T Nation

Dynamic/Ballistic Isometrics

In this article you talked about Ballistic Isometric. You expressed how they are not really what we want for body building purposes, but for strength training they have merit.

Can you delve deeper into how these would be performed,how they improve explosiveness from a static position and how you could incorporate them into training.

Also pro’s and con’s of including this type of training. Thanks CT!

Well, I believe that for strength, this method has it’s greatest application when it comes to blasting through sticking points.

In strength lifts I see a sticking point as being kinda like a brick that a karate guy is trying to break. If he pushes really hard on the brick, even if he is the strongest man in the world, he will not be abple to break the brick.

The one who will be able to is the one who can explode through it.

So I will go as far as to say that sticking points are speed-related not strength related. After all, what a sticking point does is slow down your movement… if it comes to a halt, then you cannot complete the lift. So the key is to be able to either produce enough speed prior to the sticking point to blast through it, or to have very little speed decrement during the sticking point.

Dynamic isometric do both. And most of all they develop the capacity to turn up force production a notch during a movement if needs be, to compensate for the decceleration caused by the sticking point.

I like this method, but the risk is trying to slam into the pins, this can be dangerous. You have to push into it at normal speed and increase force production once in contact.

Would you recommend someone doing this type of training to ensure they get Power Drive post workout to help keep the CNS sharp?

CT, I think you will say it’s a poor substitute, but what about using bands, especially if you don’t have access to a power rack?

[quote]germanicus wrote:
CT, I think you will say it’s a poor substitute, but what about using bands, especially if you don’t have access to a power rack?[/quote]

Well, the bands will work but for other reasons, they cannot be used ‘‘instead’’ of the dynamic isometrics… it’s kinda like saying that you can use a saw instead of a screwdriver.

And although I like bands, they can easily be overuse because of the very high eccentric demands they provide.

[quote]germanicus wrote:
CT, I think you will say it’s a poor substitute, but what about using bands, especially if you don’t have access to a power rack?[/quote]

I can speak to this a bit Germ from my perspective. Nearing the finish of a 12 week cycle where I bench and squat INTO bands I can say this: they’ve increased my speed, explosiveness and thus strength. However they aren’t just hard on the CNS, they can over tax the muscles.

Bands CAN lead to increased explosive power, however without careful thought I think they can be more easily over done than dynamic isometrics. I’m sure CT has more to say than me.

[quote]corstijeir wrote:

[quote]germanicus wrote:
CT, I think you will say it’s a poor substitute, but what about using bands, especially if you don’t have access to a power rack?[/quote]

I can speak to this a bit Germ from my perspective. Nearing the finish of a 12 week cycle where I bench and squat INTO bands I can say this: they’ve increased my speed, explosiveness and thus strength. However they aren’t just hard on the CNS, they can over tax the muscles.

Bands CAN lead to increased explosive power, however without careful thought I think they can be more easily over done than dynamic isometrics. I’m sure CT has more to say than me.[/quote]

As I was driving home I thought more about this. Bands teach you to accelerate through the lift, which is great, except what if you don’t have the bar speed to get through it, you can generally grind against the band for only so long before it slows you down so much you end up with the weight coming back at you.

This is the purpose of the dynamic isometrics, to increase explosiveness from the start and muscle contractions. So I feel bands work an entirely different spectrum than what’s being discussed here.

Just some thoughts.

CT & Corstejir, as my log shows, I uae bands quite a bit–and like them. In the past I did a form of isometrics where I would use a high band and overhead press against them. In particular, I went from a light to a medium. I would press on the pair of mediums until they’d stop me, then do an isometric hold for a 7 to 10 count.

It seemed to add a bit to my regular press and I liked the eccentric part because it forced me to press up. On the rare occasions I’ve been to a gym with a power rack and did isometrics, when I pressed against the pins, I wasn’t sure I was exerting the most effort against them. With the bands, I felt their eccentric tendency to shorten to original length gave me instantaneous feedback, and as a result could press at my utmost.

This may be a quirk of mine, but I tend to have more confidence in getting an isometric hold. But I’ll admit I haven’t done isometric’s except on face pulls, again with bands, in a while. I’ve never had the band pull the weight down–like a rebound–but have been able to control it’s pulling the bar down–admittedly with a big eccentric movement. But I have no objection against eccentric movement although that seems to be a heretical thought at T-Nation.

Keep in mind, when I was your age, or just a few years older, I was training in the Arthur Jones era and, at times trained with both Mentzer brothers. “Negatives” as they were called back then were quite the item then.

[quote]germanicus wrote:
CT & Corstejir, as my log shows, I uae bands quite a bit–and like them. In the past I did a form of isometrics where I would use a high band and overhead press against them. In particular, I went from a light to a medium. I would press on the pair of mediums until they’d stop me, then do an isometric hold for a 7 to 10 count.

It seemed to add a bit to my regular press and I liked the eccentric part because it forced me to press up. On the rare occasions I’ve been to a gym with a power rack and did isometrics, when I pressed against the pins, I wasn’t sure I was exerting the most effort against them. With the bands, I felt their eccentric tendency to shorten to original length gave me instantaneous feedback, and as a result could press at my utmost.

This may be a quirk of mine, but I tend to have more confidence in getting an isometric hold. But I’ll admit I haven’t done isometric’s except on face pulls, again with bands, in a while. I’ve never had the band pull the weight down–like a rebound–but have been able to control it’s pulling the bar down–admittedly with a big eccentric movement. But I have no objection against eccentric movement although that seems to be a heretical thought at T-Nation.

Keep in mind, when I was your age, or just a few years older, I was training in the Arthur Jones era and, at times trained with both Mentzer brothers. “Negatives” as they were called back then were quite the item then. [/quote]

Negatives can be very powerful tools! But like all they need the right application.

Corst. can’t disagree with you there. The problem with “negatives” back in my “youth” during the Arthur Jones era was you needed at least two strong guys to lift the weight on the positive/concentric part of the rep so one could do the “negative” part. Jones tried to develop some Nautilus machines to eliminate the necessity of the human assistance but they didn’t pan out. Believe me, when the Mentzer brothers did negatives they were handling huge poundage and often took four guys to lift the weight up. This inconvienience soon put a crimp in “negative” only training although Jones insisted it was more effective. [Keep in mind, this was in the mid-1970’s and training effect knowledge then was primative compared to today. I started serious lifting in 1959 and the current thought then was weight training would make you muscle bound. In fact my freshman year in college the football coach would kick anybody off the team if they weight trained.

Times change, don’t they?] In my current workouts, the only “negatives” I do is controlling the decent of the bar, especially if it is used in conjunction with bands. That being said, the DOMS I get hours later tells me my muscles got a workout. It’s a feeling I attribute to a good workout. Maybe that isn’t current weight training PC, but then I march to my own beat

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:
Well, I believe that for strength, this method has it’s greatest application when it comes to blasting through sticking points.

In strength lifts I see a sticking point as being kinda like a brick that a karate guy is trying to break. If he pushes really hard on the brick, even if he is the strongest man in the world, he will not be abple to break the brick.

The one who will be able to is the one who can explode through it.

So I will go as far as to say that sticking points are speed-related not strength related. After all, what a sticking point does is slow down your movement… if it comes to a halt, then you cannot complete the lift. So the key is to be able to either produce enough speed prior to the sticking point to blast through it, or to have very little speed decrement during the sticking point.

Dynamic isometric do both. And most of all they develop the capacity to turn up force production a notch during a movement if needs be, to compensate for the decceleration caused by the sticking point.

I like this method, but the risk is trying to slam into the pins, this can be dangerous. You have to push into it at normal speed and increase force production once in contact.
[/quote]

There is another method where you lower the weight a quarter of the way then pause for a 3 count, lower again, pause for 3 count, until you hit the bottom, then you pause briefly and explode up.

This method seems to really improve stability and muscle fiber contraction. Have you ever had experience with this version?

[quote]corstijeir wrote:

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:
Well, I believe that for strength, this method has it’s greatest application when it comes to blasting through sticking points.

In strength lifts I see a sticking point as being kinda like a brick that a karate guy is trying to break. If he pushes really hard on the brick, even if he is the strongest man in the world, he will not be abple to break the brick.

The one who will be able to is the one who can explode through it.

So I will go as far as to say that sticking points are speed-related not strength related. After all, what a sticking point does is slow down your movement… if it comes to a halt, then you cannot complete the lift. So the key is to be able to either produce enough speed prior to the sticking point to blast through it, or to have very little speed decrement during the sticking point.

Dynamic isometric do both. And most of all they develop the capacity to turn up force production a notch during a movement if needs be, to compensate for the decceleration caused by the sticking point.

I like this method, but the risk is trying to slam into the pins, this can be dangerous. You have to push into it at normal speed and increase force production once in contact.
[/quote]

There is another method where you lower the weight a quarter of the way then pause for a 3 count, lower again, pause for 3 count, until you hit the bottom, then you pause briefly and explode up.

This method seems to really improve stability and muscle fiber contraction. Have you ever had experience with this version?[/quote]

Of course, I wrote about it as well as several others combnation of isometric/dynamic in my second book (Theory and Applications…). I like to for beginner to learn a proper movement pattern and positions. And maybe as a refresher for advanced athletes, but once one is fairly advanced ina movement I find that it messes up the dynamic structure of an exercise and can have more cons than pros if used too often.