Custom Search

Friday, July 30, 2010

Aerobic Isometrics

30 July 2010

Aerobic isometrics have been around for a while, but were little known to the public until Ironmind published Steve Justa's excellent book Rock, Iron, Steel. In a twist of the classic functional isometric contraction theory, where one exerts a brief 100% effort against an immovable object for 6-7 seconds, the contraction is longer but at a suitably lower intensity (30-40% is suggested).

I decided to use my long TNT cables for this. It is pretty much impossible to gauge the intensity of the contraction over such a long period of time, so the cables keep me honest - I stretch them to the desired position and hold them there for as long as possible. This is important: after 20-25 seconds the effort seems closer to 60%, and toward the end of the set my muscles are shaking badly and the handles are almost impossible to hold in position.

Some exercises were tough to set up with cables, so I reverted to the Universal Strength Apparatus sold by - the best suspension device on the market, also doubles handily as a portable isometric power rack.

I used light cable resistance and aimed for one minute - long contractions. Made it on most sets, had to cut it short on a few of them. Some exercises I used were:

Bicep curl 3 positions
Tricep exercises - pushdowns, overhead extensions
Horizontal row 2 positions
Chest press 2 positions
Bent-over row 1 position
Straight arm pulldown to sides 2 positions

Some exercises used with the USA:

Bent press
Lateral raise

A few sets of one-minute wall sits

Etc., etc.

This is decent low-intensity work, burns like hell while you're doing it but doesn't strain the joints.It also feels like I could do it a few times a week without interfering with my other training.