One of the biggest benefits of isometric training is the ability to work around injuries and still maintain (and even GAIN) strength and muscle mass.
I've been lucky enough not to have experienced any major injuries from training. I HAVE, however, had a lot of minor dings that I've needed to work around.
And isometrics play a major role in how I do it.
The key with working around an injury is finding a pain-free range of motion that still works the target area. When I find this, I'll often do very light weight pumping training just in that short range to get blood into the area and keep it moving.
The weak point with that approach is that sometimes there is almost NO pain-free range of motion.
THAT is where isometrics can really be a major benefit.
All you need is a single spot in that range of motion that doesn't give you pain and you can work the muscle very effectively.
How I Healed a Pec Injury Using Isometrics
I've used this type of method with a pec injury that I got from doing bottom-range weighted dips with WAY too much weight. I learned my lesson with that very quickly.
What I did to rehab it was to completely avoid bench pressing, flyes and dips, to start with. Since it was an overstretch type of injury, I found the only point in the range that didn't cause pain was the peak contracted position, with my arms straight out in front of me.
So instead of doing exercises with actual movement, I did isometrics, pressing my hands together in front of me. I could actually achieve a very strong contraction in the pecs with no pain.
And after a few weeks, I gradually worked back into exercises that involved movement (even very controlled flyes).
I found that my pressing strength didn't diminish at all and I didn't lose any muscle mass.
Now, that's MY experience. Obviously, if you have an injury, consult with a physician and use your best judgement. If you decide to work around an injury, that is your decision and responsibility.
The reason I wanted to give you some info on using isometrics to train around an injury is I wanted to direct you to a program called Isometrics Strength, by my friend and colleague, Todd Kuslikis.
The exercises and methods you'll learn in this program can be easily adapted to working around injuries as well as building strength and muscle mass.
It's excellent information.
If you've ever been interested or curious about using isometrics either on their own or incorporated into your regular training, this is a great reference to get started.
You'll learn how to really get the most out of isometric training.
Isometrics are like the red-headed step-child of training (apologies to red-headed stepchildren ;). They're incredibly effective but not particularly popular, I think simply because you don't look like you're really doing anything.
However, to me, they're a powerful tool in your training toolbox that every serious trainer should know how to use.
And just so you know up front, when you do pick up the Isometrics Strength program, you'll also get a 14-day trial membership to Todd's "Feel Good Life Academy" site where you'll get a fantastic amount of information on health and fitness, If, at any time, you feel it's not for you, you can easily cancel, no questions asked, and never get charged an additional dime.
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