What is the time range of hold isometric position for best gains in strength ?

Mateusz Calisthenics

Still New to StrongFirst Forum
Hello do you know What is the time range of hold isometric position for best gains in strength ?

What I mean ?
For example the best range of reps for:
Strength 1-5 reps
Muscle Growth (hypertrophy stimulus) 8-12 reps

But how it works on static position ?
I read that isometric exercises are good for muscle grow (Yea I built my shoulders and forearms on them).
From what I read If we want bigger muscles the best time range of hold is 20 - 60 seconds (which represent 8-12 reps).

So what time of hold will represent the popular 1-5 reps for strength ?
As we know the best way to get stronger is to work on our muscle tension. In isometric positions we can hold maximal tension longer than in dynamic exercises, but It is still hard to hold maximal tension in muscles for longer than 5 seconds. For example If We look at the "hypertrophy stimulus" range (8-12 reps/20-60 seconds) we can see that 1 rep represent minimal 2 seconds hold. If we transfer it into strength range (1-5 reps) we will get 2-10 seconds. Is it work like that ?

What's my experience ?
I train Front Lever and Planche with "GTG" Method.
I do a lot of 1-4 seconds holds of them (which represent 1-2 reps). Other isometric exercises (Back Levers etc) I usually hold for 9-10 seconds in 5 sets and it represent for me 5 sets of 5 reps, but in static :)

Some Thoughts ?
1. When I hold static position for less than 2 seconds I feel small progress. Because it's not easy to always activate full tension in this short time.
2. When I do Static exercises I can do more sets with feeling fresh than in dynamic exercises.
3. Activating strong tension take time too.. I activate most of the muscle tension before get to the static position. It take me 2 seconds to activate tension and get into position. For example When I want to get into Full Planche I : Rotate shoulders, Activate Protraction and depression on my scapula and P.P.T (It take 1 second) after it I lean into planche which I want (It take 1 second) and when I stop at the Full Planche and I hold it for 1 second then I have 3 seconds of strong muscle activation with only 1 second of hold. Because of this maybe the longer holds are better. In longer holds we can add some more techniques to improve our tension (Pressing, Compressing Hands etc.) and control tension in better way .
4. During longer static holds than 10 seconds it's very hard to stay in the strong tension. Long holds make me tired so fast.

What's in your opinion the best time of static hold to get stronger ?
Do you have experience with strength training on static exercises ?
Did you use "GTG" on static exercises ?
If you have some thoughts about it can you write them below ?

Thank You ! :)

About Me :
Age: 16 Years Old
Probation: More than 1 Year
Height/Weight: Around 173 Cm/61Kg
Level: Full Planche 3 seconds, Front Lever 4 seconds.


More than 500 posts
The ATP energy system is the primary source of energy for any intense lift/hold and that stops almost completely after about 8 seconds.

If you are after maximum strength then keep it around 8 seconds or less.


More than 500 posts
Steven Low has converted Prilepin's tables to isometrics and eccentrics:

For reference this is the table for reps:

So, for a 1-5 reps equivalent you would choose a variation that you could hold for 8-18s and then train it with around 5 sets of 66% of your max holds (some would argue that you should event choose holds of 50 % or 33 % of you max hold), which would be somewhere between 6 and 12 seconds.

Ii havent tried this approach but it seems to be a fair starting point :)

The whole article is awesome:
The Fundamentals of Bodyweight Strength Training
There is additional information on reddit, I think.


More than 5000 posts

Here is a very interesting interview from P. Tsatsouline regarding iso:
The Evil Russian Speaks - Part 2 | T Nation

Otherwise, still on T-Nation, here are other information sources:
Isometrics for Mass! | T Nation
Isometric Exercises That Work! | T Nation

Finally, even if this is not isometric training per se, below is an interesting training sample / example, with tempo training. Basically, slowing down the negative phases and accelerating the positive phases, with no hold on the top and bottom position (but no rebound neither)
Mass That Works – Build Some Functional Hypertrophy - STRENGTH SENSEI

Kind regards,



Quadruple-Digit Post Count
What's in your opinion the best time of static hold to get stronger ?
Do you have experience with strength training on static exercises ?
Did you use "GTG" on static exercises ?
If you have some thoughts about it can you write them below ?

You have a good understanding.

Static Hold Time

Strength is build with Isometric Hold of no longer than 20 seconds.

The Best Hold Time

Trazan's 8 seconds or less is most likely the optimal range. As he stated, that because your Fast Twitch Muscle Fiber run out of ATP; the gas that drive them.

With that said, let me add to it.

Fast Twitch Muscle Fiber

As we know, there are two Types of Fast Twitch Muscle Fiber; "Super Fast Type IIb/x and Fast Type IIa.

The "Super" Fast Twitch IIb/x Muscle Fiber run of gas (ATP) in the plus/minus 8 second rage.

The Fast Twitch Type IIa last a little longer but not much, maybe up to 20 seconds.

Fiber Downshifting

Movements that are Violently Explosive or require Maximal Strength innervate the "Super" Fast Muscle Fiber.

Once the "Super" Fast are exhausted, Fast Twitch Muscle Fiber are called into play.

Once the Fast Twitch exhausted, the Slow Twitch Muscle Fiber are fully innervated.

Thus, once you have exhausted the "Super" Fast and Fast Muscle Fiber, you are not working/training them.

Experience With Isometric Holds

I've incorporate Isometric Hold in my program for decades.

I am a proponent of Functional Isometrics. Goggle it for more information.


Functional Isometric allow you to GTG.

Bill Starr (Strength Coach) was one of the most knowledgeable on Functional Isometric Training.

Chris Thibaudeau (Strength Coach) is a proponent of Functional Isometrics.

Google article on them for more information.

Kenny Croxdale


Quadruple-Digit Post Count
In BulletProof Abs:


One of the primary keys to hypertrophy is "Metabolic Stress". This occurs with moderate repetitions (8 - 12 per set). However, higher repetition sets work as well.

Repetition in this range taking up to 60 seconds.

Muscle Contractions

,..allow blood flow from the heart to the muscles being worked. However, muscle contraction restricts blood flow back to the heart.

This creating...

"The Pump"

Blood trapped in the muscle balloons the muscles up. This increases Lactate levels in the muscles, triggering an anabolic hormonal cascade that elicits muscle growth.

Rest Periods Between Sets\

1) Research by Dr Brad Schoenfeld has indicated that longer rest periods between Hypertrophy/Bodybuilding Sets works for increasing muscle mass.

The greatest benefit of the longer rest periods between sets is greater muscle recovery which allow lifter to push/pull more weight with the following set.

2) Traditional Bodybuilding Hypertrophy Rest Periods are one (1) minute or less between sets. This method has been used for decades with proven results.

The benefit of Shorter Rest Periods Between Sets is a greater "Pump" is maintained. Less blood is allowed to flow back to the heart, maintaining higher Lactate in the muscles.

Going To Failure

It isn't necessary to train to failure every workout. Doing so is counterproductive in the long run.

Training to failure should be used infrequently, less often.

Take Home Message

1) Metabolic Stress via "The Pump" is one of the primary keys to increasing muscle mass.

2) Metabolic Stress increase Lactate in the muscles, producing an anabolic hormonal cascade.

3) Longer Rest Periods Between Sets work for increasing Lactate, increasing muscle mass.

However, ...

4) Shorter Rest Periods Between Sets appear to be even more effective based on research and decades of empirical data.

Final Note

Two other mechanism are have been identified as instrumental for Hypertrophy

1) Mechanical Tension

2) Muscle Damage

Kenny Croxdale
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