all posts post new thread

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)

bluejeff

Level 6 Valued Member
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.
Interesting. You mean that you think it needs to be used concurrently with other techniques? I know we had a brief exchange about dynamic tension but I don't recall specifics at the moment... Do you think that overcoming isos help you to be able to contract the "right way?" if that makes sense . . .
 

3letterslong

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?

From what I can tell, Schroeder's original seven positions are some type of hang, bottom of push-up, deep lunge, wall squat, good morning, bottom of dip, and bicep curl. I'm trying to do versions of all of them in the maximally stretched position, except for dips because I don't think my shoulders could handle that yet (so I'm doing them at the top, as a support hold). I'm trying to push the bar away in pull-up hangs to get a big stretch in my lats and I'm doing a modified Pelican curl to hit the bicep in the stretched position (I'm pretty Jay just did a regular barbell curl hold, not going for the stretch). A good tip I found for good mornings was to point the feet out slightly and put the weight on the heels so you can lift the toes/balls of feet off the ground. I'm pretty sure Schroeder graduates the wall-squat to a one-legged squat with your working leg on a box and your non-working leg just hanging in the air.

However, a few coaches carrying on Jay's teachings say you only really need to master the lunge and push-up at first, worrying about the rest later.
 

North Coast Miller

Level 8 Valued Member
Interesting. You mean that you think it needs to be used concurrently with other techniques? I know we had a brief exchange about dynamic tension but I don't recall specifics at the moment... Do you think that overcoming isos help you to be able to contract the "right way?" if that makes sense . . .


I think until one is comfortable firing hard with MVC against an absolute resistance, their system will have a tough time disabling antagonistic noise.

I can also say that the feeling in use is VERY different when these are placed after a static hold compared to being used in a GTG or trial application.

These are just informal observations from relatively short period of time using them in a free-float format (OHP variant) as opposed to the ones that are pit against an active resistance (tricep press variant).

The free float also seem to really attack smaller support muscles more so than the active resistance variety.
 

3letterslong

Level 6 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.

I think I've seen you write in the past that you prefer overcoming isometrics to yielding isometrics, but it looks like after the MVC the tricep press is yielding (or maybe an actual eccentric) and the press is a moving overcoming iso. Are you just mixing them up so you're doing a bit of everything? Or is there something specific you're trying to get from each one? (sorry if you've answered this already, this thread is reaching epic lengths)

I'm going to start adding a day of non-extreme isometric training tonight with horizontal press, vertical press, horizontal pull, vertical pull, squat and hinge.

I'm thinking I'll try to do them like this:

1. fast isometric
2. three progressively stronger isometrics
3. some jolts
4. finish with a yielding isometric / negative or a moving / overcoming isometric

I need a better set-up for squats and deadlifts because right now I have to settle for pistol holds and one-legged deadlift holds.
 

North Coast Miller

Level 8 Valued Member
I think I've seen you write in the past that you prefer overcoming isometrics to yielding isometrics, but it looks like after the MVC the tricep press is yielding (or maybe an actual eccentric) and the press is a moving overcoming iso. Are you just mixing them up so you're doing a bit of everything? Or is there something specific you're trying to get from each one? (sorry if you've answered this already, this thread is reaching epic lengths)

I'm going to start adding a day of non-extreme isometric training tonight with horizontal press, vertical press, horizontal pull, vertical pull, squat and hinge.

I'm thinking I'll try to do them like this:

1. fast isometric
2. three progressively stronger isometrics
3. some jolts
4. finish with a yielding isometric / negative or a moving / overcoming isometric

I need a better set-up for squats and deadlifts because right now I have to settle for pistol holds and one-legged deadlift holds.
Have gotten to a point where I feel I need some change in muscle length. This is to increase hypertrophic response but also to reduce DOMS when exposed to unfamiliar stresses.

The tricep press is more of an eccentric, although I am pressing as hard as I can on the extension as well.

Yes, the OHP is an overcoming iso through a range. Some muscle groups cannot be made to fight each other 1:1, so some other approach is needed, as with those DL analogs, tricep, bicep. Am only shooting for a modest ROM.
 

3letterslong

Level 6 Valued Member
Haven’t tested against any sandbag lifts in a long time. Grabbed my 105lb from a cold start and hit 24 reps OHP off the knuckles, rep 25 was sooo darn close.

Tested these last year and hit 20, so at least am not treading water or going backward. Will have to test loaded pushups soon.

That's amazing! Sandbags are not easy creatures to lift.

I did my first North Coast Miller isometric tonight and really enjoyed it. I did it after a quick OS warm-up and 5x10 full-power kettlebell swings. I had intended on doing six exercises, but eliminated the vertical pull and vertical push. Did towel split squat, towel tripod one-legged deadlift, towel push-ups on the floor and towel bent over rows (while also holding DBs in my hands with the towel).

I did this, assembled from this very thread:

-fast isometrics
-three progressively harder MVC attempts
-50% jolts
-moving isometric or forced yielding / negative

And I made sure I pre-loaded every exercise, which you do and which Dragondoor claims is one of the major secret sauce ingredients of the isochain: most overcoming isometric workouts don't fire the loading reflex, which is why they tossed a chain on the machine and why you lean.

I definitely liked being able to focus on what my joints were TRYING to do and noticed some difficulties in my left quad that have escaped my notice until now. In the past I've done a lot of yielding isometrics because they were easy to track (count the seconds on a metronome), but shied away from overcoming isometrics because I had no way of knowing if they were improving as I was doing them. You've got so many different ways to stimulate with overcoming isometrics that I feel like improving the SKILL of each one is a way to track my overall improvements.

Do you feel like you need to do the same lifts for many weeks at a time? Because I like the idea of doing 4 goal-related exercises every session, but switching up the exercises somewhat frequently. I think Hack squats on a towel (and leaning my head against a wall for balance) would be a nice thing to switch in. And I think I could find a sweet spot in archer pull-ups where it's a one-arm overcoming pull-up and not a one-arm yielding pull-up. But if it's better to do exercises in blocks, I'll do that.

It's 30 minutes after the workout and my legs feel potentiated AF right now, like I could slam dunk basketballs with no problem. My upper body feels like it usually does after a workout.
 
Last edited:

North Coast Miller

Level 8 Valued Member
I feel like improving the SKILL of each one is a way to track my overall improvements.
There is a definite curve, followed by the longer term challenge of consistently (honestly) driving it hard. Also, you will notice the firing sequence changes with big shifts in movement speed.

Do you feel like you need to do the same lifts for many weeks at a time?
I’m not sure. Probably not a big deal to change one out at a time, not sure I’d want to be constantly learning new pulls. But really, probably fine to bump em in and out after a month at a time. Am not sure. What I found and continue to find that I’m often making small tweaks to my form that feel like different variations, outwardly hardly any apparent differences.
…It's 30 minutes after the workout and my legs feel potentiated AF right now
I get fired up enough to want to shout sometimes, just ready for anything. Am amazed that my hand and overall movement speed has increased without direct attention. And at work smooth and mellow, no real trace of post training stiffness, pump etc. If anything a subtle whole body analgesic effect that is VERY welcome - tough to describe.
 

flightposite

Level 6 Valued Member
That's amazing! Sandbags are not easy creatures to lift.

I did my first North Coast Miller isometric tonight and really enjoyed it. I did it after a quick OS warm-up and 5x10 full-power kettlebell swings. I had intended on doing six exercises, but eliminated the vertical pull and vertical push. Did towel split squat, towel tripod one-legged deadlift, towel push-ups on the floor and towel bent over rows (while also holding DBs in my hands with the towel).

I did this, assembled from this very thread:

-fast isometrics
-three progressively harder MVC attempts
-50% jolts
-moving isometric or forced yielding / negative

And I made sure I pre-loaded every exercise, which you do and which Dragondoor claims is one of the major secret sauce ingredients of the isochain: most overcoming isometric workouts don't fire the loading reflex, which is why they tossed a chain on the machine and why you lean.

I definitely liked being able to focus on what my joints were TRYING to do and noticed some difficulties in my left quad that have escaped my notice until now. In the past I've done a lot of yielding isometrics because they were easy to track (count the seconds on a metronome), but shied away from overcoming isometrics because I had no way of knowing if they were improving as I was doing them. You've got so many different ways to stimulate with overcoming isometrics that I feel like improving the SKILL of each one is a way to track my overall improvements.

Do you feel like you need to do the same lifts for many weeks at a time? Because I like the idea of doing 4 goal-related exercises every session, but switching up the exercises somewhat frequently. I think Hack squats on a towel (and leaning my head against a wall for balance) would be a nice thing to switch in. And I think I could find a sweet spot in archer pull-ups where it's a one-arm overcoming pull-up and not a one-arm yielding pull-up. But if it's better to do exercises in blocks, I'll do that.

It's 30 minutes after the workout and my legs feel potentiated AF right now, like I could slam dunk basketballs with no problem. My upper body feels like it usually does after a workout.
I’m curious. What do you mean by pre-load? If you don’t mind me asking.
 

3letterslong

Level 6 Valued Member
There is a definite curve, followed by the longer term challenge of consistently (honestly) driving it hard. Also, you will notice the firing sequence changes with big shifts in movement speed.


I’m not sure. Probably not a big deal to change one out at a time, not sure I’d want to be constantly learning new pulls. But really, probably fine to bump em in and out after a month at a time. Am not sure. What I found and continue to find that I’m often making small tweaks to my form that feel like different variations, outwardly hardly any apparent differences.

I get fired up enough to want to shout sometimes, just ready for anything. Am amazed that my hand and overall movement speed has increased without direct attention. And at work smooth and mellow, no real trace of post training stiffness, pump etc. If anything a subtle whole body analgesic effect that is VERY welcome - tough to describe.

I'm very curious about what created this potentiation effect in my legs. I want to chase this feeling.

I've felt it once before. When I was a little kid playing hockey, they stuck me in the goal for the first period because the regular goalie didn't show up. In between periods, I quickly gave him the goalie pads and put on my regular gear, which was much, much lighter. Now, I was a fat kid, usually the slowest on the team, but after spending the first period with all that extra goalie gear on, my legs had been primed to move much more weight and for the next two periods I was one of the fastest skaters on the ice. It was unreal.

I've always wondered how to duplicate that, which is one of the reasons I like training with a weight vest. I've never managed to duplicate it, but today my legs feel like that again. I was doing some experimental plyos after and I was getting some very unexpected height.

I'm VERY interested in what I can do with this discovery. Negatives have never recreated it, yielding isos by themselves have never recreated it, extra weight has never recreated it, but something I did tonight threw a switch in my lower body. I'd say it lasted about 45 minutes before starting to fade.

I didn't even notice it until I stood up for the first time after my workout, about 20 minutes later, and felt almost weightless.
 
Last edited:

3letterslong

Level 6 Valued Member
I’m curious. What do you mean by pre-load? If you don’t mind me asking.
If you watch North Coast Miller's videos, he's doing overcoming isos (pushing/pulling against an immovable object), but he's not just standing there without resistance until he pushes against the object. He's leaning forward or back against his straps so his body is already feeling the resistance of keeping himself upright before he even starts pushing or pulling.

This is the load reflex and, according to studies DragonDoor included in their Isometrics book, triggering this is the most important ingredient to making overcoming isometrics fully effective. (From the first isometric video of NCM's I watched, I was like, "Oh snap! He's doing that thing DragonDoor based their Isochain on!" lol it's one of, like, three pieces of obscure isometric information I possess)
 
Last edited:

bluejeff

Level 6 Valued Member
I get fired up enough to want to shout sometimes, just ready for anything. Am amazed that my hand and overall movement speed has increased without direct attention. And at work smooth and mellow, no real trace of post training stiffness, pump etc. If anything a subtle whole body analgesic effect that is VERY welcome - tough to describe.
Also....on the note of feeling "potentiated AF," I have an anecdote that may interest you all.

Back when I did martial arts, we learned a San Chin form (you can google it and find various info on San Chin form from Okinawan karate, IIRC). We referred to it as "tension form." It was a full-body dynamic tension sequence (the only rest being during inhales) and it served a few purposes. One, it taught you to tense up to take a hit. We were tested by being punched, kicked etc. For demonstrations a smaller person (who was me at one time) would perform it while a big dude would punch and kick them, and break boards all over their body. Two, we were told it was meant not only to harder the body and strengthen the muscles, but also raise one's energy. To that end, it was placed at about the halfway point of the belt levels, so that at the test, if you performed it (correctly) it would give you a boost of energy to finish the rest of the test. The old school practitioners warned not to do it too late in the day or else it would keep you awake at night.

I have tried to perform it here and there and (if I make it all the way through...) it absolutely wipes me out. Full body tension on every movement, as tense as you can possibly go.

Anyways, I think there are some parallels here. Y'all have me wanting to try some isos again. Perhaps the motor unit firing will help re-educate my wonky shoulder.
 

3letterslong

Level 6 Valued Member
Also....on the note of feeling "potentiated AF," I have an anecdote that may interest you all.

Back when I did martial arts, we learned a San Chin form (you can google it and find various info on San Chin form from Okinawan karate, IIRC). We referred to it as "tension form." It was a full-body dynamic tension sequence (the only rest being during inhales) and it served a few purposes. One, it taught you to tense up to take a hit. We were tested by being punched, kicked etc. For demonstrations a smaller person (who was me at one time) would perform it while a big dude would punch and kick them, and break boards all over their body. Two, we were told it was meant not only to harder the body and strengthen the muscles, but also raise one's energy. To that end, it was placed at about the halfway point of the belt levels, so that at the test, if you performed it (correctly) it would give you a boost of energy to finish the rest of the test. The old school practitioners warned not to do it too late in the day or else it would keep you awake at night.

I have tried to perform it here and there and (if I make it all the way through...) it absolutely wipes me out. Full body tension on every movement, as tense as you can possibly go.

Anyways, I think there are some parallels here. Y'all have me wanting to try some isos again. Perhaps the motor unit firing will help re-educate my wonky shoulder.

That is really cool! I wonder what mechanism they figured out....
 

GreenSoup

Level 6 Valued Member
It is interesting to hear about some of these effects. I read Steve Justa's Rock Iron Steel years ago and this thread reminds me of the part where he described the feeling after an isometric workout like this as being "light as a spark" and then recommended running afterward to build the strength into full body coordination and speed. From what everyone is saying, it doesn't seem like you need to - you're already pumped to do whatever the day requires.
 

3letterslong

Level 6 Valued Member
It is interesting to hear about some of these effects. I read Steve Justa's Rock Iron Steel years ago and this thread reminds me of the part where he described the feeling after an isometric workout like this as being "light as a spark" and then recommended running afterward to build the strength into full body coordination and speed. From what everyone is saying, it doesn't seem like you need to - you're already pumped to do whatever the day requires.

Interesting. North Coast Miller has been doing HIIT afterwards, I bet it has the same effect.

I'm trying to envision what I would have been doing as a goalie. Going in and out of a squat mostly. Plenty of short forward and backward skating (which is basically sideways lunges), dropping to my knees and then getting back up quickly.... something in there is the magic ingredient for me. (Oh, it wasn't just the first period, I would have been doing a fair bit of fast skating during the warm-up.)

I wouldn't have been doing any MVCs as a goalie, but the rest of what I did tonight is probably pretty similar.

Here's the thing: I actually have done quite a lot of static work in different forms. Bodyline drills, certain Original Strength poses, plenty of yielding isometric holds in calisthenic positions, Extreme Isometrics, various hangs for the past 18 months, Eccentric Isometrics, crowstand / handstand work, yoga, grip training, neck work, loaded carries... and somehow it wasn't until tonight that I stumbled upon something that recreated that magic moment. I'm guess it was the fast isometrics and the pulses because those are not something that is similar to what I already do / have done.

I wonder if the explosive swings as a warm-up is a contributing ingredient, like sprinting on skates would have been part of my warm-up back then.

And I'm not sure, but I think the extra weight of the goalie pads were significant (or at least it was when I removed them). If the extra weight was significant, I might have duplicated the effect by forcing myself to elongate the muscles under isometric contraction. It might just be different enough from yielding isos and negatives, which are pretty common for me and don't elicit this effect.

I'm going to bed, I need some sleep. I'll figure this out in the next few weeks. Maybe I need to see what Steve Justa says about this "light as a spark" thing.

EDIT: I'll probably just wait for North Coast Miller to chime in lol. He's probably got some info on the subject and I'm racking my brain for no reason.
 
Last edited:

North Coast Miller

Level 8 Valued Member
As to some of the effects based on specificity…IDK.
Research demonstrate potentiation and analgesic effects but the mechanism for the analgesic is unknown currently. The diffences in adaptive response (and subjective feeling) are enough to have me include a variety of approaches in every session, made possible due to the low immediate recovery demands. There’s a bit of magic in those pulses that is maybe not immediately apparent - these being done from a full relax to 100%, both transitions as fast as possible. I’d also say to be careful using them like that without progressing to it, as the potential for injury is maybe higher than with a pre-load.

I’ve also stopped with the same day HIIT, in fact have replaced the HIIT with a 30 minute jog on alternate days.
 
Last edited:

Ricky01

Level 6 Valued Member
I did this, assembled from this very thread:

-fast isometrics
-three progressively harder MVC attempts
-50% jolts
-moving isometric or forced yielding / negative

Looks awesome. North Coast Millers inputs are amazing on this.

By fast isometeics do you mean Shroeder type drops?

To me the 3 progressively harder MVC is a Timed Static Contraction (eg 50%, 75%, 100%). Is this how you are running it?

The jolts I personally need to work on. I understand the merit but didn't 'feel' it adding much. That's on me though.

Was the yielding ISO at the end a max length hold?

Richard
 

3letterslong

Level 6 Valued Member
Looks awesome. North Coast Millers inputs are amazing on this.

By fast isometeics do you mean Shroeder type drops?

To me the 3 progressively harder MVC is a Timed Static Contraction (eg 50%, 75%, 100%). Is this how you are running it?

The jolts I personally need to work on. I understand the merit but didn't 'feel' it adding much. That's on me though.

Was the yielding ISO at the end a max length hold?

Richard

The fast isometrics were simply me trying to ramp up the tension as fast as possible.

For the MVCs I simply tried to hit MVC each time, but concentrated on doing it better (every muscle turned on more) each time.

lol my jolts were a mess. They'll get better, but I kind of got confused about what I was trying to do technically and was just flailing in an immobile way a bunch of times.

The yielding at the end was a MVC hold and then I would force the muscles to elongate. So for the split squat, I had my working foot on a towel, each end held by my hands, and I hit a MVC with my leg and then pulled myself down with my arms.
 

Ricky01

Level 6 Valued Member
The fast isometrics were simply me trying to ramp up the tension as fast as possible.

For the MVCs I simply tried to hit MVC each time, but concentrated on doing it better (every muscle turned on more) each time.

lol my jolts were a mess. They'll get better, but I kind of got confused about what I was trying to do technically and was just flailing in an immobile way a bunch of times.

The yielding at the end was a MVC hold and then I would force the muscles to elongate. So for the split squat, I had my working foot on a towel, each end held by my hands, and I hit a MVC with my leg and then pulled myself down with my arms.
There doesn't sound like much difference between fast ISO's and the MVC? I am sure they aren't, but it kind of sounds similar.

Haha sounds like my jolts.

Richard
 
Top Bottom