Turning A Self-Resistance Exercise Into An IsoTonoMetric Exercise

Posted: November 14, 2014 in General
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,


If you’re familiar with Charles Atlas or other self-resistance exercise systems (sometimes called “Dynamic Self Resistance” or “DSR”) Dr. Schwartz’ IsoTonoMetrics may still seem baffling to you. Don’t worry, many people are similarly baffled at first!

Look at it this way, if you’re familiar with a variety of self-resistance exercises already, you’re half way there!

The difference between a classic dynamic self-resistance exercise and an “IsoTonoMetric” is that in addition to the basic self-resistance movement other movements are added to

A. Activate all four limbs
B. Involve as much muscle as possible
C. To build strength and endurance simultaneously

Ok so let’s get more specific and turn a classic dynamic self-resistance exercise into an “IsoTonoMetric”!

If you’re doing a one arm press resisting with the other arm, you can do the same exercise “IsoTonoMetrically”. Instead of starting standing upright, you would add leg action by including quarter squats or get even more muscle activated by

1. Starting from a slight forward bend with knees flexed,
2. Stand erect while doing the press.
3. Bend the waist slightly backwards at the top of the press so the arm is going behind where the head was at a slight angle.

In addition to working the muscles used by the self-resistance one arm press, the lower body actions cause the quads, hamstrings, and lower back to kick in while the body is standing erect. Moving the trunk backwards causes the abdominals to kick in. The move also activates the quads again during the lean back from a vertical stance.

The process of bending forward and standing erect or leaning slightly backward can be added to many self-resistance movements to make them “IsoTonoMetric”.

Also side to side movements that shift weight predominantly to one leg from the other and back again along with simultaneous torso twisting can also change an upper body isolation move into an “IsoTonoMetric” movement.

If you’re experienced with Dynamic Self-Resistance, try this:

– Add the kinds of movements described above to make them “IsoTonoMetric”

– Instead of counting reps and sets, do each exercise for “time”. For example, use a tension that allows at least 40 seconds of effort before taking 20 seconds active rest and perform these self-resistance exercises as “intervals” changing exercises after an “interval” or two.

– Seek to perform the exercises with a smooth “flow”, as demonstrated by Dr. Schwartz, “ISO” exercises had an almost dance like quality at times and were performed to music.

Then see if that gives you a good, overall workout! You may be pleasantly surprised, especially if you previously had to add “cardio” to round out your self-resistance exercises or were afraid self-resistance movements couldn’t give you a sufficiently challenging workout!

  1. David Nyman says:

    Yes, Iso can be as challenging as you care to make it. I’ve tried most of the variations you mentioned and have even combined it with stepping on a bench. It’s particularly useful when travelling as it requires no equipment and hardly any space.


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