I have used isometric holds now and again at the end of my training to really hit the muscle groups and challenge them at the same time. So, I thought this would be a good post to throw up on the site for anyone who wanted to try these and have a little fun or give themselves a challenge.
The goal is to hold for 60 seconds straight but as you work up to this the goal should be 60 seconds total. If it takes you 5 rounds of 12 seconds each to get to that minute, then there you go. Just keep trying to get better each time you try. For a little extra challenge, rest not as long as you could hold each time, if you cannot do the straight minute. I set these up as progressions as a way to work up to a harder exercise instead of saying, "I can't do that." Give them a try, experiment and good luck!
Isometric Holds - 3 Level Progression
1. Dead Hang – Benefits of this hold include spinal decompression, increased shoulder mobility and of course increased grip strength.
· Level I: Inverted Pull-up Hang
· Level II: Dead Hang with toes touching the floor
· Level III: Full Dead Hang
2. Squat: The “Third World Squat” is something toddlers do by instinct (and with better form than you!) Benefits of holding this position include leg strength and an increase in mobility of the hips and knees.
· Level I: Wall Sit
· Level II: Sumo/Horse Position
· Level III: ATG (Ass-To-Grass) Get that butt as low as you can and hold it there
3. Handstand: Being inverted is fun and progressing up to a wall handstand hold can lead to handstands off the wall if you keep a steady progressive practice. These holds will increase shoulder mobility and strength and challenge the core as well.
· Level I: Bent-Arm Pike
· Level II: Legs Elevated on Box/Bench
· Level III: Wall Handstand
4. Plank: I say you cannot perform a good push-up without being able to hold a good plank to start and if you are having trouble with push-ups, planks are a great way to build the arm and core strength and stability you need to be able to drop and give 20 on demand.
· Level I: Plank on Knees
· Level II: Full Plank
· Level III: Reverse Plank
5. BONUS: Arms: These may not be true progressions, but they are fun to try, and if you get better and any or all of these, you will be stronger for sure. Even though these movements are listed for “arms” they really work more body parts, as do just about all of the isometric holds.
· Level I: Triceps extension Hold
· Level II: L-Sit
· Level III: Bent-Arm Hang