Alas, the critical topic of discussion is at hand. There are a multitude of benefits that come from the training of isometric exercises; I will cover many in an upcoming series of articles, as well as in my next upcoming guest article on Warrior Fitness. Yet the critical focus of fitness stands at one place: muscle. And with all of the benefits an exercise can have, it’s often viewed as supplemental if there is no real focus on muscle, leading to people using isometrics purely for rehabilitation, or for overcoming sticking points in difficult lifts. So the question of the ages stands: do isometric exercises build muscle?
Yes, and also yes. But no.
Alright, let’s address the first affirmative. Isometric exercises will develop a kind of muscle that you probably are not used to seeing. Our daily images of muscle are usually not lean functional muscle; in fact, it’s most often the bulky, Mr. Olympia stage, muscle mass monsters. Muscle size and bulk is the king of the fitness world today, and with great reason. The strength inspirations in our world are the He-Mans, Samson’s, Hulks, and men who look like they could get hit by a car and have to worry more about the car repair charges than the hospital fees.
But...aren’t there inspirations of lean functional muscle in the strength world, equally kings of fitness? You know, inspirations like Bruce Lee, Joseph “The Mighty Atom” Greenstein, Maxick, Jasper Benincasa, Shinyu Gushi, men with muscles carved from granite. That’s exactly the kind of muscle isometric develops.
You can, and will, build muscle from isometric exercises, but not the massive style muscle. You’ll develop dense, granite like muscle. The kind of muscle that’s made to bend steel, fight people twice your size, or hold airplanes back from taking off. This is the muscle of warriors made to walk miles at a time while being constantly prepared to battle men ready to kill. Isometric exercises will build dense, functional, myofibrillar muscle, strengthen your mind muscle connection, and turn you into a strength machine.
Now for the second yes...we now know that you can build dense, rock hard muscle with isometric exercises. But can you build massive muscle with isometrics? Is it possible for you to build not just dense stones, but thick, impenetrable boulders? That’s where the “no” comes in. You are not ever gonna naturally build Phil Heath, Hulk sized muscle. Neither Phil Heath nor the Hulk build that amount of muscle naturally, and neither will you. But, you can, in fact build massive muscle with isometric exercises, and I will cover how in the next article. Stay tuned.
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