One thing that jumped out at me and inspired this post is the use of Isometrics.
In “Strength & How to Obtain It” by Eugene Sandow, regarded by many to be not only the father of Physical Culture but also the best built man in history, Sandow states that:
“As I have already said, it is the brain that develops the muscles. Brain will do as much as Dumbbells, even more.” He then goes onto recommend that people ought to spend a little time every day contracting their muscles merely with their will power. In doing so “You will find it will have the same effect as the use of dumbbells or any more vigorous form of exercise”
Sandow then continues his statement by saying that isometrics contractions are of value in strength building but “it is perhaps more valuable owing to the fact that it improves the will power and helps to establish that connection between the brain and the muscles which is the basis of strength and condition”
It is this will power and the mind-muscle link that can be the difference between average and exceptional. Sandow knew this back in 1897 when he wrote the text. Most of the elite athletes know this instinctively, but what about the rest of us now?
It seems all but forgotten.
Everyone is looking for a quick fix to their fitness and physique worries.
Perhaps this forgotten method of muscle control, or isometrics, is part of the puzzle in bringing people back to fitness.
For a long time I’ve been an advocate of training from the inside out. Anyone who comes to me as a beginner soon becomes familiar with Planks and Bridges, two drills that build strength in the supporting structure of the body. They then move onto the Kettlebell Swing, another great drill that targets the most common weak links in the body. These drills are chosen as the train the core first, the limbs can be looked at later.
But what if we can go deeper?
Train the mind muscle link. Train the nervous system?
Now training the nervous system is nothing new, but it usually requires heavy weights, explosive lifts or expensive technology (Acceleration training, as made popular by the PowerPlate works on the nervous system). These methods, while commonly available, today are a little impractical. Can we train our nervous system at home, in the car, at home?
Well yes. And it’s isometrics that will do it.
Power Breathing and the Vacuum drill are perfect examples of Inside Out isometrics. Remember these drills have stood the test of time, they’ve been around far longer than your “Shakeaweight” or your “Stairmaster”. They’ve been used by martial arts masters and Old Time Strongmen since training began.
If you want more here’s a link to a free Isometrics giveaway available for download. And this is a video of power breathing and Isometric tension in action:
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