Fitmark Ambassador Robin Romero encourages you to hold on when you reach the peak of your lift, push or pull when you’re weight training to increase gains
“Hold On.” Do you remember that song by Wilson Phillips? Yup, it’s on my iPod. I have it there for two main reasons. Firstly, I believe in laughter and that song always conjures up memories of the movies “Harold and Kumar Go To Whitecastle” and “Bridesmaids” which are both horribly hilarious films. Secondly, the song is a mental note to me to “hold on” while I’m in the weight room.
So what do I mean by that? Next time you go to the gym, take a minute or two to observe people lifting weights. You’ll see people kipping and swinging and breaking form to do whatever they possibly can to move that weight around. You’ll also see some people with great form controlling the movement of their weights. The point is, you see a lot of movement. But how often do you see someone lift a weight and hold it at the peak of movement? That technique of just holding a weight at the peak of movement is referred to as isometric exercise. Focusing on the peak contraction of the muscle – the straight legs of a leg extension, the top of a bicep curl, the straight “T” arms of a lateral raise? Not very often.
This is a very under-utilized method of training but a highly effective one. Isometric exercises do not have to involve using a free weight. The “plank” has long been touted as the very staple of core strengthening. That is also an isometric exercise – it’s no the movement to get into the plank position that builds strength, it’s the holding of the position by contracting of muscles that builds strength.
Take a look at Olympic gymnasts. One of the very first physical attributes you’ll notice on them is beautifully capped deltoids (shoulders.) Why is that? Do you think they’re spending time in the gym every week trying to PR their lateral raises and shoulder presses? No way! They’re busting their butts in the gymnasium perfecting handstands and iron crosses – strength moves that not only don’t require added weight, but they’re all about focusing on that static hold!
Try incorporating some isometric exercises into your routine. Not only will you build strength – but you’ll aid in bringing out some beautiful muscle definition. Plus it gives you an excuse to flex and pose in the mirror – because that simple act of flexing your muscle is an isometric exercise!
Fitmark Ambassador 2014
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