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?