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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)

North Coast Miller

Level 8 Valued Member
The literature doesn't really support the notion that an Iso hold needs to be done at multiple angles to gain strength throughout. Testing showed that training at longer lengths produced comparable strength gains, and training multiple angles would be too time consuming.


I'm a little late to this post and I may have missed someone mentioning it. Which literature are you refering?

Also I believe there are studies done that you can find o the NIH website showing it was more beneficial to do 3 different ranges of motion They also had a contract and relax time during the movements that were pretty interesting. i'll see if
I can link the article.


The research that gets cited most often as evidence of joint specific strength gains comes from a study with a handful of women training their calf muscles, and one where the subjects trained at a midpoint thigh extension and failed to really improve at longer flexion. There may very well be others, and the two I linked actually support that finding as well, but only at shorter muscle lengths.

While it is likely more beneficial to train multiple angles it isn't very time efficient and I'd expect diminishing gains for the added time, much like tacking on more exercises in a BB'ing program. Currently my informal rep/load testing with Isotonic lifts from my last block have failed to reveal any example of angle specificity in use. It is probably a real thing to some extent, if it isn't consistently observed under research settings, and doesn't show in dynamic resistance training, does it even matter? There are studies that show 1/4 squat improving athletic performance but you don't hear people recommending it be trained alongside regular squat as part of a GPP program.

The work : rest timing I settled on is based on research determined hold time for tendon health, crossed with the average of how long it takes to develop max force (for me estimated about 4-6 seconds )and how long one can hold that max tension (for me estimated about 12). I might alter the work : rest timing at some point but currently am keeping everything right where it is. I strongly suspect the best possible hold times might be influenced by pennation angles of the specific muscle and a bunch of other factors, but that's for someone with a lot more time and resources to figure out than me!
 
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Kenny Croxdale

Level 7 Valued Member
Here is the screenshot I made from the NIH Study.
1634651612243-png.15065

Cluster Set Training

Any "Relaxation Time" taken between repetitions in a set is Cluster Set Training.

Ironically, many individual who are perform a moderately high Hypertrophy Training FRepetitions will often rest at in the Lockout Part of an exercise to recover so they perform another repetition.

In doing so, it become Cluster Set Training at the point.

Phosphagen Restoration

The purpose of Cluster Set Training is to allow ATP/Phosphagen Restoration; the fuel for Maximum Strength, Power and Speed.

Rest Periods between Repetition of 10 to 15 seconds allow some ATP Restoration.

Research show that Rest Between Repetition of 30 seconds will restore around 50% of ATP.

Dr Greg Haff's research determined that Rest Between Repetition approximately 79% of ATP was replenished in 45 second of rest.

For 100% ATP Restoration, 3 minutes or long is required.

Pulse Training

Another Training Effect that should be used with Cluster Set Training is after the Short Rest Period, Explosively Drive the weight, regardless of how heavy it is.

Research has demonstrated regardless of the load, "The Intent" to Explosively Drive the weight up, innervates more Fast Twitch Muscle Fiber.

Dr Stuart McGill determined the Pulsing Effective in performing a movement (meaning a slight rest period followed by an Explosive Contraction enabled an athlete to produce more force).

Thus, the sequence as noted in the graph you presented is: Contract-Relax -Contract-Relax, etc.

The application of this in an Isometric Action should be applied.

The information on Pulse Training was presented in a previous post.

Ironically, Pulse Training is inherent with some exercises.

One most notable is the Kettlebell Swing.

Once the Kettlebell reaches the apex of the swing, muscle relaxation of the muscle then occur by allowing the Kettlebell to Free Fall down into the hole.

Once it the Kettlebell reaches the bottom position an Explosive Muscle Contraction is initiated to drive the Bell back up.

NIH Graph

Very interesting.

Can you provide the site for the graph and/or the article.

Thanks...
 
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ChrisPayne75

First Post

Sorry I was confused this one was for Tendon training. Besides BJJ and Muay thai i have been dabbling in internal MA training for years. they have some interesting tendon exercises they do. Dan Hardin Bodyworks seminars are fantastic. I have a few old books at home on isometerics.
One of them is funtional isometrics. I'll have to look later but i think that's the one with 3 angles per muscle. I got it on Amazon for 20 bucks.
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
I should point out that isometrics were once thought to only train a specific joint angle.
Recent studies however suggest that strength increases over a range of 15 to 20 degrees
on either side of the training angle.
My understanding is that this is also true of other kinds of lifting, e.g., if you 1/4 squat crazy heavy weights, you'll get stronger at a small amount deeper as well.

-S-
 

Kenny Croxdale

Level 7 Valued Member
Functional Adaptation of Connective Tissue by Training
Sorry I was confused this one was for Tendon training. Besides BJJ and Muay thai i have been dabbling in internal MA training for years. they have some interesting tendon exercises they do. Dan Hardin Bodyworks seminars are fantastic. I have a few old books at home on isometerics.
One of them is funtional isometrics. I'll have to look later but i think that's the one with 3 angles per muscle. I got it on Amazon for 20 bucks.

Functional Adaptation of Connective Tissue By Training

Interesting article. I appreciate you posting it.

This interview delves into Connective Tissue Training a bit more...

Dr Keith Baar: mTOR, Keto Diet, Collagen, High & Low Plyo Athletes, etc

As per the notes on it listed in this post...


Mixed Training

High Velocity Sports need to focus on Slow Limit Strength; keeps tendons, ligaments and muscles healthy.

One of the keys to increasing Tendon Strength is Slow Intensive Movements, like Limit Strength Training.

Since there is no movement in an Isometric Action, it is one of the most effective in the development of Tendon Strength.

Isometric Strength Training

1) It is the only method that allows you to max out during each Training Session; push/pull at 100% effort.

2) Isometric Recovery is faster than Concentric/Eccentric Exercises.

Functional Isometrics

One of the issues with Isometrics is that it is hard to measure. A lifter cannot state that they lifted so much in an exercise; which is a ego problem for some.

Functional Isometrics is a method that allows an individual measure it with a number.

Another Method Of Measuring Isometric Force Production

For individual's who feel the need to see a number, using a Crane Gauge (fairly cheap) can resolve that issue.

Post #16

This is the article on it...

Maximizing Isometrics
16-1.jpg
18-1.jpg
MAX-ISOMETRICS-AND-YOUTH-COACHING.jpg
 
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North Coast Miller

Level 8 Valued Member
My biggest concern with isometric heavy approach is the near complete lack of improved insulin sensitivity that normally accompanies resistance training. This also means no improvement in anti-oxidant response to ROS, no improvement to glucose throughput, I can find no evidence one way or the other for improved capillary and mitochondrial density, but again these are closely linked to glucose depletion...

This can easily be remedied in a general sense by use of HIIT, but am not sure about the ability to trigger significant mass gain due to the nature of the glucose depletion.

If I wanted to overcomplicate this experiment, I'd set up a second Iso-board with resistance bands instead of straps, follow the Iso with a pile of reps using moderate resistance. Or to simplify it just closely mimic the holds with isotonic lifts using a moderately loaded sandbag (which is likely the way I'll go but not until mid Dec at earliest).

Of course this would also nix the ability to do the jumprope intervals at the same time - so I'm back to separate conditioning sessions.

At a guess I've lost about a pound of fat and gained just over that in muscle - am up 2 lbs in 5 weeks but look a little smaller all the way around.
 

North Coast Miller

Level 8 Valued Member
Another quick test vs isotonics, won't be doing any more for at least a month, have learned enough for now.

Sandbag OHP neutral grip off the knuckles with 105lb bag.

Previous Cluster working rep count was 5, so at absolute best 12 reps straight set, maybe 14 reps screaming. From a cold start, knocked off 20 and probably could have gotten one more but was kind of surprised.

This was the largest increase in AMRAP of the isotonics I've tested so far and the furthest mechanical similarity to the holds I've been using for anterior shoulder, so really good carry-over.
 
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Training for Life

Level 5 Valued Member
Another quick test vs isotonics, won't be doing any more for at least a month, have learned enough for now.

Sandbag OHP neutral grip off the knuckles with 105lb bag.

Previous Cluster working rep count was 5, so at absolute best 12 reps straight set, maybe 14 reps screaming. From a cold start, knocked off 20 and probably could have gotten one more but was kind of surprised.

This was the largest increase in AMRAP of the isotonics I've tested so far and the furthest mechanical similarity to the holds I've been using for anterior shoulder, so really good carry-over.
What the hell… did you just nearly double your max reps using isometrics? In what timeframe?

Funnily enough, a youtuber called ”Bioneer”, who I feel like posts pretty sensible content, just posted a video on isometrics:
 

North Coast Miller

Level 8 Valued Member
What the hell… did you just nearly double your max reps using isometrics? In what timeframe?

Funnily enough, a youtuber called ”Bioneer”, who I feel like posts pretty sensible content, just posted a video on isometrics:

Is tough to say 100% since I wasn't maxing straight sets when I was training Clusters, but the initial numbers I arrived at for working weights were very consistently 1/2 to 2/3 of my rep max with the latter being the absolute upper limit. At the absolute very least then, I increased it 25% without directly training it at all. The hold I currently use for anterior shoulder is at best similar the starting point of a Gironda High Pull, and I've used three variants over a 5 week period. In fact I'm swapping that out for yet another tweak next time I train.

I've noticed this in the past when working with Iso, it seems to have a lot of carryover for something with such supposed angle specific strength gain.
 

North Coast Miller

Level 8 Valued Member
Last update till about mid December, wasn't going to any more of these but wanted to include something to represent lower body. Since beginning this I now have MRI verified diagnosis torn meniscus in left knee, my right has some patellar tendonitits, wasn't too optimistic about this:
Ran another test, Skater squats with 105lb bag. I don't have a clean previous number for these - changed from crate squats which were about 25% easier to skaters with more weight. Was hitting 8-10 with 120lbs (cluster reps = 4). With 105lbs was using 6 reps for Cluster so about 12, maybe 15.

Nailed 20 reps from a cold start, so at least 25% increase, maybe as much as 30% but for sure 25% minimum.
 
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North Coast Miller

Level 8 Valued Member
Pics of current holds in no particular order:

Crunch - these are positively miserable!
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Quad extension
jmPzvwum.jpg



Curls, lean back a little to pre-load
mRrW0fRm.jpg


Triceps extension, lean forward to pre-load
GXm1wFZm.jpg



"HIgh" pull, lean back, attempt to pull shoulders/elbows up and back via scap engagement
YrZUDIMm.jpg


Anterior shoulder raise, lean forward, attempt to meet hands up and in front. Engages anterior, middle delt and upper pec
EEv79pBm.jpg
 

North Coast Miller

Level 8 Valued Member
Crossover row, leanback, pull through scapular engagement

UwYmuPMm.jpg


Oblique carry, lean sideways - only one where a wrap is needed - grip cannot compete with braced oblique
Qb6NDBLm.jpg




Hamstring curl - only one where I cannot get as good a pre-stretch as I'd like

YPDcP9Mm.jpg





Press, bar as low as can be quickly squeezed under. Using a sandbag as a bench to gain elevation - allow for lower elbows.

g7Gy8ycm.jpg



DL, lean back, I vary the height but his is about as high as I ever go

Z4xC3hCm.jpg



Low bar backsquat, lean forward, again height is varied but always on the low side. Doing these with the added 20 "pulse" reps is very challenging.

lPyueVpm.jpg



As can be observed most of these bear a strong resemblance to barbell equivalents, the shoulder and back ones not so much due to needing more of a stretch
 

Tarzan

Level 6 Valued Member
That diagnosis of the issues with your meniscus & patellar tendon is a Bummer @North Coast Miller but it's not as serious as most people would have you believe. I had almost all of both menisci removed from my left knee when I about 21 and recent scans have shown they've almost grown back, Sure they're thinner than they were originally but they've regenerated much more than anything that was considered possible even ten years ago.
I've also completely severed my patellar tendon in my "good" knee and it also seems to have completely healed and now it looks fine on an MRI without any surgical intervention.
I always thought those types of injuries were something that lasts for a lifetime and maybe they are for people who give up and stop putting the joint through its full range of motion but our bodies have an enormous capacity to heal and regenerate if we respect our limits and stay active.
The meniscus tear obviously needs to be repaired/trimmed but the patellar tendon will more than likely resolve itself in time if it's managed properly. Just listen to your pain signals (when training & in the days after) and gradually push to the point of discomfort and avoid anything that causes pain.
The isometric work is a well proven strategy to develop strength and/or endurance but when it comes to regenerating knee cartilage maybe it's not ideal, at least not in the early phases. Knee cartilage seems to need to go through higher rep lower weight cycling to get the blood supply into the joint until it's healed, the menisci has very low blood supply and relies on a loading/unloading cycle to get nutrients into them so they can heal & flush out waste products.
If you manage these injuries properly, you'll come back stronger than ever.
 

North Coast Miller

Level 8 Valued Member
That diagnosis of the issues with your meniscus & patellar tendon is a Bummer @North Coast Miller but it's not as serious as most people would have you believe. I had almost all of both menisci removed from my left knee when I about 21 and recent scans have shown they've almost grown back, Sure they're thinner than they were originally but they've regenerated much more than anything that was considered possible even ten years ago.
I've also completely severed my patellar tendon in my "good" knee and it also seems to have completely healed and now it looks fine on an MRI without any surgical intervention.
I always thought those types of injuries were something that lasts for a lifetime and maybe they are for people who give up and stop putting the joint through its full range of motion but our bodies have an enormous capacity to heal and regenerate if we respect our limits and stay active.
The meniscus tear obviously needs to be repaired/trimmed but the patellar tendon will more than likely resolve itself in time if it's managed properly. Just listen to your pain signals (when training & in the days after) and gradually push to the point of discomfort and avoid anything that causes pain.
The isometric work is a well proven strategy to develop strength and/or endurance but when it comes to regenerating knee cartilage maybe it's not ideal, at least not in the early phases. Knee cartilage seems to need to go through higher rep lower weight cycling to get the blood supply into the joint until it's healed, the menisci has very low blood supply and relies on a loading/unloading cycle to get nutrients into them so they can heal & flush out waste products.
If you manage these injuries properly, you'll come back stronger than ever.

Thanks for the insight, very helpful!
My usual approach is to just keep on and largely ignore issues like this once I figure out how not to aggravate em.

The Iso should do some real good for aligning the collagen that's part of any repair, the plan is that the HIIT intervals will help with blood flow etc - time will tell. In the meantime I'm feelign pretty good currently.
 

North Coast Miller

Level 8 Valued Member
Posted this in my training log but I guess it should go up here as well. Tested loaded pushups with increased weight, using a 150lb bag and clocking 300lbs resistance at the bottom of the lift, managed 2 reps with no warmup. At the peak of my Cluster Set sandbag block was hitting a 130lb bag for 3 reps back in June. This is a PR for the lift and equaling my heaviest pushup weights from 30years ago.

 

North Coast Miller

Level 8 Valued Member
@LarryB

FWIW I've recently swapped out all of the holds that use straps for handles and just use straight bar or dowels and let the straps run between my middle and ring fingers. Came to the conclusion that to really exert as hard as possible I needed more surface area to grip.

There isn't a real need to use cargo straps if you have some rope handy - just as easy to use a smallish bowline (or bowline on a bight) for the bar loops, and a taut line hitch to adjust length.
 
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