Could we start a list, or is anyone aware of a list, of all the different isometric, eccentric, and concentric methods, divided into which methods are better for hypertrophy and which for strength?
Are you referring to quasi isometric isolateral force reps? [lots of gains]
1. ISOMETRIC AND ISO-DYNAMIC METHODS
1.1. Pure isometric methods
Overcoming isometrics: Trying to move an immovable resistance. Producing force without movement, with the intent to contract/shorten the muscle. Normally pushing/pulling against pins. This is better for strength and ideally done for sets of 6-9 seconds.
Yielding isometrics: Holding as resistance in place. Producing force without movement with the intent to prevent the resistance from moving down/lengthening the muscle. It is normally better for hypertrophy than strength using durations of 30 to 90 seconds per set.
EQI/Loaded stretching: This is a form of yielding isometrics but done in the extreme position of the exercise (where the target muscle is stretched). You must actually focus on trying to use muscle action to stretch even further down, this means contracting the opposing muscles of those being stretched. This is done normally for a total of 3 minutes divided into 1-4 sets depending on capacities.
1.2. Iso-dynamic methods with isometric emphasis
Functional isometrics (overcoming): Using two sets of safety pins around 3-5" apart, you do a partial movement from the lower set of pins until the bar touches the higher set of pins. At that point, you continue pressing/pulling against the pins for a certain period of time with an effort level of 80-100% depending on the parameters. This is most effective to strengthen a weak point. I normally use three levels: 1) Repetitive effort: 3-5 reps with a 4-5 seconds isometric at 80% 2) Near maximal effort: 2-3 reps with a 5-7 seconds isometric at 90% effort and 3) Maximal effort: 1 rep with a 7-9 seconds isometric at 100% effort. The weight on the bar should be heavy enough that at completing the set is hard but proper form maintained.
Functional isometrics (yielding): Similar to above but only using one set of pins. You lift the bar from the pins with a 3-5" range of motion then hold that position. I prefer to use this method to strengthen key positions in a movement when form tends to break down and normally use a 9-15 seconds hold.
Drop and catch: Holding a weight at the top of the concentric range of motion (or your body weight) you release the weight and catch it at the mid-point of the range of motion (or in a position you want to strengthen). The catch must be solid, no “give” or absorption. Imagine a gymnastic sticking the landing. This is a very advanced method, specifically to develop and athlete’s capacity to absorb force (useful in changes of direction).
Reactive/oscilatory isometrics: Similar in effect to the drop and catch method, but you never let go of the bar and the range of motion is super short. It is a tad complicated to explain only with words. Imagine holding a barbell curl at the 90 degrees position. The muscles are contracted maximally. This is the starting position. You suddenly release all muscle tension. This will have the bar/arms move down. You only allow a downward movement for a very short range of motion (1-3") and immediately re-contract the muscles as hard as possible to stop the downward movement. Hold for 1-2 seconds, then go back up to the starting position for the next rep. As you get more efficient with this method, the goal will be to go very fast between reps.
1.3. Iso-dynamic methods with dynamic emphasis
Iso-dynamic pre-fatigue: This is mostly a method to improve mind-muscle connection. You start each set with a yielding isometric at the position of greatest tension (normally mid-range for squats and presses, and peak contractions for rows). The hold can be anywhere from 10 to 30 seconds. You then immediately proceed to do your planned reps. While this can be done for strength, focusing on the weak position (holding 10 seconds and then doing low reps) it is more effective when used for hypertrophy with a hold lasting 15-30 seconds then doing 6-10 reps.
Iso-dynamic post-fatigue: Similar to above, but you perform the hold at the end of your set. For example, you would do 6-12 reps and on the last rep, you would hold the position of highest tension for as long as tolerable. This is mostly a hypertrophy method aimed at increasing fiber fatigue when you can’t continue doing full reps and also increasing the release of local growth factors. It technically can be done for strength, to work on a weak point. you would do 3-6 heavy reps then hold a position just above your weak point.
Iso-dynamic post-fatigue loaded stretch: This is to be used on exercises where you can keep the target muscle under tension when it is being stretched (the low position of a DB press for example). You perform your set and on at the end of the set you go to the fully stretched position and hold for as long as tolerable. This is mostly a hypertrophy method that works by increasing growth factors release, IGF-1 receptor sensitivity, and, potentially, hyperplasia. It also is effective at maintaining or improving range of motion while you are adding muscle mass.
Intra-rep iso-dynamic: This refers to adding 1-3 isometric holds during the execution of each repetition. The number of holds, their length and when they are done can vary depending on the training effect you want. You can do the holds during the eccentric (which allows you to use more weight), during the concentric (which is harder but allows you to strengthen the whole range of motion more effectively by throwing away all momentum) or a combination of both. Normally the duration of the pauses is inversely proportional to the number of holds. If doing 1 hold I like to pause for 5-6 seconds (can go up to 8), for 2 holds I like 4-5 seconds and for 3 holds I normally go with 2-3 seconds. This can be used for strength or size depending on the number of repetitions and weight used.
Intra-set contrast: In this method, you combine normal reps and isometric holds during your set. For example, you could hold for 10 seconds, do 3 reps, hold for 10 seconds do 3 reps, hold for 10 seconds, do 3 reps. You can basically use any combination of number of holds, number of reps, and duration of holds as you wish depending on what you want to accomplish. I personally find this method to be mostly useful to improve mind-muscle connection and growth factors release. A typical application of this method is my HDL set where you hold for 5 seconds, do 5 reps, hold for 4 seconds, do 4 reps, hold for 3 seconds, do 3 reps, hold for 2 seconds, do 2 reps, hold for 1 second, do 1 rep.
Overcoming iso-dynamic contrast: This requires two bars and a power rack. You start by doing an overcoming isometric action (pushing/pulling against pins for 6-9 seconds) immediately followed by a regular set on the corresponding movement. You can either do the overcoming isometric as the position of greatest tension, as an activation tool, or around the sticking point to work on correcting it. This is obviously a strength method. It doesn’t have to be done as a “superset” you can rest up to 40-60 seconds after the isometric.
This is incredible. I honestly thought the question was asking a bit much, yet you delivered
I like keeping lists, along with what block they would fit better in. Especially with the new programs using the OCTS.
Every time I buy one of your programs, I add the methods used to my chart.
I’ll add eccentric/concentric methods later
2. ECCENTRIC METHODS
2.1. Pure eccentric
*Note: I pretty much never use pure eccentric methods. These consist of doing nothing but the eccentric phase. The only time I really use them is on bodyweight exercises like chin-ups and dips.
Pure slow eccentrics: This consists of doing only the eccentric phase of a movement (e.g. lowering yourself in a dip and bringing yourself back up using your legs and a bench or having partners lift the bar up). Here we use a submaximal weight and perform slow eccentrics (5 to 8 seconds) for multiple reps (6 to 12). This is mostly used as an hypertrophy method.
Pure eccentric overloads: These are done the same way as above but using a higher resistance and lower reps (1 to 5). The duration of each eccentric phase normally stays at around 5-6 seconds per rep.
Superslow pure eccentric: This is a method commonly prescribed by Dr. Darden; you do a single eccentric rep lasting 30 seconds or more. Note that DR. Darden also combines this with a superslow concentric from time to time; doing a single rep going up in 30 seconds and then down in 30 seconds.
2.2. Extensive Accentuated Eccentrics
Superslow eccentrics: Here we do sets where the eccentric phase of each rep is done very slowly, up to 30 seconds, but normally between 6 and 10 seconds. This is typically used either for hypertrophy or motor learning. When used for hypertrophy we shoot for a total time under load of 40-70 seconds (normally 6-8 reps) and when we use it for motor learning I prefer to keep the duration lower to focus on quality, we then stick to 3-5 reps.
Slow eccentrics: Sets where the eccentric phase of each lift is done slowly, between 4 and 6 seconds, and the concentric is done normally (or explosively). It can be used either for size or strength development. Since we are in the extensive methods, we are talking about hypertrophy. With these parameters we normally use 6-10 reps per set.
Sub-maximal eccentric overload: This method normally uses weight releasers, which allows us to use more weight during the eccentric phase. The submaximal method means that even with the added weight during the eccentric phase, the weight on the bar is always below your maximal lifting strengthé Typically we use a barbell weight of around 60-70% of your maximum and add around 20% in weight releasers weight. The eccentric phase is done slowly and we shoot for 6-10 reps. Ideally we use two spotters to replace the weight releasers as fast as possible.
2/1 technique: This is a form of submaximal eccentric overload. It normally uses a machine (e.g. curl machine, leg curl, leg extension, leg press), the concentric phase is performed with two limbs and the eccentric phase is done slowly (4-6 seconds) one limb at a time. I normally alternate side on each rep and shoot for 5-6 reps per side. I will often finish the set with normal reps after the 2/1 reps.
Two movements technique: This is another submaximal eccentric overload method. It refers to using different movements for the concentric and eccentric phases. You use a “weaker” movement for the eccentric and a “stronger” movement for the concentric, allowing you to overload the eccentric phase. A typical example would be the Zottman curl where you do the concentric as a regular curl and the eccentric as a reverse grip curl. Another example could be to do a muscle snatch and then lower the bar as a front raise. Or do a muscle/power clean and lower as a reverse curl. You can also do the concentric portion as a DB press and the eccentric as a DB fly.
Eccentric tempo contrast: Here we include reps with a slow eccentric (4-6 seconds) and reps with a normal eccentric (2ish seconds). In this variation, we do something like 2 slow reps, 2 normal reps, 2 slow reps, 2 normal reps (we can go as high as 12 total reps).
Eccentric tempo contrast series: This is similar to above but we do all the slow reps in series and then finish the set with the normal reps. Basically, you do slow eccentrics until it becomes too hard, after which you move on to normal eccentrics to get a few more reps.
2.3. Intensive Accentuated Eccentrics
Eccentric overload/weight releasers: Here we use weight releasers to add weight to the eccentric portion of the lift. When using this method to create an overload we normally use a bar weight of around 80% and add 25-35% on the releasers (for a total of 105-115% on the releasers). We do 2 to 5 reps per set with this method, normally in cluster format. Note that with some athletes who are well trained eccentrically and who have a higher ratio of eccentric to concentric strength I have used as much as 130% on the eccentric, but it is rarely necessary. We typically do the eccentric either under control (2-3 seconds) or slowly (5-6 seconds).
Eccentric overshoot: Here the goal is to do explosive lifting on a movement and use an eccentric overload to turn on more fast-twitch fibers, helping you be more explosive on the subsequent concentric. We also use weight releasers and will use a bar weight of 50-60% and add 30-40% of weight releaser weight. We normally use a controlled eccentric speed for 3/4 of the eccentric portion and then speed up on the last 1/4 to get the stretch reflex. The releasers are only added on the first rep and then the lifter goes on doing 3 super explosive reps.
Manual eccentric overload: The training partner applies pressure (to add resistance) during the eccentric phase of the lift then release his pressure for the concentric. I prefer to use machines for this training method. The eccentric is done in 5 seconds and the pressure added is as much as possible while maintaining the tempo. We typically do anywhere between 3 and 8 reps depending on the goal.
More to come? Really? WOOOOW
It’s great to see such a condensed list of Methods. It will be very useful for lots of us