Now for the fun stuff! When I say resistance training I’m mostly talking about the weights. I literally could write a whole book on each type of method, so I am going to cover a variety of different methods with a brief basic overview. Ultimately by the end of the post you should have a basic idea of how you can incorporate this in your own fitness routine. All of these training methods are for athletes and fitness enthusiast who have had a good amount of experience with weights. Newbies will get a lot out of basic weight lifting methods because it is a brand new stimulus to their body but the post will give them some interesting insight to more advanced training methods. I can guarantee that if you been working out for years and have reached that evil word plateau than this post will help you get past that plateau.
Static holds and isometric training have been used by athletic trainers for many years. Isometrics consists of holding a position in a exercise for a given period of time. Here is a list of why this is effective method for sports and fitness.
- Increases intramuscular tension(the amount force needed inside a muscle to overcome a weight or produce a movement)-this will lead to hypertrophy gains and strenth gains
- Increase myogenic tone -myogenic tone is your muscle tone- Performing isometric exercise will give a more toned and harder appearance to your muscle
- Motor unit recruitment- will increase the amount of motor units that you recruit even more so than eccentric and concentric actions
- Creates metabolic stress-since oxygen is cut off during a isometric contraction the muscles will produce lactate which will lead to greater IGF 1 and GH production. IGF 1 and GH are key to inducing muslce mass and lowering bodyfat
- Isometrics increases strength within 20 to 30 degrees from the point the isometric contraction is held at
Almost every athlete or fitness nut wants some of the benefits on this list. Their are many different type of methods that you can use but I am going to list 2 major ones that you will be able to incorporate in your routine.
Quasi isometrics is a dynamic strength exercise with a static/isometric hold during some point of the movement. The Hoffman method is where you push a weight against a immovable object for a certain period of time. An example of this would be to start a barbell squat on a pair of pins and have another pair of pins a foot above the bar in the power rack . You would proceed to do a squat until you hit the pins and you would push against the pins as hard as possible for a given amount of time.. You would want to pick points that your the weakest. If you have trouble popping out the bottom of your squat than put the pins towards the bottom. You cna use this with almost any major barbell lift.
Another type of quasi isometrics is the holding version. The holding version is performing a dynamic strength movements and performing isometric holds at certain points of the movement. An example of this would be doing a squat and at the bottom part perform a static hold and then proceed to complete the squat. I have amazing results with my clients and myself with both of these quasi-isometric methods.
Here is a link to a hoffman isometric squat but you should push against the pins for a longer period of time than shown on the video
EXPOLSIVE-STATIC DYNAMIC EXERCISES
Explosive static dynamic exercises are when you start out a dynamic movement with a isometric hold and then do either explosive reps or a ballistic exercise such as jumps. Here are 2 different ways you can perform explosive-static dynamic exercises
- If you were to do bench press than you would use about 80% of your 1rm and hold it at a weak point for a certain amount of time. You would then rack the bench press and proceed to unrack weight until the weight equalled 60% of your 1rm. Immediately after this is done you would then go on to perform 3 to 6 explosive reps of the bench press moving the bar as fast as possible.
- The second method uses a isometric hold in a part of a movment followed by a ballistic movement. We will use the squat for this example. If you were to perform a squat with about 30 to 50% of your 1rm you would pause at the bottom of the squat for a certain amount of time. After the hold is finished you would explode out of the bottom of the squat jumping in the air. I really like to use this method for a lot of athletes I train because a lot of sports involve being in a static position and then exploding out of it. Examples of this would be when your waiting to get a rebound from a missed shot, exploding out of a three point stance in football, attempting to perform a double leg take down against the cage while someone is trying to resist you, you get the drift
HOW LONG SHOULD I PERFORM STATIC HOLDS
The length of the hold does matter in terms of the goals you are trying to achieve. If you are trying to achieve strength goals than perform hold for 6 seconds with 70-80% of your one rep maximum. If muscle hypertrophy or body composition is your goal than perform the holds for 20-30 seconds. The longer hold will cause a larger amount of metabolic stress leading to hypertrophy gains.
Accommodating resistance is used to adjust to the natural strength curve of a lift. A normal lift will only maximally stimulate the weakest part of the lift. As the bar goes up on the bench press the leverage becomes more advantagous towards the top, so the top of the lift is never fully stimulated. Since accommodating resistance gets stronger towards the top it stimulates the full lift.
The other aspect of accommodating resistance is that it makes you much more explosive. If your lifting a weight especially at high speed than the body will slow down the lift towards the end. An example of this would be when performing squats. As you pop out of the hardest part of the squat your body will naturally practice deceleration to stop itself from giving shock to the joints a. When you perform that squat it really only performs true acceleration at the bottom of the lift and the rest of the lift is deceleration. Since accomodating resistance gets heavier as the lift approaches the end of the movement, it allows the body to accelerate the whole time during the lift.
The two most poplular methods of accommodating resistance are bands and chains
Chains are used for a abrupt loading effect. When you go to the bottom of the lift the chains are completely deloaded on the ground.
When the chains go up the weight increases as more links of the chain comes off the floor which makes you have to accelerate the bar with more explosive force.
Bands are similar to chains in that they increase weight as they stretch out but bands have another aspect to them that chains do not. Bands cause overspeed eccentrics. Overspeed eccentrics is basically the bands speeding up the negative part of your lift. The overspeed eccentrics will increase the stretch reflex function of the human body which will cause an increase in explosive strength and overall power production.
HOW TO USE BANDS AND CHAINS
You can use bands and chains for bench, squat, cleans, deadlift, and many other lifts. In the periodization post I will go over how to use them for dynamic effort and maximal effort days. If your trying to break past some plateaus for hypertrophy gains then use the chains and bands with a good amount of weight for about 5 to 8 repititions. Also for bands do not use for more then three weeks since it really increases the eccentric load and the eccentric load causes the most tears to the muscle fibers, so you want a recovery period. Also this will fatigue the central nervous system which will ultimately lead to plateus or even loss of gains.
Here is a link to band box squats from the strongest gym in the world westside barbell http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WEqq2TKoBzY
Isokinetic devices are machines that are set to a constant speed no matter how much force is placed on the machine. It basically predetermines the velocity that you would be moving at. Since the speed is constant it has benefits for rehabilitation because even if the force a person is producing gets weaker due to fatigue the machine will automatically adjust to the force output by the person.
The problem with isokinetics is that the angular velocity of movments are typically low and only one joint movement is used in a machine. Isokinetics also have a different acceleration and deceleration patterns then normal lifting movements and natural body movements. Isokinetics has probably the best use for swimming and rowing because the force and velocity is similar to the force and velocity used in swimming and rowing.
Here is a link to a isokinetic lat pulldown machine-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WEqq2TKoBzY
Obviously their are many more resistance methods out there such as olympic lifting but I wanted to explain some of the ones that you may have not seen or may have seen but had no idea why a athlete was using those methods. Once again just a reminder that these methods are to be used by athletes and fitness junkies that have a good handle on most major lifts.
Thanks for reading