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Other/Mixed New training block, Isometrics as primary resistance training

Other strength modalities (e.g., Clubs), mixed strength modalities (e.g., combined kettlebell and barbell), other goals (flexibility)

Ricky01

Level 6 Valued Member
@Ricky01 When using OS movements to teach the body new ranges of motion like you described, how do you approach learning to move with strength in that new range?

Apologies for derailing the thread somewhat..
Hey

So sorry, I haven't been back on since my last post.

Great question - I don't always 'teach' them in a formal sense. What happens more readily is that we become used to moving in this new range and this allows us to exhibit more strength in it.

Although saying that, there is the use of reset progressions..
For example, if a client was restricted in rocking due to issues at the hip .... and over time this movement improved so that pain was not an issue and range of motion had improved - we could progress this reset and load it eg band resistance. This would allow the knees to stay down which allowed them to feel safe in the movement (maintaining points of contact with the floor). Alternatively we could lift the knees up - initially just up and down and then to small range rocking again.

I think once a progression has been applied it is ok to initially shorten the range again. This allows the person to feel safer and to remove the mental block, which will then quickly remove physical blocks.

I hope that answers your question.

Richard
 

3letterslong

Level 6 Valued Member
Update that crosses over maybe with some of the nutrition threads and generally re isometrics. Am back up to 199lbs, about 5 lbs from my target and drop 2lbs of bf, hold that for the next 20 years…

Dude, you are a freaking beast. I really think you should write a book about isometric training (and even your thoughts on training in general) because I will pay money for it.
 

3letterslong

Level 6 Valued Member
I didn't know where else to post this, so I'm going to post it here: extreme isometrics are feeling amazing to me. Something happened, some convergence of my breathing exercises and my physical exercises, and I'm now able to go into a zone where I can do them without feeling much pain at all. And it's not a zone where I'm shutting down so I don't feel pain, it's the opposite: I'm still present and aware, but my pain tolerance is sky high. I don't feel any burning or pain from forcing a stretch at the end ROM until it starts creeping in at the end of the two minutes.

I'm up to two-minute holds (except for hanging) for lunges, push-ups, hangs, wall squats, good mornings, modified dip support holds and modified Pelican Curls. I'm able to exert effort to pull myself deeper for the entire time, I'm not just hanging out. Afterwards, I just feel amazing. I feel like I could do them every day.

I have no idea if they're actually doing anything else for me, but I feel great doing them. Breathing, maintaining calm, maintaining posture is key. I want to add a third day where I'm doing oscillating isometrics like North Coast Miller is describing. I want some of his muscle and might.
 

3letterslong

Level 6 Valued Member
Also, a few weeks ago I mentioned that I had read something about long isometrics being used to access the cori cycle. Here's a podcast about it I just found in my bookmarks:


Here is a summary and some quotes (copied from the link):

Timestamps and Main Points

5:05 Why do an “extreme isometric” for 5 minutes, instead of just 2-3 minutes in length

17:40 What Mark sees in the midst of fatigue in an extreme isometric hold and how this resonates with what happens in sport and life itself in uncomfortable circumstances

26:00 The role and sequence of breathing in isometrics and exercise in general and how it contributes to one’s results and recovery from other bouts of training

33:00 Staying in a parasympathetic state, and letting the body choose when it wants to go sympathetic

35:00 The role of intention and focus in isometric lunges and beyond

43:50 Thoughts on the idea of using one energy system to recover another, and how a longer duration burst can improve a lower duration burst and vice versa



“The last 2 minutes (of a 5 minute extreme isometric) is when you can really tap into that Cori cycle”
“When we lose focus during (those last minutes of an extreme isometric lunge), we have to restart the (energetic) process”
“It’s not so much like, I need to grunt it out and hold that 5 minutes because it’s going to make me better at what I’m doing. It’s more about how much can I stay focused and how much can I hold the intention of what I’m doing in that 3-5’ window is going exponentially make you more successful at whatever you are trying to accomplish outside the isometric”
“When you talk to yourself (positively) you release dopamine; and dopamine is going to help you hold on (to the isometric) slightly longer. Changing how you view yourself is going to help you hold on to that isometric”
“When visual people start to suffer (in an isometric) their eyes start wandering… if you are an auditory person, you are going to yell a lot, and if you are kinesthetic, those are the figety ones”
“Isometrics will teach you to keep calm through real life situations”
“Exhaling longer than you inhale gets you more CO2 tolerance… if you are a stressful or anxious person, your body cannot tolerate CO2 very well”
“When I do my isometrics, I try to breathe in for 4 seconds, out for 8, every single time”
“You can trick your brain to think you are staying calm and collected by using slow breathing”
“It’s about letting the body decide when you need to be in (the sympathetic state) versus amping yourself up for it. We know that staying in that state for long periods of time is not good for anything”
“If you can hold onto an intention you can keep acetylcholine from breaking down”
“When you stand erect, you will actually release serotonin while being in that position”
“Every time you do an isometric, you need to ask, “what is my intention behind this isometric”
“We have 4 systems, the initiation of muscle contraction (ATP), we have the anaerobic, followed by the aerobic, and lastly the Cori cycle. Every time you enter one of the systems, it recovers the previous system”
“When we train, we train to recover and we don’t train to strain” (Jay Schroeder)
“The harder I gave effort into my “recovery” exercise, then the more I would feel explosive in the first exercise I was doing”
“Our body uses gluco-neogenesis a little to make sure we can wake up and start our day without having to eat something”
 

North Coast Miller

Level 8 Valued Member
This is how my dynamic tension looks for hinge day:


For upper body I’ve been working in some straight up dynamic tension of a type I initially rejected - symmetrical opposing muscle groups. I believe this can be/is effective if done mostly at long muscle length. Example bench:
grab the bar with a wide grip and pull into lowest position bar on chest. Exert force hand to hand MVC, and slowly press the bar, maintaining MVC. The bar reduces the amount of antagonist muscle needed to move the joints through an abbreviated ROM - roughly the lower 50%. Pulling exercises can be done using a very small loop in the same manner. The advantage to using this method instead of the upper vs lower eccentric overload is a greater activation of smaller support muscles, and you don’t have to worry that you aren’t really resisting as much as you feel when forcing the muscle to lengthen.

Bottom line, it really seems like once you pay your dues, the range of effective application opens up a bit. This might be what
@3letterslong is noticing as well.
 

3letterslong

Level 6 Valued Member
@3letterslong can you shed some light on your breathing exercises? I also started to experiment with isometrics, including extreme iso.

I laid them all out here: Other/Mixed - A Mental Program Minimum

I would say it's not just the breathing, it's also the body awareness / relaxation. I seem to need both. It took me a long period of fruitless practise before things clicked, so you might have to stick with it. I honestly don't know why I persisted with them except that I had nothing else to try, but I'm glad I did.
 

Ricky01

Level 6 Valued Member
This is how my dynamic tension looks for hinge day:


For upper body I’ve been working in some straight up dynamic tension of a type I initially rejected - symmetrical opposing muscle groups. I believe this can be/is effective if done mostly at long muscle length. Example bench:
grab the bar with a wide grip and pull into lowest position bar on chest. Exert force hand to hand MVC, and slowly press the bar, maintaining MVC. The bar reduces the amount of antagonist muscle needed to move the joints through an abbreviated ROM - roughly the lower 50%. Pulling exercises can be done using a very small loop in the same manner. The advantage to using this method instead of the upper vs lower eccentric overload is a greater activation of smaller support muscles, and you don’t have to worry that you aren’t really resisting as much as you feel when forcing the muscle to lengthen.

Bottom line, it really seems like once you pay your dues, the range of effective application opens up a bit. This might be what
@3letterslong is noticing as well.
Love the side to side pulls....we often don't pull entirely symmetrically in life and this mimics that.
 

Ricky01

Level 6 Valued Member
I didn't know where else to post this, so I'm going to post it here: extreme isometrics are feeling amazing to me. Something happened, some convergence of my breathing exercises and my physical exercises, and I'm now able to go into a zone where I can do them without feeling much pain at all. And it's not a zone where I'm shutting down so I don't feel pain, it's the opposite: I'm still present and aware, but my pain tolerance is sky high. I don't feel any burning or pain from forcing a stretch at the end ROM until it starts creeping in at the end of the two minutes.

I'm up to two-minute holds (except for hanging) for lunges, push-ups, hangs, wall squats, good mornings, modified dip support holds and modified Pelican Curls. I'm able to exert effort to pull myself deeper for the entire time, I'm not just hanging out. Afterwards, I just feel amazing. I feel like I could do them every day.

I have no idea if they're actually doing anything else for me, but I feel great doing them. Breathing, maintaining calm, maintaining posture is key. I want to add a third day where I'm doing oscillating isometrics like North Coast Miller is describing. I want some of his muscle and might.
Are you currently doing max holds twice a week?

Have you ever tried having a set time of eg 5 minutes. If you fail at say 2 minutes, you pause for a few seconds and then get straight back into it. Rinse and repeat until you accumulate 5 minutes of the hold.

From the timings you listed from Mark Wetzel, can you imagine taking your holds from 2 minutes to 5? Doesn't sound much until you try it haha. Awesome work on your progress.

Richard
 

3letterslong

Level 6 Valued Member
Are you currently doing max holds twice a week?

Yep, Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Have you ever tried having a set time of eg 5 minutes. If you fail at say 2 minutes, you pause for a few seconds and then get straight back into it. Rinse and repeat until you accumulate 5 minutes of the hold.

I haven't tried to accumulate five minutes, but I'm thinking about it. I'm also not really doing max holds. I was doing ninety second holds, but that became easy, so I jumped up to two minutes and when those become easy I'll jump to two-and-a-half minutes. Sometimes they're more uncomfortable than other times, but I don't ever feel like I'm hitting failure.

From the timings you listed from Mark Wetzel, can you imagine taking your holds from 2 minutes to 5? Doesn't sound much until you try it haha. Awesome work on your progress.

Thank you! I'm actually shocked by how easy my progress was because it wasn't physical accommodation that happened, it was purely psychological. I went from struggling with painful 90 second holds to breezing through mildly uncomfortable 90 second holds, literally overnight. One morning I woke up and felt remarkably calm and relaxed the entire day. It was actually kind of spooky how quiet the world was without thoughts racing through my head. Suspecting something significant was happening, I experimentally did some extreme isometric holds and found that I could hold 60 seconds as if it was nothing -- and I was REALLY pulling into them, trying to make them hurt.

Tommy John talks about how hard it is to maintain a tight core during extreme iso push-ups because your body is going to feel pain and go into panic mode and it is absolutely not going to waste energy keeping your midsection from sagging, but I stood up out of my 60 second push-up hold and immediately noticed that I wasn't really breathing hard, certainly didn't feel trembling or exhausted, and I had maintained a perfect plank the entire time, with no sagging. It was shocking.

I honestly think getting to five minutes will be entirely mental. I haven't had a day as incredibly peaceful as that first one, but since then I've been able to get back to a state close to it whenever I want.

Tim Anderson has said that there's really no difference between two minute crawls, ten minute crawls or forty-five minute crawls: it's all a matter of reassuring his body that the physical discomfort it feels is okay. I think that's exactly what it takes to hit 5 minute isometric holds.
 

Ricky01

Level 6 Valued Member
Yep, Tuesdays and Thursdays.



I haven't tried to accumulate five minutes, but I'm thinking about it. I'm also not really doing max holds. I was doing ninety second holds, but that became easy, so I jumped up to two minutes and when those become easy I'll jump to two-and-a-half minutes. Sometimes they're more uncomfortable than other times, but I don't ever feel like I'm hitting failure.



Thank you! I'm actually shocked by how easy my progress was because it wasn't physical accommodation that happened, it was purely psychological. I went from struggling with painful 90 second holds to breezing through mildly uncomfortable 90 second holds, literally overnight. One morning I woke up and felt remarkably calm and relaxed the entire day. It was actually kind of spooky how quiet the world was without thoughts racing through my head. Suspecting something significant was happening, I experimentally did some extreme isometric holds and found that I could hold 60 seconds as if it was nothing -- and I was REALLY pulling into them, trying to make them hurt.

Tommy John talks about how hard it is to maintain a tight core during extreme iso push-ups because your body is going to feel pain and go into panic mode and it is absolutely not going to waste energy keeping your midsection from sagging, but I stood up out of my 60 second push-up hold and immediately noticed that I wasn't really breathing hard, certainly didn't feel trembling or exhausted, and I had maintained a perfect plank the entire time, with no sagging. It was shocking.

I honestly think getting to five minutes will be entirely mental. I haven't had a day as incredibly peaceful as that first one, but since then I've been able to get back to a state close to it whenever I want.

Tim Anderson has said that there's really no difference between two minute crawls, ten minute crawls or forty-five minute crawls: it's all a matter of reassuring his body that the physical discomfort it feels is okay. I think that's exactly what it takes to hit 5 minute isometric holds.
As someone that has crawled for over an hour in one go, I can agree with that.

With ISO's I do still find it hard to actively pull and hold for a 'long' time. Trying to pull my front foot backwards and back foot forwards thr entire time on a lunge AND hit 3+ minutes, is no joke.

Though saying that my 2.30 pushup hold involved a lot of intent in the form of squeezing shoulder blades together firing rhomboids, mid traps etc....and squeezing biceps as well.

Richard
 

3letterslong

Level 6 Valued Member
Trying to pull my front foot backwards and back foot forwards thr entire time on a lunge

This is the frustrating thing about extreme isos: nobody seems to know how Schroeder does them, so everyone has their own version. Some people do hangs as dead hangs, some actively shrug their shoulders up for maximum stretch, some do them as active hangs, and others as flexed-arm hangs.

When it comes to lunges, the version you're doing didn't work for me. I don't know why. Luckily, I stumbled across a description of the exercise like this: with your front leg (heel raised), you're pulling your heel back and your knee up; with your rear leg, you're flexing your buttock hard as though you're trying to lift your rear heel off the ground and flexing your quad hard, pushing your rear heal towards the wall; you're also flexing your abs to maintain a tall, upright posture, instead of turning your pelvis down or leaning forward. This pulls me MUCH deeper into the stretch, hurts a heck of a lot more, and just feels more productive to me (in terms of teaching my muscles to fire properly and reintroducing my body to the range of motion I SHOULD have except that I've spent decades sitting down).

Though saying that my 2.30 pushup hold involved a lot of intent in the form of squeezing shoulder blades together firing rhomboids, mid traps etc....and squeezing biceps as well.

I kind of solved this accidentally. I didn't notice the signficance of it at first, but all the videos I saw of extreme iso push-ups were on solid objects -- weight plates, chairs, benches, etc. I'm doing them on tall push-up handles (which are then on cinder blocks), like these:

images

What that means is they're tall enough to be pushed over as I lower myself between them, so I HAVE to pull in with my biceps. I have no other choice.
 

3letterslong

Level 6 Valued Member
As someone that has crawled for over an hour in one go, I can agree with that.

That is incredible! You're an absolute beast! I can't imagine crawling for an hour, but I bet I would be an unstoppable grappler if I could. Did you notice carryover into your other physical activities from having a body that could crawl that long?
 

Ricky01

Level 6 Valued Member
This is the frustrating thing about extreme isos: nobody seems to know how Schroeder does them, so everyone has their own version. Some people do hangs as dead hangs, some actively shrug their shoulders up for maximum stretch, some do them as active hangs, and others as flexed-arm hangs.

When it comes to lunges, the version you're doing didn't work for me. I don't know why. Luckily, I stumbled across a description of the exercise like this: with your front leg (heel raised), you're pulling your heel back and your knee up; with your rear leg, you're flexing your buttock hard as though you're trying to lift your rear heel off the ground and flexing your quad hard, pushing your rear heal towards the wall; you're also flexing your abs to maintain a tall, upright posture, instead of turning your pelvis down or leaning forward. This pulls me MUCH deeper into the stretch, hurts a heck of a lot more, and just feels more productive to me (in terms of teaching my muscles to fire properly and reintroducing my body to the range of motion I SHOULD have except that I've spent decades sitting down).



I kind of solved this accidentally. I didn't notice the signficance of it at first, but all the videos I saw of extreme iso push-ups were on solid objects -- weight plates, chairs, benches, etc. I'm doing them on tall push-up handles (which are then on cinder blocks), like these:

images

What that means is they're tall enough to be pushed over as I lower myself between them, so I HAVE to pull in with my biceps. I have no other choice.
That lunge tip is a good one. Really take my hat off to anyone that can sustain it physically or mentally for 5 minutes.

Richard
 

Ricky01

Level 6 Valued Member
That is incredible! You're an absolute beast! I can't imagine crawling for an hour, but I bet I would be an unstoppable grappler if I could. Did you notice carryover into your other physical activities from having a body that could crawl that long?
It was a journey. 65 minutes backwards and at a later date 66 minutes forwards (after all that duration I had to beat my PB by 1 minute haha).

I discovered a one arm pushup, additional pullups, easier pistol etc.

The reason I stopped doing it as often (and it had been all I had done for 2+ years) was that I thought of myself as kind of a minimalist. I then realised that one movement might make you a minimalist, but an hour of it doesn't haha.
It's also physiologically hard to get psyched up for knowing you will just be crawling around the garden for the next hour.

I do miss it though haha.

My dog walk this morning up a local hill could involve some backwards crawling.

Richard
 

Training for Life

Level 5 Valued Member
Some absolute golden nuggets in the thread again, thank you everyone contributing!

Regarding extreme isos, apart from the lunge, which do you feel are the best bang for the buck positions?
 
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Ricky01

Level 6 Valued Member
Some absolute golden nuggets in the thread again, thank you everyone contributing!

Regarding extreme isos, apart from the lunge, which do you feel are the best bang for the buck positions?
For me - hang and bottom of pushup.
Something to consider that doesn't get a lot of press, is the top of a pushup (corkscrewing hands into floor and squeezing arms into sides) as well as lieing prone, on knuckles (as if you're about to do a knuckle pushup) and then try and draw elbows together and pull hands off the floor.
These are both different as you are in a shortened muscular/closed joint position, not a lengthened one, but they are both great.

Richard
 

North Coast Miller

Level 8 Valued Member






Isometric set structure, 20 seconds on, 20 seconds off



  • MVC static hold
  • Dynamic Tension
  • Full relax, 100% On pulses


Isometric tricep press and overhead press. Two different approaches to applying dynamic tension principles:

Tricep press simply lower hips to extend the afrms a little while pressing MVC, and drive up, overloading the triceps.



Overhead press, take a wide grip and attempt to drive hands toward each other with MVC. Press the bar while maintaining MVC. Pretty good grip work as well. OHP can also be executed pretty much identical to tricep press, with dynamic component provided by leg drive instead.



These two are part of a whole body session Squat, OHP, Hamstring Curl, Tricep Press. Finish with some abs and stretching.



For many years I thought dynamic tension was 90% BS, even though a lot old timey strongmen used it. Now I feel it is 90% how specifically it is applied. Part of that, it has to be joined with other techniques/approaches and from a foundation of basic overcoming isometric competence.
 
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