It’s possible to read about Dr. Schwartz’ IsoTonoMetrics in the patent filing on Fitness Method and begin to understand the concepts behind “isotonometrics”. The allusions to isometrics and dynamic tension are giveaways and can help people get started doing “ISO” even before being able to watch the Schwartz video on the topic.
There are some reasons why Dr. Schwartz may have chosen to retain all the handclasps as they are shown and this blog post – at best – hazards a guess at “why”?
For one thing, recall that while the video and patent filing represent a “finished product”, the development of IsoTonoMetrics had been well tested in the lab to make sure that this panaerobic exercise was as helpful as “HeavyHands” or “Longstrength” calisthenics is aerobic effect and strength development.
So – at the very least – these handclasps were chosen – even the ones that may feel “weird” – after making sure they could at least provide a solid workout aerobically while functioning to build strength as well.
Why do they seem so weird still?
People who have done “isometrics” or “dynamic tension” are used to two of the handclasps – the ones shown in figures 2 and 3 for pulling or pushing.
The “oddball” handclasp is Figure 1 with interlaced fingers with the hand held horizontally (thumbs to oneside as shown in Figure 1). Interlaced fingers are also used with the hand held vertically (thumbs facing up).
When the hands with interlaced fingers are held horizontally and the LEFT thumb on the bottom PULLS from right to left (then at the end of the movement the hands are flip flopped and the right thumb then on the bottom pulls from left to right), the resulting movement targets the bicep, deltoid, and upperback.
When the hands with interlaced fingers are held horizontally and the RIGHT thumb on the bottom PUSHES from right to left (then at the end of the movement the hands are flip flopped and the left thumb on the top then pushes from left to right), the resulting movement targets the tricep, deltoid, and pectorals.
(Twisting the torso side to side to follow the arms to full extension works the trunk muscles no matter which thumb “leads”.)
When the hands with interlaced fingers are held horizontally and the hand with the little finger on top pushes from side to side, the movement resembles swinging a baseball bat. While deltoids and upper back are worked still but the emphasis tends to be on the tricep.
When the hands are held with interlaced fingers and the palms are vertical, “Palm Pushes” or “Palm Pulls” are performed. The former, at chest height, creates a “chest push” that works the pectoral muscles, frontal deltoids and arms somewhat.
The same “Palm Push” movement at other angles can significantly activate the triceps as well… i.e. when the angle of the push is 45 degrees upward or downward. In Dr. Schwartz discussion on old websites about “handtrails”, this 45 degree pushing was likely part of a “Figure 8”. With the hands clasped at right shoulder height for a downward “Palm Push” to the left, the push is completed and at it’s end, the left elbow rises to the left shoulder level to begin a push downward to the right. A similar move can be done for “Palm Pushes” at an upward angle as well.
When the hands are held with interlaced fingers and the palms are vertical and “Palm Pulls” are performed, the interlaced fingers allow the forearm and grip to be exercised along with the upper back and rear deltoids. The movement may, in fact, feel like a “reverse curl” in its effect on the forearms!
Like “Palm Pushes” done at angles which accentuate the tricep action along with working the frontal deltoid, “Palm Pulls” can be done at angles as part of a Figure 8 movement. The muscles activated are in the bicep sector and rear deltoids and upper back.
Unless one consciously uses the interlaced fingers, users formerly acquainted ONLY with isometrics or dynamic tension are likely to use only “Palm Push” and “Palm Pull” movements missing the potential benefits for biceps, triceps, forearms and upper hack that the interlaced finger movements can provide, especially at various angles.
Without the interlaced fingers grip to give adequate work to biceps and triceps, athletes would likely focus on ISOLATION “dynamic tension curls” or “tricep extensions” that FAIL to simultaneously engage huge swathes of chest, shoulder and upper back muscle that could be engaged by Dr. Schwartz’ method using interlaced fingers with hands moved on the horizontal plane!
Much more can be said about the handclasps and handtrails of IsoTonoMetrics, but this serves to possibly explain the function of the weird but ingenious use of interlaced fingers as a handclasp.