T Nation

Functional Isometric Squats

I have been studying some different training techniques in my strength training class when I came across isometric lifts. At first I didn’t think anything of them until I thought of Poliquins Extreme Arm training in paper mag #2. His workout was a killer and I started to wonder why it was so effective. Well as it turns out isometric contractions can lead to increase strength at the angle of the contraction and then within 20 degree either way. So if you are doing a curl at a 90 degree isometric contraction, use can actually increase strength from 70 to 110 degrees. Great for sticking points or just weaker parts of the lift. But then I got creative.
I decided to try this method out with squats. I set up in the power rack like I would have with his arm routine. My first set of squats was at the strongest part of the lift. From 135 degrees to just short of lockout. Kind of like a 1/4 squat. Then I performed 5 reps on the top of the fith rep I pushed the bar up against the rack as hard as possable for 8 seconds and then tried for a 6th reps. Three sets of that, then on to the same at 90 degrees and then three more at 45 degrees, finally finishing with three sets of full squats- 8 reps. Well I couldn’t walk for a couple of days. Trained like this 2 more times and my squat was up, in fact way up. Well there was my experiment. Give it a try if you want. If you did poliquins arm workout expect the same amount of pain. Have fun!

Interesting. I did the same thing with the bench press but never thought about trying it with the squat. Does it hurt your low back any?

Isometric contractions are an excellent mode of eliminating any type of momentum from your performance of a movement (why do you think rehabilitation facilities use them) the princible, though it is a bit more complex than this is bascically to utilize the full spectrum of motion for one specifice muscle(nothing more) and in isolating it by slowly extending and contracting the muscle. The best way to get a perfect isometric contraction believe it or not is to get your hands on some hospital rehab equipment(or just have some of your doctor friends sneak you in to the facility since the higher end isolation equipment is as costly as a Mercedes) garuanteed if anyone can correctly perform the movements in proper form they will see muscular gains that are genuinly steroidal because the eliminate the accompanyment of other muscle groups in your excercises.

Lower back was a little tired at the end but nothing that was a major discomfort. As long as your back is strong you should have no problem.