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Thoughts on Jay Schroeder's Extreme Isometrics

Hey coach,

I’m a big fan of Joel Smith’s podcast, and one of the things he’s a big believer in are Jay Schroeder’s extreme isometrics (3-5 minutes+)

What are your thoughts on his system, if you have any?

Cheers,
Jason

Well, it’s essentially loaded stretching, which I’ve been using with athletes for 20 years and which is included in my second book (Theory and Application of Modern Strength and Power Methods) written 15 ish years ago.

I’ve also written articles about it both on my website and T-nation (search loaded stretching). And gave a presentation on that topic at the SWIS symposium, one of the biggest gathering of training and rehab experts in the world.

And it’s not something exclusive to Schroedder or invented by him (his variation has 2-3 particularities). John Parillo used them for bodybuilding 20+ years ago. Dante Trudel also recommended them for bodybuilding. Heck, Chuck Sipes (bodybuilder from the 60s) was using them as his primary lat exercise (hanging from a chin-up bar with 100lbs attached to his waist for 1-2 minutes). And even before that, it was a method used by gymnasts.

The “novel” elements that Schroedder brought to the table are:

  1. The duration. Most other people who use this method (myself included) use 1-2 minutes. Although I have personally used as much as 3 minutes with some people. It is worth noting that Jay doesn’t have you start at 3-5 minutes (I’ve bought some online coaching from Jay for around 6 months), you build up to that level over time. For example, in a beginner program you use 30 seconds periods of extreme stretching with 10-15 seconds of rest for 5-6 sets. Sometimes you have one set of 2 minutes, rest than one set of 1 minute. His magic duration seems to be 3 minutes. But you don’t start right away with 3 minutes non-stop.

  2. The focus. Jay not only use the resistance to load the stretch, he also has you “pull with gravity” to enhance the stretch. For example, in the bottom of a DB press stretch you use your back to pull the weights down even further. This is something that I added to my own loaded stretching.

  3. The use of EMS (electric muscle stimulation) of a particular type (which is not available unless you buy a license). Contrary to regular EMS which makes a specific muscle contract by sending an electric current to it, his EMS type actually inhibitis a muscle, making contract less. So he can do his loaded stretching with it to reduce the activity of a certain muscle. NOTE: it is not used by everybody and likely only once can use the full 5 minutes.

So do I like the method? Absolutely. As I mentioned, I’ve been using it for 20 years. Not the exact same thing, but close enough so that his methods didn’t feel foreign to me. I like the 3 minutes total, but I don’t feel that it is necessary to use 3-minute sets to get the benefits.

I go over the physiological benefits in my articles on the topic.

I also use variants of this method like:

Loaded stretching post-fatigue: Do a regular set of 6-10 reps and on the last rep go into the fully stretched position and hold as long as tolerable

Loaded stretching pre-fatigue: Hold the loaded stretch position for 30-45 seconds and immediately perform your reps.

More recently, I’ve used position-specific loaded stretches for my golf swing.

I normally hold 1 minute, rest 30 seconds, 1 minute, rest 30 seconds, 1 minute. Although sometimes I use more of a PNF style (15 seconds stretch, 5 seconds contract in the other direction x 6)

Coach Shroedder is one of the coaches that influenced my methods, mostly because, I’ve always been a believer in using all possible types of muscle contractions in my system.

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hi, CT
i;m just watching your 4 parts -" Loaded stretching"/YT/,and wondering can be used in neurotype 3 workout ? how long limbs tall type 3 person will be beneficial and valuable?
thank you

Coach, you might be interested in a progression I found for isometric stretching to achieve side splits where the idea is to build strength in the end range of motion.

It’s all PNF.

Initially, for every session, the first step is to get into the stretched position. There, one would remain for thirty seconds or so until muscle tension dissipates and it’s possible to move deeper into the stretch. This hold-relax process is repeated three times after which one begins with tense-relax (PNF begins)

The progression is as follows, explanation below

  1. 1 set x 0:30 (1)
  2. 2 sets x 0:30 (1)
  3. 3 sets x 0:30 (1)
  4. 4 sets x 0:30 (1)
  5. 5 sets x 0:30 (1)
  6. 5 sets x 0:45 (6)
  7. 5 sets x 1:00 (6)
  8. 5 sets x 1:15 (6)
  9. 5 sets x 1:30 (6)
  10. 5 sets x 1:45 (6)
  11. 5 sets x 2:00 (6)
  12. 5 sets x 2:15 (6)
  13. 5 sets x 2:30 (6)
  14. 5 sets x 2:45 (6)
  15. 5 sets x 3:00 (6)
  16. 5 sets x 3:00 + 1.25 kg (6)
  17. 5 sets x 3:00 + 2.50 kg (6)
  18. 5 sets x 3:00 + 5.00 kg (6)
  19. 5 sets x 3:00 + 7.50 kg (6)
  20. 5 sets x 3:00 + 10.0 kg (6)
  21. 5 sets x 3:00 + 12.5 kg (6)
  22. 5 sets x 3:00 + 15.0 kg (6)
  23. 5 sets x 3:00 + 17.5 kg (6)
  24. 5 sets x 3:00 + 20.0 kg (6)
  25. 5 sets x 3:00 + 22.5 kg (6)
  26. 5 sets x 3:00 + 25.0 kg (6)
  27. 5 sets x 3:00 + 27.5 kg (6)
  28. 5 sets x 3:00 + 30.0 kg (6)

The number inside the parentheses is how many times the session should be done before progressing to the next level. I. e. for

  1. 5 sets x 0:45 (6)

That means that a single session would be five sets of 45s muscle contractions at the end range of motion and that session should be repeated 6 times before progressing to Level 7. Thus, with three weekly sessions it’d take two weeks to complete that level.

Haven’t been able to go through the program myself due to injury but once I’ve healed I have this high on my list of priorities.

Found it at martialartsplanet

Yes, it is a very good method for type 3. For the type 3 you can even use it at the beginning of the workout (I’ve used split squat loaded stretching before squatting and DB press loaded stretching prior to bench pressing with Type 3s)

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It’s similar to one approach I use, but my approach is not as detailed and progressive.

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Thank you so much for this in-depth response. It actually never occurred to me that extreme isos are just loaded stretching but that makes so much sense.