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Static Contraction Training

A good friend of mine is a strength coach in the NFL (for a recent superbowl team). He has introduced me to a form of training known as Static Contraction Training, which he said is currently being used successfully by a number of NFL players. Essentially Static Contraction would have a lifter statically hold a weight in the strongest position of the range of any lift until failure. The weight lifted would be much higher than typically used in the full range movement of the same lift. The weight would be held from 10 to 20 seconds to failure. Once you can achieve 20 seconds you would increase the weight so that you are back at 10 seconds again and so on. I tried this with the squat and leg extension and couldn’t believe how much weight I could hold statically for 30 seconds in the top 1/3 of the movement’s range.

This style of lifting is described in a book called Static Contraction Training by a guy named Peter Sisco. They reference a small study in which lifters (average age 38) showed excellent increase in both the static strength (51% increase) and full range strength (30% increase) over a 10 week period in the major movements. Although this lifting method seems to have some Mentzeresque overtones, it seems logical and well thought out. Essentially the logic is that a lifter will activate (cause to fire) the largest number of muscle cells at the strongest part of the range of a given movement at a maximum weight. Therefore lifting in this fashion will stress the most muscle cells and cause the most hypertrophy.

Has anyone tried this type of training and what were the results?

Old news. I think the program is over 10 years old. Every time the topic comes up, about 75% of the feedback is negative. I think Poliquin and King have poo-pooed the program as well. As with all programs, it’s a good change to use for a short time, but no miracle theory.

It’s an old idea that never really panned out. Also, no offense whatsoever to your friend, but NFL strength coaches usually have nothing groundbreaking to offer since a large portion of the league is High Intensity and machine oriented.

Static Contraction training was introduced years ago by pete sisco and was often spoken of by the late Mike Mentzer. It never caught on because it for one was not practical, and it was basically shit. Your friend the strength trainer is really up to date.

just an idea, but would it not be better to hold it in the weakest part of the lift so you could become stronger there. After all you have to be able to lift past your weakist link. So in the squat you would go to a little below parallel and hold the weight there. If what you state is true then people would just consistantly become stronger in squats by just performing the top 1/3 of the motion, (which by the way is what most people do in the gym who even atempt to squat). Meanwhile their legs never grow because the muscle in not in a streched position and they are not increasing their strength in their weakest position. laters pk

Static Holds can be a great short term approach to your training. You will get stronger in the static positions but not in full range movements, however. You must not do more than 1-2 sets per bodypart and training time can be as short as 10 minutes per session. Used intelligently, you will get bigger but go back to full range movements after 6 weeks.

I recommend using Sisco and Little’s Partial Reps taken to failure followed by a static hold (all in one continuous set). 1 set per bodypart is sufficient and most efficacious. The partials are done for about 20 reps and the Static Hold follows. No matter how much you “feel” like it, ONLY DO ONE SET PER BODYPART. This type of training should only be done by very experienced trainers who have peaked out.

This sounds real similar to a program in an old issue of t-mag. I don’t remember the authour but basically a client wanted to increase his overhead press poundages in 8 weeks. I think it was the oscilating wave program. And it included something like this to increase the neural muscular connection?

“Essentially the logic is that a lifter will activate (cause to fire) the largest number of muscle cells at the strongest part of the range of a given movement at a maximum weight.” – Well, it seems to me that the strongest part of the lift incorporates the best leverage advantage, not necessarily the greatest number of muscle fibers.

What you are describing is very similar to the Renegade technique of “breaking down” each movement into its smaller movements. The smaller the movement the more weight you stack on. Although we still concentrate on moving the weight, the results are similar. We typically do this with most lifts, but like I said we don’t HOLD it, we concentrate on smooth movement. Newbies can really benefit from doing partial movement lifts until they get the entire complex down.

is NFL strength training really machine oriented?Are you sure? That’s pretty unbelievable if it’ true.I am looking at a HIT website and seems kind of gimmicky, and stupid the website says regarding workouts"No more than three times per week, often times two, or even one" the website says HIT is "Intensity can be defined as the percent of your momentary ability to perform an exercise.

It has nothing to do with how much resistance you are using, nor what percent of your 1 repetition maximum is for a chosen exercise. It refers to the DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY that you experience during the exercise." So by this logic, does that mean if I go on a fast for 3 days then go to the weightroom and have alot of diffulcity lifting light weights, that i am having a high degree of difficulty so i am going to get stronger?

Actually, I have used the Static Contraction program. I thought it was interesting, and it was definately a break from the volume I was doing before that. I had goot results with it, in that my strength (both static, and, resultantly, dynamic) increased a good deal. If you’re really interested, give it a shot. I would recommend using this just prior to mass/hypertrophy program, as I noticed the greater poundages I was able to push following SC helped my grow a bit. Hope this helps.