T Nation

Isometrics for recovery?

Out of curiousity, would doing a “light” isometric for a long period assist in recovery?

I want the opportunity to get more stares at my gym.

Definetly! During very long isometrics (we’re talking up to 240 seconds here! But generally in the 60-180 seconds range) the blood flow to the muscle is significantly halted. However, once you relax said muscles there is what is known as reactive hyperhemia: a prodigious increase in blood flow to the muscle. This will greatly help with muscle recovery.

Tony Schwartz, Tom Myslinski and I have been working on a training technique combining very long duration isometrics/eccentric actions in the stretched position to increase flexibility, muscle mass and recovery capacities at the same time! The method will be described in my upcoming pdf book.

Flexibility with an isometric?! Will this also be featured in a future (probably distant future) article on T-mag?

Sweet deal! Thanks for the answer.

Hey Christian- I found that out myself

If you saw one of my posts (plus video clips) here

I did 8 sec down 2 sec pause epxlosive concentric squats aorund 70% of 1RM for 4x2 for my full oly squats

And I found my hamstrings and hip flexibility improved dramtaticly
When i did a sit and reach stretch, plus my squat form improved as a result of better hip flexibility.

That’s a good start! But I’m talking about 60-240 sec. holds!!! The basic principle is that you hold a position where the targe muscle is stretche (e.g. low push up positions, hands on blocks. Or your example of a romanian deadlift, hips back/hams stretched). You try to maintain that position for as long as possible, when it becomes impossible to do so, the isometric action will because a superslow eccentric action during which the range of motion is slowly increased. You still try to maintain that position, but obviously the muscle begins to stretch some more. Stretching a muscle that is under tension will lead to greater increases in flexibility and will improve the capacity of a muscle to produce force even in extreme positions.

Well I also do bulgarian splitsquat iso hold for 30+ secs , normally before I do splitjerks, that is probbaly helping too :slight_smile:

Most definetly! One of the best exercise you can do to improve the quaity of your jerk. Especially if you maintain a 90 degrees knee AND hip angle.

I found those Bulgarian split squat iso holds help me learn the arched back torso position for the catch lockout part of the split jerk.
I felt very stable and solid with the jerks afterwards

It is a bit of a killer too!


I read about these things similar to what your talking about. I read about this is an article about sprinter Tom Green. You start off like a split squat with one foot out front, the back foot on a block. Take 30 sec to dip down to parallel, hold for 30 sec, take 30 sec rise halfway up, hold for 15 sec, then take 15 sec to rise the rest of the way. If its not hard then hold dumbbells in your hands.

could this technique cause muscle pulls?

P-DOG: Not sure which version you are referring to, but if you do the movement as Christian has described here and as I describe in the book you will not be at risk for muscle pulls. On the contrary; you will actually prevent muscle pulls and other injuries in the future.

Exactly! The pdf book should be available early next week. Tony has a very comprehensive chapter on this form of stretching. It will revolutionize the world of strength training!

So How would you go about incorporating this method into the WSB Template (finisher, extra workout etc)?

Also, Could you explain more about the dynamics of the method? I get the Iso hold, but how long does the Eccentric portion last, and any other nuggets you’d like to indulge?

The EQI (eccentric quasi-isometric) method has a wide variey of applications and therefore can be used at various times in the training session depending on the goal. This is too wide a topic to cover here, but in the book I go into detail as to when it should be applied based on the desired effect.