Overcoming Isometric Contrast Sets (edited)

Hey Coach Thibaudeau,

Hope you are doing well! I was wondering if contrasting Isometronics with lighter dynamic reps (similar to your 1/6 ratchet loading scheme, just subbing out the singles for isometrics) would be a viable option and if this has any benefits over something more segmented like the layer system. (front loading isometrics then on to dynamic). Thanks in advance, greatly appreciate your time and wisdom

Which is it, isometrics or isometronics? Sound similar but they are not.

Isometronic is a specific application of isometric within a dynamic set. Specifically, you perform partial reps from one set of safety pins up to a second one several inches higher. It’s done for several reps and only on the last one do you hold the isometric phase (pushing against the higher set of safety pins).

Here’s what isometronics look like.

Whereas isometrics, most likely overcoming isometrics in this context, is simply pushing/pulling against an immovable resistance for a few seconds, there are no reps involved. Like this:

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Ah! My bad. Got my terms mixed up. Meant to say functional isometrics

By functional isometrics I assume that you mean overcoming isometrics but with weights. Like this:

Obviously, in this video, Tom is using light weights it was only for demonstration purposes. Typically we would use close to the heaviest load you can hold on the pins for 6 seconds.

Is this what you are referring to?

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Yep! Overcoming. I was thinking sets of 3-6s all out in an advantaged position, rest 60-90s, then hit a set of 6 as an example, repeating until a top weight is reached. vs 4-6 sets of overcoming isometrics followed by dynamic

Let me just re-ask for clarity. Which one of the three methods I posted in video form are you talking about?

  1. Overcoming isometrics (pushing against pins without weight)
  2. Functional isometrics (pushing against pins with weights)
  3. Isometronics (reps against the pins)
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  1. Pushing against pins with no weight. Apologies for the confusion on my end

What would be the biggest difference in terms of stimulation between Functional and Overcoming? I would imagine Functional would have greater carryover but be more fatiguing, while Overcoming would be the inverse. Is that close?

Yes, that’s pretty much it.

The main benefit of functional isometrics is that they are closer, in their dynamic structure/coordination pattern/feel, to a normal lift. Essentially you are lifting a weight and the top pin acts as a “sticking point” against which you have to grind.

And yes, the loaded movement portion makes functional isometrics more demanding and fatiguing.

I typically limit my use of functional isometrics to work on correcting a sticking point/weak part of a lift.

Overcoming isometrics are an interesting potentiation tool as it can promote significant post-tetanic potentiation with very little fatigue. In that sense, overcoming isos would be a better option for the method you asked about.


Thanks so much for your time and detailed response. I will be giving this a go today!