5 Isometrics You Should Be Able To Do

Isometrics are a commonly misunderstood aspect of Strength and Conditioning. If applied appropriately, they can be very beneficial.

The exercises I’ve chosen today address building strength, muscle activation, and conditioning the tissue to stress. Plus, they cover 5 key patterns that I think you’re getting familiar with by now:
Core, Upper Push, Upper Pull, Lower Pull/Hinge, Lower Push (delivered in that order below)

Planks (Front & Side)Plank Isometric
Why: Anterior and Lateral Chain Strength and Stability (core)
Target time : 1 minute
Regression: Perform from knees

Coaching points:
-Long neck
-Maintain spinal curves
-Avoid hyperextension at low back

I find myself checking side planks frequently, as an imbalance left/right can cause a ruckus. Lateral chain strength and stability is paramount for movement quality everywhere.

Handstand (start with wall)
Why: Upper pushing and shoulder integrity
Target time: 1 minute
Regression: Downward Dog

Coaching points:
-Active Shoulder (press the floor away from you)
-Straight body, tight core
-Long neck

Bonus: Try the exercise with arms bent–Hello Triceps and Delts!

HangChin up hang
Why: Grip and Pulling
Target time: 1 minute
Regression: Inverted Row Hold

Coaching points:
-Shoulders down
-Long Neck
-Tight core (think hollow position)
-Legs together

Bonus: Flexed Arm Hang
As an added bonus, we can make this more strength oriented by holding the top or middle position of a pull-up. This is extremely beneficial for truly owning all upper pulling movements. Perform on rings for best results.

Single Leg Bridge
Why: Glute strength, posterior chain strength, core strength
Target time: 1 minute per leg
Regression: Two-leg bridge

Coaching Points:
-Hips stay level
-Avoid hyperextending lumbar spine
-Arms out to side (no helping!)

Wall Sit
Why: Leg Strength, and muscle activation
Target time: 1 minute

Coaching points:
-Maintain lumbar curve
-Relax upper body (or do wall slides as a bonus!)
-Tripod foot (even weight between heel, ball of foot on big toe side, and ball of foot on pinky toe side)
-Hips flexed approximately 90 degrees

The wall sit is typically used as a punishment in boot camp, but there is a value to being able to perform this for at least 1 minute–after that you don’t really need to focus on it.

Give these 5 moves a shot and see how you do. Many people will struggle to hold the top and middle positions of a pull-up, the handstand, and quite possibly, the side plank.

If you notice an area of weakness, spend the next few weeks addressing the problem and re-test. You should be able to make very significant improvements in a short amount of time with the following programming:
3 sets at 80% with a full recovery in between, a few times a week

Better every day,

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