Isometric bodybuilding is a fairly unheard of concept to the isometric exercise scene. Isometric exercises, if used at all, are primarily used in the fitness industry in order to help get out of sticking points in lifts, or for helping to rehabilitate injuries, which is admittedly effective. But that’s like using a multi-purpose army knife only to spread peanut butter on your sandwiches; sure it works, but there is so much, much more than can be done with it. Isometric exercises aren’t simply a supplement for other exercises; isometrics stand alone as powerful exercises to build connective tissue strength, increase your overall nerve conductivity, and build dense, lean muscle mass.
Enter isometric bodybuilding, or Maximetrics.
Huh? You may be thinking, “I thought isometric exercises build muscle, but only the sinewy Bruce Lee kind of muscle. Now you’re talking about isometric bodybuilding? What gives?” Well first, you thought only half right; Bruce Lee isometric exercises are phenomenal to give you the strength that goes with the physique of the Dragon himself. But even the Dragon didn’t know everything there is to know about the effectiveness of isometric exercises. Let’s explore the knowledge a bit here.
Two significant phrases in fitness that are used to articulate the differences in muscle growth are myofibrillar hypertrophy and sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. Myofibrillar hypertrophy is growth of the actual muscle fibers themselves, more indicative of a martial artist or gymnast in terms of muscle. Sarcoplasmic growth is increased vascularity and glycogen stores in the muscle for fatigue resistance, but does not translate to increased contractile strength of the muscle fibers themselves. This is often associated with bodybuilders. Competitive strength athletes, like powerlifters and strongmen, often have a considerable combination of both in order to be able to lift heavy amounts of weight without experiencing too much fatigue. But how do you combine the two?
Well I do isometric bodyweight training in two main styles; one promotes myofibrillar hypertrophy faster than a lot of weight lifting routines I’ve tried, and the other helps to increase my overall muscular endurance through sarcoplasmic growth.
7 Seconds to A Perfect Body is where the dense lean muscle growth comes in. Batman O'Brien, after 7 weeks, built the physique above with it, going from 130lbs with a gut to 160lbs of lean muscle strong enough to lift a man with one arm. The isometric bodyweight exercises in this program isolate the muscles and maximally stimulate them, causing muscle fatigue in a manner of 7-12 seconds.
The result is ripped, lean muscle mass that gives you the strength to do things like thumb pushups or roll frying pans with your bare hands. You only need to do one set of the 7-12 second exercises because they are isolated, and you should only do them once a week to allow your muscles to recover. It’d be like attempting your 1RM every workout; just don’t do it, that’s stupid.
But for isometric bodybuilding, the program of choice is Maximetrics. This is the program that, after already developing dense muscle from the Perfect Body program, helped Batman O'Brien to add 24lbs of more muscle to his frame in THREE WEEKS. That is an isometric bodyweight training program that involves maximally stimulating large muscle groups instead of individual muscles. But instead of one set of 7-12 second exercises, you do 8. This is because your aim is not to fatigue one individual muscle -- having multiple muscle groups involved makes that much more difficult.
No, the goal is to fatigue the nervous system. By engaging multiple muscle groups with maximal intensity 8 times, you exhaust all energy stores within the muscle. Studies have shown that high volume resistance training, incorporating short inter-set rest periods, produces significant short-term elevations in human growth hormone (HGH) following the completion of the training exercise. By targeting the CNS with your training, you encourage anabolic stimulation resulting in the natural release of human growth hormone for muscle growth, and the depletion of glycogen stores in the muscle.
The key to this is repeated multiple muscle unit activation with short intense bursts. Maximetrics builds upon that principle by generating the maximum muscle overload in as many muscles groups as possible while maintaining high focus intensity. It is a true, isometric bodybuilding program. As with all training, but especially with these two because of the intensity, recovery is vital to the success of the program, so three days of rest between every Maximetrics workout should be the standard you set for optimal results and recovery. Nutrition is just as vital; if you're trying to fly a space shuttle with McDonald's fryer grease, good luck keeping it in the air.
These are my training results after training both the Perfect Body system and Maximetrics. Only literal minutes of training each week. Even our dog Shea approves!
Please put any thoughts, questions, or feedback here and I'll respond as soon as I can.