Isometrics For Powerlifters & Strongmen

May 5, 2012 by  
Filed under Isometric Exercises

In your sport, the name of the game is strength, right? Let those bodybuilders have all the posing trunks, pro-Tan, dieting, and high-repetition sets that they want. You know that your goal isn’t related to how you looking in glittery posing trunks, and you darn sure aren’t concerned about what five judges in suits care about your physique. No, your goals involve lifting very heavy objects. Maybe it is the weights you like to lift. Maybe you want to find the highest total for bench press, deadlift, and squat that your body is capable of making. Or, maybe powerlifting isn’t your thing, and strongman competition is. If the idea of moving a 300 pound Atlas stone over your head, or pulling a bus further than anyone else in a competition is your goal, then you certainly want more strength.

If your goal is strength, then you’ve probably tried every routine under the sun in your last five years of training, right? You know the basic training staples of each sport, and you’ve probably done them, and then some! There’s a good chance you have exhausted every possible idea you have for making strength gains.

At this point, your options probably include gaining a great deal more weight (placing you in a higher and therefore more competitive weight class) or resorting to anabolic steroids, which can have health risks and may violate the rules of the confederation in which you compete. Is there another way to boost your strength levels without taking these routes? Yes there is!

Isometric training is a protocol which can help you to improve your strength levels in all of the essential lifts. Defined simply, isometric lifting involves locating then executing a static hold in three different positions against an immovable object.

For example, you might begin with the standard standing pectoral butterfly stretch against the cable machine. You are at full extension, and incapable of moving the rack, obviously. After holding that flex and pressing as hard as possible for 30 seconds, move to the middle range of the stretch. Add another 30 seconds of complete tension – pressing with everything you have against a weight you obviously know will not move. Finally, finish that “set” with another 30 seconds of the final locked out position.

The idea behind isometric training is that you will give the muscle an infinite workload of resistance in the three main positions of a lift in which you want to improve. It’s very effective when used in conjunction with post-training stretching. You can emulate just about any lift you can imagine, simply by contorting your body against some equipment in the gym, or in your home or office, when time is short. Muscle coordination benefits tremendously, which allows for greater contraction, strength, and concentration when you’re actually conducting the movements the isometric stretching was designed to mirror.

Mix isometric into your training following the three major lifts of deadlift, bench press and squats. You might just discover it allows you to break a plateau and increase your strength levels without resorting to steroid use or weight gains. Get pressing!

Dane Fletcher is the world’s most prolific bodybuilding and fitness expert and is currently the executive editor for If you are looking for more bodybuilding tips or information on weight training, or supplementation, please visit, the bodybuilding and fitness authority site with hundreds of articles available FREE to help you meet your goals.

Isometric Contraction This is my wife Trina doing an isometric hold in a seated row position with an emphasis on trying to keep in a scapular retraction position. She did two sets of these to failure as the finishers of her workout.

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