Static exercises, also known as Isometrics, are a form of training where the body performs little to no movement while contracting its muscle fibers. Key benefits of static training are:
- Increased muscular endurance
- Increased muscular strength
- Time saving
Muscular Endurance – Static training is very taxing on your CNS (Central Nervous System). This occurs very quickly while performing static holds making your muscles fatigue faster than if you were to perform a standard eccentric/concentric exercise (think pushup). In order for your body to handle the stress placed upon it the muscle fibers have to adapt with a higher state of fatigue. This results in your muscles being able to perform the same exercise more easily the next time you try it.
Muscular Strength – A great advantage to static holds is their ability to increase your muscular strength without lifting heavy objects (although, that is an option). Any static movement requires you to engage every single muscle fiber to their fullest capacity. As a result your muscles have to get stronger in order to perform the movement for a longer period of time or at a more difficult angle.
Toning – Since static holds increase muscular strength resulting in larger muscles. Toning only happens when muscles enlarge (and fat cells shrink). Oh, and ladies don’t be afraid of enlarged muscles. We’re talking about that lean toned look, not body builder bodies.
Time Saving – Most static exercise based workouts should take no longer then 20-30 min. Sure, you may attempt a longer workout but your CNS won’t allow you to continue. When your body says it’s time to stop you listen. The added bonus is time saved in your workout.
You may add static exercises into your current fitness routine but you must do it correctly to see the benefits. If static holds are something you wish to focus on in your workouts then perform those movements first (maybe one or two static exercises) before continuing with your normal routine. However, if you just want to ‘play around’ with static holds or supplement them into your current program then perform your static holds near the end of your workout. But, beware of the shakes!
One common occurrence of static training is shaking. This happens when you contract your muscles so intensely your muscle fibers make your body jitter like you’re out in the cold without a jacket. Don’t worry. This is normal. It’s your muscle fibers taking turns bearing the load of the exercise. Each one is in ‘rapid fire’ mode in order to help your body hold position.
A sample static exercise with sets is provided below:
3 sets x 15-30 sec.
1-2 min. breaks between each set
Muscle Worked: Everything!