Have you read about the old-time strongman — or perhaps you’ve seen someone performing strongman tricks.
What was it that these old strong man knew about muscle building and fitness that allowed them to perform these superhuman stunts?
To get an answer we have to go back a little bit in history. The most famous in my mind, of the strongman was a gentleman by the name of “Alexander Zass.” He is considered by many to be the father of isometric strength training.
I won’t go into too much detail about Mr. Zass but suffice it to say that he used isometric contraction on his road to superhuman strength and muscular physique.
Since the 1950s, when Drs. Hettinger and Mueller performed tests on frogs to determine the effect of isometrics on building muscular strength, it has been a well-known fact that isometric strength training is very effective.
Perhaps what leads people to disbelieve the benefits of isometrics is that we have been pummeled by the fitness industry that you need to spend hours in the gym to achieve any significant results.
So in spite of scientific studies that validate that a mere 7 to 10 seconds exercise can accomplish the same thing as an hour in the gym — most individuals find this incredible.
But let me reassure you — it’s true!
The contraction of an isometric exercises is similar to doing that last repetition in a set of barbell curls — where you can just barely move the weight.
This last repetition is the one that gives you the maximum muscle growth because it recruits the most muscle fibers in order to perform.
This is the same reason why an isometric contraction works.
Isometric strength training can actually trace its history back to Chinese martial arts. Today many mixed martial arts fighters, wrestlers, boxers, and judo players use isometric strength training as an integral part of your strength and conditioning program.
With scientifically proven strength gains in excess of 300% — in almost no time at all — is it any wonder that these professional athletes use isometrics?