Isometric exercises

Workouts Nick Hutchings
26 Dec 2013
Isometric exercises

Isometric training can help you build your biceps, burn fat and carve rock-solid abs – without moving a muscle

According to normal training theory, more movement means better results, whether that means working faster, running further or grinding out more reps. But there's always an exception to the rule – and if you want to break through a training plateau, sometimes the secret is not moving at all.

Isometric contractions – or holding moves in various positions – allow you to recruit more muscle fibres than you would by moving. As a bonus, you'll perfect your movement patterns and get less sore than you would from doing mostly eccentric moves.

'These moves increase the contractile force throughout your whole body,' says trainer Andy McKenzie, creator of this workout. 'They'll also teach good form and you can pick your timings to increase size or strength. 'You'll also build a more balanced, less injury-prone body. 

So what are you waiting for? Stop moving and reap the benefits.

Hammer grip chin Sets 6 reps 4 pause 2-4-6 Rest 90 seconds between sets
- Hold the hammer grips of a pull-up rig so your palms are facing each other.
- Pull up explosively.
- Pause at the top for two seconds.
- Lower a third of the way down and hold for four seconds.
- Lower two thirds of the way down and hold for six seconds.
- Lower down until your arms are fully extended.

Press-up Sets 6 reps 4 pause 5-10-15 Rest 90 seconds between sets
- Get into a press-up position with your body in a straight line from head to heels.
- Pause at the top for five seconds.
- Lower half way down and hold for 10 seconds.
- Lower until your chest is fist's distance from the floor and hold for 15 seconds.
- Press up explosively.

Bag squat Sets 6 reps 4 Pause 5-10-15 Rest 90 seconds between sets
- Stand with your feet just wider than shoulder-width apart, your feet slightly turned out and hug a medium-sized boxing bag or Powerbag to your chest.
- Pause in the standing position for five seconds.
- Lower half way down and hold for 10 seconds.
- Lower to the bottom of the move – where your hamstrings should be in contact with your calf muscles – and hold for 15 seconds.
- Push through your heels to stand back up explosively.

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