By isometric contraction, we mean the kind of contraction that develops muscular tension at a constant length, thus statically (without movement).
When there is an isometric contraction (IC)
Some examples of situations where a IC is developed are:
- when we try to lift a load too heavy for us (we cannot generate sufficient muscle tension to move the load) the muscle cannot shorten, in this case we develop a static contraction at a very high tension and therefore in situations like this it is called maximum IC or maximum isometry;
- when we insert a static moment in the middle of an isotonic contraction we are in the presence of a total IC or total isometry;
What is an isometric workout?
Isometric training refers to the type of training which exclusively involves the use of contractions of this type. This methodology proved to be particularly effective in the development of strength.
A progressive recruitment of the deepest fibres, due to the fatigue of those entries in the game at first, allows for greater full activation of the target muscle district.
To achieve a training effect, it is necessary for the strength applied in the contraction to exceed a threshold value (around 30% of the maximum strength that can be developed by that muscle zone).
Important things to keep in mind
Some criteria to consider when performing isometric training:
- the duration of the contraction must remain within the range of 12 "to 50% to 2" to 100% of muscle use (inverse proportionality)
- target muscle must be hit under different angles
- if the purpose is to train a race gesture it is interesting to take advantage of isometric stops at the level of the lacking points of the raises (I am especially referring to the sticking point)
- the recovery time between repetitions can vary between 30 and 3 minutes depending on the contraction intensity, however, it is possible to take advantage of this time to work on another zone
The muscular zones that benefit most
Earlier, we referred to a training session that only uses isometric contractions (if one has little time available it may also be ok), my opinion is that isometric contractions are definitely useful on the buttocks and in training the back, exercising it by using it as a peak contraction, as both are districts that respond very well to the maximum shortening. Moreover, this type of contraction is extremely effective:
- as the first exercise, to create post-activation enhancement through the contrast method
- to improve the mind muscle connection (always at maximum shortening)
- which system to call more blood and thus to create more pumps in a specific district
- as an activation exercise for a zone which is lacking
- to pre-fatigue a specific zone
- as a finisher
The pros and cons of this technique
- increased muscle strength due to increased recruitment of the fibres
- greater purely anaerobic nature and glycolytic waste
- greater strength in critical positions of some sports gestures
- it does not require special equipment
- it is also suitable for those who have little time available
- the strength increase is dependent on the angle (it therefore occurs in the chosen position), so we suggest working on at least three different angles for each muscle
- it may adversely affect motor coordination
- rapid central nervous system fatigue
- not recommended for sports requiring both speed and rapid strength as it may slow down the ability of the body's kinetic chains to respond
- high-intensity and excessively high frequency isometric training causes a momentary increase in blood pressure due to the crushing of the blood vessels resulting in high contraction intensity, making it inadvisable for elderly, cardiopathic and very young people.