trumps personal experience. Researchers in universities generally aren't paid by companies, they get grants from government funding bodies; those who get private grants are usually considered suspect.
    2. Bowflex, dumbells and Atlas systems are not isometrics unless you are holding them in fixed positions.
    3. My opinion would be that basic info on biology in textbooks doesn't get old.
    4. See reference 6, "Specificity of joint angle..." It's not an appeal to authority, it's an appeal to research. An appeal to authority would be saying "Charles Atlas and Arnold Schwarzenegger say isometrics work". Also check out the NASA references. WLU 19:34, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

My main gripe with the Atlas system though is that it doesn't build a whole of definition, and you have to do other things for toning, whereas with weight training you can build and tone both at once. I will admit; using the Atlas system by itself you can drop your bodyfat percentage down to 7 eating six meals a day, taking vitamis, etc, but, you can forget about toning. It will make the muscles bigger, thicker and stronger though.

Page is about isometric exercise, not the 'Atlas system'. WLU

Regarding the whole angle thing, again; my heart seems to be beating just fine, and personally, I think a lot of the stuff in the "disadvantages" section is mostly bias. After all, if people started using their bodies as "weight machines" of sorts, that would put a lot of gyms out of business.

Considering I wrote most of the section, I don't own a gym, and I sourced it from my exercise physiology classes and scientific journals, I disagree. WLU
Well, I would have to see lab experiements; the hypothesis being, Isometrics works just as well, or better, at building up muscle tissue and strength than weight training. You have an Isometric test group, and of course a weight training control group. Both engage in their respective regiments, and who ever makes the most strength gains overall at the end of 3 months wins. If you have any lab experiment sources on this, I'll galdly visit the university in question's page.
    1. The reference is there, you are free to look it up at your local university library or check out the on-line abstract. I believe the word you are looking for is 'regimen' by the way, Regiment is a military unit.
    2. If you can find a paper published in a peer-reviewed journal that supports your point, feel free to add it to the page. I'll try checking in my textbook when I get home and see if I can dig up the specific journal articles on joint angle to put in.
      1. Universities don't publish research, journals do.
    3. 3 months would barely break past the neurological training period in untrained subjects.
    4. People don't 'win' in research, instead, society wins through an increase in knowledge. Best you could say is that there is a better way of training for strength.
    5. As a final point, do you train your sticking points, like the 5-10 degrees of joint angle in a bicep curl where the elbow is at or around a right angle? That's also an example of joint-angle specific training. WLU 19:34, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

Another thing not mentioned in this article is tendon training; isometrics works much better than isotonics in training the tendons.

Strenghtening the tendons is just as important as strenghthening the muscles. Very few people who lift weights will train both muscles, and tendons, and as a result they don't have peak physical strength. The few that train their tendons (that I've seen) are often horrifically strong.

Feel free to add it, if you can find a reference it would really enhance the page. WLU 12:20, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
Hmm.... gonna have to look for it. I know I saw it somewhere. You study exercise physiology? Ask your professor about tendon training. Generally speaking tendon training involves lifting your max weight, lifting it half way, and then holding it for 10 seconds. The strain affects the tendon more than it does the muscle fiber.
    1. I'm out of school, so no professor, and they're usually not too interested in trends in the weight lifting community.
    2. That really sounds like training a specific joint-angle, I can't think of a biological reason why the tendon would get hit more than the muscle fiber. Tendon's don't move weight anyway, contractile proteins do. Tendon's are just there as a convenient point to concentrate the force, with a tissue tough enough not to rip in half with heavy loads.
    3. Half-way through a movement would mean that the weight is at the furthest point away from the fulcrum (elbow for a bicep curl), meaning the muscle is subjected to the greatest stress and has the least mechanical disadvantage (see third-class levers). This means that the muscle is subject to its greatest isometric load and is held until the ATP/CP phosphagen system gives out, essentially an isometric contraction at the point where the msucle is weakest. This would be an ideal way of making yourself seem/feel stronger, because you are training the joint angle where the muscle is weakest (as sticking point training, but isometric rather than isotonic). It would strenghten the hell out of the tendon 'cause it's a maximal contraction, but would hit the muscle for exactly the same reason (hence why people doing it are horrifically strong). Tendon training would seem a misnomer to me, but I'd have to see an explicit breakdown of what it actually is. WLU 19:34, 9 March 2007 (UTC)

later —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 01:48, 8 March 2007 (UTC).

Tendon Training[edit]

The first website address talks about tendong trainign through using a maximal load, but, a very short contraction. I am not sure it will be acceptable for this article.

The second site, because it is a ".org" I feel has more reliable information, or at least, more reliable than a ".com" website. Not only that but because the ".org" webiste talks about the effects isometrics has on the tendons, it is more relevant to this one. Now, I just sought out a discussion, not a contribution, so, if you wish to enhance the article with the above link, feel free to do so. I really do not wish to go through the channels to put all this stuff there and I would not know how to include it in the article.

Like I said before, isometrics is far more beneficial for the tendons than it is for the muscles. Regarding the whole muscle torque and "angle" thing though, I still disagree. I always thought that muscle contraction and cellular deterioration happened regardless of what kind of resistance the muscles were exerting against, and regardless of whether or not that resistance was actual weight, or (as with the bowflex) bending something, or for that matter the range of motion. I figured since the muscles receive a neurological impulse, whether it is an isometric or isotonic contraction, sooner or later the cells have to start pumping out battery acid right?

I feel that the "it is only strong at an angle" assertion is unfair largely because there is a lot of research into traditional weight training, but hardly any research on isometrics. Basically, I personally think there is no research on the benefits of isometrics simply because sports people just aren't interested.

True enough; the Atlas system does ressemble isometrics, but its not. In order to work the biceps, for example, in that system, one arm pushes against the other powerfully, but in short bursts. Also, the arm getting the bicep work barely moves an inch beyond its position. Because you are resisting so strongly with the other arm to really get a good burn, the arm in which you work the bicep, I don't think, is supposed to move that far beyond its starting angle. There is SOME movement, but not a whole lot. I see why it would be easy to confuse it with isometrics.

The short bursts in the arm training of the Atlas system trains the muscles better than isometrics obviously; Charles Atla's physique was proof of that. Also, I noticed that Charles Atlas' system does closely ressemble the principles of tendon training outlined in the source I presented. Tendon training involves getting maximum weight (acutally, according to that site 150%), and moving it a very short distance. When working any of the arm muscles in the atlas system, you do move the arms but only about a centimeter. With Isometrics it is my understanding that you make a lifting movement against something unmovable, and then hold the position for up to 10 seconds. Witht he atlas system, the bursts only last about 2, for about 10 repetitions.

My own personal observation is that because the Atlas system trains the tendons so vigorously, that is the reason Charles Atlas himself was so strong for his size. He stood at 5'10, 180lbs, by my estimate around 10% bodyfat or a little beneath, and had 17 inch arms. I forgot his thigh and calf measurements, and his waistline. Whatever they were though, he was ideally proportioned.

One of his feats of strength was pulling the motor car of a train. Its not significant since other strong men have done it; what is significant though is Charles Atla's size. To generate that much power from so little mass is truly extraordinary, and it is part of the reason the system got my attention.

See, with weight training, you can not traing both muscles and tendons at once. You have to have separate training sessions, and doing a tendon training routine during your traditional session would be infefficient since it requires a 150% load! This is to say, you go in, you start your work out, but, you only train muscles. Although I suppose you COULD include tendon training into the sets, but without doing the 150% load. Problem is, it would not be very efficient, it would be time consuming, even dangerous.

With the Atlas system though, muscle training and joint/ligament strengthening is taken care of in one efficient 30 minute work out.

Call me a heretic, but, when it comes to tendon training, I'm sticking with isometrics. I do recognize the limits it has on muscle structure though; the muscle may only get strong at an angle, but, the tendon itself will grow so strong it really would not make that much of a difference.

Truth be told, if isometrics is so beneficial for the tendons, it would be advisable to do isometrics first before moving on to more traditional strength training with weights.

Just my thoughts.

I hope at least, the second link is acceptable as a source to enhance the article.

later. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 03:51, 15 March 2007 (UTC).

Isometric vs. isotonic[edit]

Why is isometric exercise better at causing muscle hypertrophy than isotonic exercise? "Hypertrophy occurs to a much greater extent when the muscle is loaded during the contractile process." This quote is from a physiology text -- is this just another way of saying that if there is a constant force against the force of contraction (as there is in isometric), a greater hypertrophy will occur? Thanx. DRosenbach (Talk | Contribs) 00:53, 18 July 2007 (UTC)

Isometric isn't better, I'd say isotonic is. That quote doesn't distinguish between isometric and isotonic exercise. Muscles undergo contraction for isometric, isotonic and eccentric contraction and the force would be pretty much constant for all types. I'd interpret the quote to say that hypertrophy is more likely to occur when weight (beyond body weight) is used. In other words, weights work better than aerobics for muscular hypertrophy. WLU 23:31, 18 July 2007 (UTC)
Yes, but isn't opposing force from one's own body no worse than weights? I mean, what's the difference if you lift a 5 lb. dumbell or try to push against your other hand which is providing 5 pounds of opposing force? I don't claim that I'm right, I'm just trying to figure this out...thanx :) DRosenbach (Talk | Contribs) 23:53, 18 July 2007 (UTC)
There's a difference between bodyweight and isometric contractions. Bodyweight is the simple weight of your forearm when you contract your bicep. An isometric contraction produces force far beyond the force required to move your forearm; generally it's close to the maximum force output that a muscle can produce. You move your forearm, it's maybe 5 lbs. You move your forearm plus a weight, it's the weight of the forearm, the weight of the dumbell at the end of a long lever. You contract isometrically, say holding your forearm down with your other hand, you're trembling, shaking, the muscle starts to warm up and burn, even though it doesn't actually move. From first to last there's a progressive increase in the force output, metabolic activity, blood flow, caloric requirements, nerve activation, and above all cycling of the acto-myosin cross-bridges. But in my mind, the middle one produces the greatest hypertrophy. WLU 00:05, 19 July 2007 (UTC)

Disadvantage or advantage?[edit]

isometrics had to be trained on different angles but isotonic reps doesnt train all angles at maximum force. If you train isometrics with different angles you can get maximum force for every angle.—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

"Father of isometrics": alexander zass[edit]

you should mark Alexander Zass as markable isometric body builder. :) —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 11:44, August 22, 2007 (UTC)

muscle physiology[edit]

Whether held in place, or moving a weight, a contraction is a contraction, and a nervous signal is a nervous signal. Also, as to the effectiveness of isometrics, I need to point out that Charles Atlas was able to pull the motor car of a train when he was over 60 years old. True enough, men of the "Strongman" competition have all done the same but, here's the kicker; Charles Atlas weighed in at only 180lbs, standing at 5'10. The majority of the competitors in "strongman" competitions nearly all weigh over 250, with weights as high as 320 not at all uncommon.

You want to argue the effectiveness of weights vs isometrics, you should look at the proportionate physical strength of Charles Atlas and modern day power lifters first. How many 180lbs bodybuilders who use weights can pull the motor car of a train? Clearly, the isometric like exercises of Charles Atlas are far superior to weights. Also, that whole "angle" thing is ridiculous; to muscle fibers, whether stationary or moving, a contraction is a contraction, they really do not diferentiate. If anything holding a muscle in place causes the use of more muscle fibers. Hence the reason why Charles Atlas himself was a lot stronger per square inch of bodymass than modern day power lifters.

Regarding the funding for research in isotonics, IT IS suspect; if Atla's dynamic tension, or isometrics came into the scene, a lot of gyms would loose a lot of money. In fact, gym franchise owner Joe Gold, founder of Gold's gym, had a reputation as being somewhat of a swindler, going so far as to defame the names of his competitors. I find it very suspicious as to how much research there is on isotonic strength training, considering how much money gyms everywhere have to gain.

Please check the strength performance of Charles Atlas as opposed to modern strongmen before you question the effectiveness of isometrics. And yes, not all his exercises were isometric, but, enough were for large enough portions of his body. That is, enough, to significantly affect his body's performance.

Besides, what is the precise physiological evidence that isotonics work strength in their full range of motion? I need laboratory numbers please, I need tests, I need comparisons. Have team A do isometric strength training, and team B do isotonic, and see who gets stronger the fastest in proportion to their body weight. If team B wins, then you can call it an adequate lab experiment. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:41, 9 February 2008 (UTC)


Can someone provide some good examples of Isometric exercises (in particular pictures/photographs or drawings etc)? Some how the article feels difficult to grasp.

Henry123ifa (talk) 16:15, 23 May 2012 (UTC)

I second this (but will leave such work to an expert). TheZuza777 (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 19:53, 2 July 2017 (UTC)