Overcoming Isometrics During Isolation


Technically not ‘equipment-free’. We’re using a towel, but I hope for your sake that you have one of those at home.

Overcoming isometrics can be used to develop maximal strength, especially when it comes to breaking through sticking points (think bottom of the bench press).

So what are overcoming isometrics?

First let’s describe an isometric: Isometrics are a type of muscle contraction where the muscle is under tension but there is no change in joint angle. You can see them in some of the exercises we post i.e. an isometric push-up - where you pause for a few seconds in the bottom position before returning to the top.

Overcoming isometrics are a little bit different. This involves putting maximum effort into trying to shift an immovable object. In doing so, you put every bit of energy and effort you have into moving something that isn’t going to budge. This enhances the number of muscle fibres recruited and can improve your maximal strength.

In order to hit the max strength end of the force-velocity curve (we’ve spoken about this in the past, look up force-velocity on our website if you’re interested) you need a large neural stimulus through heavy loads. The problem with training during this isolation is the lack of neural stimulus (basically brain activation) available. This stimulus is required to get stronger. Max strength training in a gym requires you to complete under 5 reps at a high percentage of your 1RM on the big lifts (bench, squat, dead, chin, row etc).

We can’t do that without equipment at home. So the solution is using overcoming isometrics with a towel. And we’re going to do the 7 basic human movement patterns:

Push (horizontal and vertical)

Pull (horizontal and vertical)