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dynamic and isometric tension?


Green Belt
Apr 21, 2004
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I was just thinking, could there be more this dynamic and isometric tension then we think?

i only bring this up because ive noticed on myself muscles that shouldn't be getting worked doing what i'm doing are growing and the only thing i can think of is somebodys slipping me drugs or the simple act of flexing to keep stability during an exercise can actualy strengthen muscles.

if you think about it, it's really not all that crazy because what happens when you force against resistance. your muscle makes a tension level based on the load being put on the muscle.

now are we actualy capable of making our own muscles contract to a tension level that would actualy cause strength gain?

i know i don't know, do you? do a little test for yourself.

turn your chair to the side away from your computer and while sitting, flex as much as you possibly can and do some air bench pressing while sitting in your chair.

as i wrote this, right after that last scentance, i tried to do as many as possible flexing to absolute maximum i could attain through the whole motion.

i don't know how many you can do, but flexing as hard as i can doing the air benchpress i was only able to do 12 untill my form went to shit and my muscles were screaming.

i'm intriuged anyways, i'm going to experiment with this and report back.

i know that this used to be an old bodybuilding trick but i want to see if it has any implications at all for strength gain. i'm going to try it while doing my bodyweight routien and see what happens. Can you even contract to the point of cns breakdown? only one way to find out!

EDIT:lol i just did air shrugs, and there is definate workout fatiuge. i don't know more experiments are needed. Anyone willing to devote some time and try this with me?

EDIT: a simple way to get you max contraction is to imagin your moving a bar with 8 or 10 plates.

LMAO OMG AIR DEADLIFTS!!!!!!! LMAO :D (ps i'm joking about that last one) i think i'm loosing my fucking mind

edit: or am I? hell if your tallented anough to max flex all the muscles used in a deadlift at the same time while doing the movement go for it.
oh no! carnals online! here comes the shit storm

i know this seams pretty gay but the scary part is it might actualy work to some degree.

EDIT:i was just doing some reading and it seams the Thai monks do this. not with actual exercises
but long flowing movements. i duno i'm intriuged
i'm from bizzaro world! EAT MY MAGIC BEANS!

my diet has been too clean for the past month, i think my brains eating itself
yomon said:
i don't know how many you can do, but flexing as hard as i can doing the air benchpress i was only able to do 12 untill my form went to shit and my muscles were screaming.

Don't let your form degrade, you'll hurt yourself.

I do what you describe quite often, except just for 2 reps or three, but not to get stronger or bigger, I don't really do it on purpose, it's just the desire to lift on rest days that makes me do it. I check soreness that way.

IMO it has no value.
Yomon, maybe you should think more 'inside the box' and let the lifting tradition of what works and what doesn't guide what you do. I've spent my time of funky experimenting with lifting and the only thing it has given me is knowledge of what DOES NOT WORK.
Then this is like ACIT but on the positive contraction as well...
IMO you'll be wasting valuable time for your goal of GFS.
you may be right i might be digging a little to far outside the box here with this one, but hell it's always a good way to learn something.

by the way what the hell is ACIT
Noskill said:


Another load of horseshit.
(Post whoring tonight to get my avatar)

ah good show! i see the simularities now. my favorite quote from urban

"because the lifter "makes" it difficult. why even bother with weight at all? why not just flex and move?"

edit: i still laugh every time i think about this.

think i'm going to go cheak myself in at the nerest insane assylum but i think i stil see a benefit that needs to be debunked. what if you did a program like this on the side along with your normal strength training and plyometrics? Essencialy you would add usefull muscle tissue that could later be activated for higher absolute strength right?

or should i just book into that insane assylum now?
actualy that article was fairly intruiging. I realize completly now this this will do nothing for strength. but if it can increase crossection why not?

i'm guna try this crap in addition to the bodywieght exercisses i do and write back to ya.

according to linked article. doing something like this can increase fast twitch musle fibers due to decreasing time to fatuige slow twitch, by way of starving the muscle of cirulation.

this is obviously not a method of training by itself, just something to add to your training.

but i say an increased arsenal can only lead to better performance.

no matter what people write i still have to experience things for myself.
Yomon, there is an isometric method both for MxS and hypertrophy.

In fact, probably the only useful exercise with the leg extension are isometric holds, particularly at more acute angles of the knee. The only problem for MxS is that isometrics yield heavily, heavily specialized results. In other words, they don't give you the general strength that squats or deadlifts yield (making you stronger all over, and in all ROM's), but only improve strength in that particular ROM. For example, an isometric hold at a 70 degree angle won't yield appreciable strength gains at 110 degrees or 150 degrees.

As per hypertrophy, yeah, it works, it's just not the most effective method. But if your muscles are stabilizing isometrically (as they should in many core freeweight lifts) that will yield an increase in size.
Madmick said:
Yomon, there is an isometric method both for MxS and hypertrophy.

In fact, probably the only useful exercise with the leg extension are isometric holds, particularly at more acute angles of the knee. The only problem for MxS is that isometrics yield heavily, heavily specialized results. In other words, they don't give you the general strength that squats or deadlifts yield (making you stronger all over, and in all ROM's), but only improve strength in that particular ROM. For example, an isometric hold at a 70 degree angle won't yield appreciable strength gains at 110 degrees or 150 degrees.

As per hypertrophy, yeah, it works, it's just not the most effective method. But if your muscles are stabilizing isometrically (as they should in many core freeweight lifts) that will yield an increase in size.

thanx i'm always looking for ways to refine my bodyweight program and this may be the next tickit to eveolve my program a bit.

i'm actualy currrently writing an article on my adventures, i'll post my rough draft when i'm done. it's all crap most people here probably already know, but it's always nice to see it all in one place. don't worry this stuff won't be in it, i only wrote about stuff i have tested and found to work.
ah what the hell this could brobably benefit from your input anyways it's full of errors and spelling mistakes but here is a rough draft of the stability strength section: (sorry about the format but i copied it from a text document) -needs much work still, these are just some thoughts jotted down.

Stability Strength exercisses section 1

Stabiltiy exercisses are the most overlooked aspect of almost all training accept for the gymnast. Following a strict
programe of stability strength exercisses progressivly increasing in dificulty, people have been known to deadlift
over 400lb thier first try amd bench more then 300lb having never tuched a weight before. Now some may argue that sure
if your born large then these may be standard first time lifts, but these numbers aren't from large people. There from
skinny little gymnasts! These little guys have been witnessed doing pullups with excess of 80lb hanging off them having
never tuched wieghts before. This is the power of stability strength. Now you might be thinking how the heck did these
guys get so strong without wieghts? well the fact is when you train your stability strength, your strengthening all
those tinny little stabalizer muscles that wieghted barbell moves barly tuch. Well now you might ask, how does that
translate to lifting strength? the answer is really quite simple. when you lift a heavy wieght in a compound movment,
like for instance bench press, the amount you lift dose not simply depend on the strength of your chest and arms, but
also largy depends on your bodies abillity to create total body tenssion. this holds even more weight when we talk
about squts and deadlifts.

exercisse #1 the pushup:


the pushup is one of these very elementry exercisses. But what suprisses me is that almost everyone knows OF it
but almost no one uses it or fully understand it. at its core the basic pushup is largy a upper body exercise,
focusing on the upper arm and chest area, but the pushup doesn't end here. What is not so known about the pushup is
that it also works the upper back, lower back, upper/mid/lower abs, lats, shoulders, hips....etc. can you see where
i'm going with this? not only is the pushup an upper body exercise but it also requires almost all the other muscles
in the body to maintain and hold the body in a tight possition while in motion. Therefore the pushup is a far more
complex and usefull tool then many would like to belive. This also classifies a pushup, done with proper technique,
under bodywieght controll or stability strength if you like things simple.

Learning Propour form:

to start a classic pushup it is common to start from the ground, but i like to sart from the up possition to get more
time under tention throughout the whole movement. to get into postion stand with your feet together, squat down,
lean forward and place your hands on the ground just a little bit more then shoulder width apart. Also your hands
position should be level with your shoulder area. now one at a time (or both at the same time if you like) shoot
your legs out fom underneath you and bring them togethe behind you. your feet should be tuched together and you should
be on the balls of your feet. Make yourself stiff and straight like a board, look forward at the wall infront of you
and this is our start posision. now to complete the pushup simply lower yourself, keeping you body stiff and straight,
till your almost tuching the ground with your stomach and chest. Now return to start and remember head forward and body
straight throughout the entire movement.

exercise #2 The Squat:


The squat is quite possibly the strongest weapon in the stability strength arsinal. Once again this is a very simple
exercise that almost everyone knows of but is amlost never actual practiced by many people. the focus of the squat is
lower body, as should be self evident, and main focus is hip/upper thigh/glute development. Beyond the basics range
of movement (squating past 90) the squat is also observed to have large affects for lower back/hamstrings/and lower abs.
Some argue that squating past 90 is bad for your knees, but this only has merit when the movement is performed to an
obsen frequency and quantity, for instance thousands daily. but when performed at a moderate frequency, this same
movement actualy helps reabilitate weak or sore knees. so like in all things in life balance is nessesary in order
to progress.

Learning Propour Form:

For a squat, start with your feet shoulder width apart, cross your hands behind your head and squat down. Now one
thing to note on decent, you should be keeping your wiegth on your heels not your toes or balls of feet. Also make sure
your knees do no extend past your toes and keep your back as straight as possible. When you decend aim for as low as
physicaly possible without loosing balance, remeber the lower you go the more stability, hamsting and lower back
muscles come into play. If your having dificulty getting low put your arms out infront of you during the squat or in
more extream cases, hold a counter balance in front of you. But you'll want to rid yourself of these depandancies as
soon as possible. To complete the squat just return to standing position moving through the same motions.

Exercise #3 The Situp:

the situp is the most widly know exercise known to man and quite possibly the most practiced as well. But the problem
is that not many perform them correctly. Now latly i have been hearing some situp bashing saying that they are bad for
your back, This couldn't be further from the truth. My best guess as to where this claim came from was some company
trying to promote it's ab crunch machine, also judging by the massive amount of these damn ab chrunching machines
i'd be willing to bet that a few scientists were paid off to manipulate evedence suporting the claim. But like with
the squat the only way you could actualy harm yourself doing situps is by doing them by the thousands. The body is
not meant to operate this way anyways so it's kind of a no brainer that thousands of situps in one session daily
would be harmfull. As for the muscles situps work it is largly uppre and middle abdominals, but it also works lower/midlle
back muscles as well as lowwer abs.

Learning Propour Form:

To perform a situp, lay on the ground, knees up, feet flat on the floor,and legs together. Now your hands should be
behind your head with your elbows straight out to the sides. To start curl your midsection first and while keeping the
curl, raise up to your knees. make sure you don't raise your feet or pull on the back of your head. To finish keep the
curl in your midsection and return to the ground, then roll yourself out so your back is flat on the floor again.
Simple no?

Exercises #4 The Leg Raise:

leg raises are another fundamental abdominal exercise. they are not too overly complex, but the work the lower abs and
to some extent lower back. they are not too high on stabilty strength, but to omit these would be a mistake because they
largly help to build a balanced abdominal wall.

learning Propour form:

to start lay on the ground with your legs a feet together, put your hands behind you in the small of your back with palms
down and raise your head so your looking at the wall across from you. Now raise your legs with your toes pointed and your
knees very slightly bent, raise them untill the make a 90 with your body then return, but not al lthe way top the floor.
you'll want to keep your legs slightly eleveated inbetween reps just to increase the intensity of the exercise, in other
words not tuching the ground with you legs untill your set is done.

now don't think it stops at just these exercises because it dosen't, that wouldn't be progressive training!

Stability Strength section 2:

Exercise #1 one hand pusups(level1):

Ah! the wholy grail of all strength conditioning, but don't think i'm going to have you doing full one hand pushups at
level 2. no, were just going to do an exercise to prepare us for one hand pushups. The main advantage of the one hand
pushup is that it activates far more core stability muscles then the standard pushup because the body has to copensate
for the loss of the stability one one arm.

learning propour form:

to do a level1 one hand pushup we will want to start in the same position as a normal pushup, but from our knees.
Once you have positioned yourself, spread your knees apart to stabalize your rear end (wider apart the easier it will be).
now take one of your arms and place it behind your back and keeping pushup form in mind lower yourself and push back up
with your remaining arm. if this is still too hard for you, then you can do it from your hips instead of your knees. but
realize that this significantly decreases the amount of stability work being done. so just use the hip possision untill
your arm gets strong enough to suport your wieght (which shouldn't take long)

Exercise #2 one leg squat (level1):

Remeber the squat? well now we are going to take it to the next level. You won't be preforming it in ful range of motion yet
so don't work about that. this will work the same muscles as the normal squat but with far more intensity. there is equipment
needed for this particular exercise, but it's only a chair and some form of counter balanc ewieght you can hold onto.

Learning propour form:

to start this exercise we are going to start by simply sitting in a chair with some form of counter balance weight in our lap.
now hold the counterbalance wieght in front of you at arms length and raise one leg off the ground. With the leg remaining
on the floor push off the chair untill your standing on that one leg, throught the whole rep never let that elevated leg
tuch the ground. If your having trouble getting off the chair remember that the counter wieght is to modify your center of
balance and the heavyer it is the further in front of you your center of balance will be, therfore makeing it easyier the
larger the weight is. When the motion becomes more simplistic and you feel more balanced start from standing position instead of
sitting in the chair. next master the one leg squat to chair depth with no counter balance, do this by useing progressivly lighter
loads for the counter balance. Once you have achieved this level, you can now start squating
down on to surfaces closer and closer to the ground. once you can do a one leg squat in full range of motion without having
any object under you at all and with a counterbalance wieght then you have completed level one. At this point it does not
matter how heavy a counter balance wieght you must use in order to get to full range of motion, all that matters is that you can
move through the full range of motion. Which is a huge deal! if you can now do this, congradulations! you are now stronger
then a large portion of the people on this planet.

exercise #3 handstand pushups(level1):

it's now time to start developing our overhead strength to a large degree. The muscle groups this works to a large degree is
the arms, shoulders, the whole back, and your abs. the only equipment required here is a little bit of floor space and a wall.
The reaon why this is a stability exercise whould be fairly obvious, the whole body has to flex and maitain the upright postion

learning propour form:

Executing the handstand pushups is going to be one of the toughest things you will do. To start we are going to find an open portion
of floor and wall, once you have, face the wall and get down into the same postion you would for a pushup but do not shootout
your legs, keep them tuked unerneath you. Now we are going to atempt a handstand, use your legs to shoot yourself up into the
handstand opsition with your feet resting against the wall behind you to keep your stability. For the first little while this
may be enough in itself to tire you out so just work on holding the handstand position as long as possible untill the position
feels natural and easy. Once you've mastered that try going for repetitions. get into the handstand position and look down
at the ground. now simply lower yourself and then press back up. you may have to work on it at first by doing half or quarter
repetitions before you can move onto full reps. once you can do full repetitions you are done with this section.

One last note for section 2:

while your working on these new techniques it is essencial that you keep doing the exercisses in secton 1 as well as section 2.
section 2 sould be considered only suplementry to your current program of section 1 and should not be a whole program on its
own. Also if you have mastered the ab exercises in section 1 and are finding them too simple now try adding wieght to them.
for the situps behind the neak is the best spot to add wiegth and with leg raises try holding wieght inbetween your feet.

Stabiity strength section 3:

A little bit of prequile, make sure you have mastered all the ranges of motion in level2 before moving on to level3 because it
only gets harder from here on out.

Exercise #1 One Hand pushups (level2):

Very simular to level one accept this time we are going to increase the inesity by raising on to our feet. this will amplify
the strain on core stabalizing muscles and is exelent for rotational strength. You may also notice that doing one hand pushups
in this method also involves alot of back muscles as well, don't worry, back strength is actualy a goal of this next level.

Learning propour form:

For level2 we are going to start in out standard pushup postition but with a litle bit of a twist. instead of puting your feet
together behind you, your going to spreed them out behind you (remember the wider the leg are apart the easier the exercise
will be). Once in this position raise one arm and put it behaind you back like in level one and lower yourself on the remaining
arm keeping your body as straight and stiff as possible. Try to keep yourself paralel with the floor and not rotate yourself
so your leaning to the side with the arm tuching the ground because this will also eliminate how many stabalizer muscles your
using. The only progresstion i want you to focus on in level 2 is keeping perfect form and having your legs only moderatly
spaced apart. once you hav acomplised this it's on to level 3

Exercise #2 One leg squats (level2)

If you have completed level1 of this exercise you can now do it well in a full range of motion with a counter balance wieght.
but let me let you in on a little secret :) your currently cheating. what we are going to work on now is getting you to doing
full reps without any counterbalance at all! this will greatly increase the intensity of the exercises because it shifts the
majior workload from the quads more over to the abs, hamstrings, glute and lower back. this will be a progressive exercise,
so don't panic if you can't to a one leg squat right away without the counter balance. it dosen't work like that.

learning Propour form:

start from your standing one leg squat position and move throught the one leg squat, but one thing to keep an eye out for now.
Start monitoring your technique so that you are doing it more like a normal squat but on one leg. So in othe words when you
are squating on your one leg make sure you knee does not extend past your toes and force from your heel making it your center
of balance. once you have achieved this, it is now time to start lowering the wieght nessesary for your counter balance. this
will take a long time! so do not get frustrated and give up, it takes everone a long time to master this. Once you are useing
no counter balance at all you have mastered level2

Exercise #3 Handstand pushups (level2)

Now that you can that you can do handstand pushups well from the floor it's tme to raise things up a notch, literly! in this
exercise you will need 2 pieces of equipment, 2 chairs of equal hight or something simular that can hold your wieght. What
we are going to atempt to do with this exercisse is increase the rather limited range of motion which the floor handstand
pushup has. by doing handstand pushups inbetween 2 chairs we increase the range of motion because we are now effectivly
eliminating the floor from our equation for range of motion. this will do 2 things for us, increase inesity overall of the
exercise and increase our strength in a wider range of motion.

learning propour Form:

before we start, place the chairs against the wall facing eachother and leave enough space inbetween for your head to fit.
Now squat in front of the chairs with a hand placed on each one and BLAST up into the handstand postition. I say blast
becasue it will take significant effort to get youself all the way up into position on the chairs and like before use the
wall as a source of stability for your feet. once in position simply lower yourself as far as you can go and press back up.
simple? yes.

End Section notes;

like before these are still suplementry exercisses and should be done with the exercises from section 1, but not with the
exercises from section 2. We are done with section 2 now and there is no need to continue doing inferrior exercisses when
we are already doing the smae thing but harder.

Stability strength Section4:

If you have made it this far, congradulations are in order! not many people have the mental strength to push themselves as
far as you have now. So whats left for the already fine tuned high performance body you now have? well of course more progress
through program tweaking!

Exercise #1 one hand pushups(level3)

I know what your thinking, how could we possibly make this even harder on stability muscles? well realy it's quite simple.
remember that arm behind our back? well were going to make it do some work now. we are going to increase the stability work of
this exercise by leaps and bounds by using something as simple as leverage.

learning propour form:

there are 2 things we are going to tweak here. so to strat lets get into our regular one hand pushup position, but this time
instead of spreading your feeet apart i want you to try and acomplish one with your feet together. see how much harder that
was? get comfortable with that because we have yet one more thing to add. Remember the arm behind your back? i want you to
bring it out from behind your back and shoot it out to the side. this has increased the leverage on the unsuported side of
the body even further making the one hand pushup even harder. take your time and get your technique down, but once you get
comfortable agian i want you to start adding wieght to the elevated arm. grab a small wieght, rock, book whatever you want.
the heavyer the weight the higher the intensity. From here on out i'll leave it to your own imagination, but a hint is a
wieghted vest is always a good way to add more resistance. and you can get them all the way up to 100lb.

exercise #2 one leg squat (level3)

in level2 we eliminated the need for a counter balance so what else could there be? well to be honest no much. the only
thing we can really add to this with much affect is wieght to the core of the body. so where are we going to put this weight?
lets discuss that in more detail.

learning propour form:

obviously we are going to be doing a normal one leg squat, but this time we are adding wieght with eitheir a dumbell, wieght
plate or barbell. it really doen't matter which because you are going to be holding the weight in the same general place.
If you are useing a dumbell or weight plate simply hold the weight close to your chest and perform a one leg squat. You
should be able to feel an increase in intensity. With a barbell, scoop it upin the crotches of your elbows first from the
ground. Once you are standing with the weigth cross your forearms and place your hands on the oposting sides of your neck
relative to thier position. i.e. right hand on left side, left hand on right side. now simply do a one leg squat with the
weight while holding it close. thats it, now it's all up to you.

exercise #3 handStand Pusups (level3)

Stabalizers be warned, your about to get the beating of your lifetime! What we are going to do here is work on getting
away from the wall in our handstand pushups this will greatly increase the need for back and ab strength for stabillity.
so without delay lets get to it.

Learning propour form:

get away from the wall! Really it's that simple. start by working from the floor without the wall and move up to the chairs
once you feel cumfortable. One tip is to not explode up into position you should have enough strength by now to slowly raise
yourself up into possition without the threat of throwing yourself across the room from exploding up. Once you have mastered
this the only thing you could possibly do is add wieght to your body. once again a vest is a great option for this. You could
try and go for one handers but i'm not even sure that this is possible without the support of a wall. If you can do it let
me know!

End section Notes:

like before, this is meant to replace the exercises in section3 not to be added to them and as always keep doing your section1
exercisses, nobody can ever neglect these.
you think i should add chinups to this? it's not something i regularly do so i didn't add it.