Posts Tagged ‘Isometrics’

biceps-159681_1280Background on this Isometrics Strength Review (Skip ahead unless you want to miss an important warning)…

If you’ve been around the bodyweight exercise scene for a while, you may be familiar with Todd Kuslikis and his site “AShotOfAdrenaline.net” on bodyweight exercise. It’s a good site though hasn’t, apparently, been updated for quite some time.  The dates of the blog posts have been removed so new folks won’t realize how long its been since the site was attended to. As I learned it now basically functions as an online funnel to get people to join his paid membership site Bodyweight Physique Academy ($47 per month). When I visited AShotOfAdrenaline.net last, I notified Todd through the contact email that his site’s security certificate had expired, and only got some automated response, but never heard from anyone at that time.

Recently though, I was retooling my personal workouts and wanted to focus significantly on isometrics. I had pieced together my own routine from some of my own findings, but I decided to check out Todd’s course which is sold at IsometricsStrength.com (No Affiliate Link).

I was impressed by the sales copy. I have read and used the results from a number of formal studies on isometrics, but he seemed to mention some I had not run across that sounded interesting. So I decided to get his course. Frankly it was a great price… $7. What shocked me was there weren’t a million “one time offers” trying to nickel and dime me for upgrades. It’s just $7 and that’s it for the course and some additional materials.

One premium you’ll receive is a 14 day free membership in the Bodyweight Physique Academy. I wasn’t interested so never even logged in. The shocker was they immediately start charging your card $47 per month after 14 days if you don’t send an email first. Thankfully their support (not Todd… can’t seem to track him down these days) refunded and cancelled the subscription which, frankly, I didn’t even remember reading about. Perhaps that’s what they’re counting on in a sense. Anyway after that slight heart attack (metaphorically speaking) was resolved within a few hours and rather painlessly, I decided to post this review of the course.  I suppose you could say that subscription payment sneaking up on me jolted me into action.

Pro’s and Con’s of Todd Kuslikis’ Isometrics Strength Course:

Not to talk down to anyone, but this course is about exercises where your muscles stay the same length throughout a timed contraction. When I mention “static contractions” below, I am referring to the times you contract a muscle through mental effort for the most part… like a body builder posing and flexing a bicep. When I mention “resisted contractions” below I’m referring to pushing against some object like a door frame, one’s other arm, or something else not designed to move.

Overview:

The “course” is composed of an ebook on isometric principles, another ebook on the workout itself in two parts… the exercises for individual body parts and the whole body isometrics.  There are also files for nutrition tips (didn’t read it, can’t comment) and a workout log.

Pro’s:

  • The Cost – $7! (See the warning above). Excellent value.
  • The Concepts – Todd “sold” me on several important concepts. First, his routine essentially asks you to “pre-exhaust” the muscle you’re working with static contractions (see my explanation above). Second, after the body part is pre-exhausted this way, he moves to a “resisted contraction” for 30 seconds or more to make sure the muscle you’re working has recruited as many fibers as possible to insure growth in strength and size. Third, he does a great job of “selling” the need not only for isometrics which isolate body parts, but also for “whole body isometrics”, where as much muscle is contracted as possible for a short time. For this he uses martial arts poses, but not the sanchin kata which is usually associated with whole body isometrics and “dynamic tension” training of this sort. The “sanchin kata” is a moving form of dynamic tension. Kuslikis’ whole body isometrics are not “moving”…  They are a kenpo form where the final striking posture becomes a whole body isometric, but there is no emphasis on tension during the transition as in sanchin.
  • The Conclusion: This produces a fantastic workout for me, though I’ve had to adjust it based on what gets the best muscle recruitment for me. For example, one of Todd’s brilliant “pre-exhaustion” exercises for the quadriceps doesn’t work for me because of some knee issue in one leg. So, I’ve had to substitute some exercises to achieve the same results while following the basic pattern the course establishes.

Con’s:

Most of my “cons” are really “Pet Peeves” or things that you might nitpick about any course, but, hay, I’m trying to be objective, right?

  • Doesn’t seem to live up to the Sales Page. There’s always a problem when you get carried away writing sales copy but the reader can’t figure out from the course itself what you sold on the sales page! You can have the sales page say all this great stuff to get your product sold, but then the product doesn’t spell out line by line how the information provided relates to the sales page.  Now it may relate in some way, but customers can’t always see the connection. I know I couldn’t figure it, and I’m a fairly careful reader in most instances. One example I kept looking for in the course was this assertion from the sales page but could never find mentioned in the course (I did find these names but not the point being made):

    THE FRENCH RESEARCHERS USED AN UNUSUAL FORM OF ISOMETRIC EXERCISES AND WERE SHOCKED AT THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THESE SIMPLE, BUT LITTLE KNOWN EXERCISES

  • No citations.  Since I mentioned the “French researchers” I’d like to see a citation so that I can at least look up an abstract. Some names were mentioned, abstracts found, but I’m left wondering “what is the point he was trying to make?” In Todd’s ebook on the basics of isometrics, he does mention alot of studies, does a good job of expressing the logic of his advocacy for isometrics, but still I’d like to see what I can glean from the studies myself. So a citation, a link, it’d be great.
  • Exercises.  Not all exercises work for every one and not all exercises work as described. As mentioned already, his pre-exhaustion exercise for quads is good… if you don’t have an injury that keeps it from happening.  In his biceps sequence he shows pre-exhausting both arms at one time and then following up with Charles Atlas style bicep isometric where you’re curling one hand and resisting with the other. Personally I’d say pre-exhaust one arm at a time with static contractions, do the resistance isometric and then move to the next arm the same way. Bottom line: you may need to alter the workout to suit your body type or other limitations… or even your preferences. Still the basic concepts are awesome. Adaptation is just a part of life.

Bottom line, it’s a great course and well worth the money at $7. The principles are sound, and I believe it has helped me think in new ways about my isometric routine and know how to get the most out of doing isometrics. I doubt I’ll ever go back to the “old way”.

Again if you missed it, here’s the link: IsometricsStrength.com (No Affiliate Link)

 

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Strongman Alexander Zass was known for specializing in Isometric Exercise

Strongman Alexander Zass was known for specializing in Isometric Exercise

Was Dr. Schwartz a fan of Isometrics? Good question. Some say a definitive “no”. Even his “isometric like” exercises were “isotonic”!

The answer is probably more nuanced in reality.

On the sidebar of page 164 of  “HeavyHands:The Ultimate Exercise” Dr. Schwartz discusses isometrics.

He finished the sidebar by noting that at the time of publication, the opinions of physicians had changed regarding the usefulness of isometrics. Before that, some felt that isometric exercise dangerously increased blood pressure and was useless as an exercise protocol.

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charlesatlas

 Charles Atlas performing a “Dynamic Tension Exercise” Image Courtesy © Charles Atlas, LTD

In a recent post the way in which Leonard Schwartz’ “IsoTonoMetrics” related to Charles Atlas and Dynamic Tension was mentioned.

Since then, some new information has come to light from Dr. Schwartz’ “Fitness Method” patent that is worth sharing on this topic, especially if people want to understand the inner dynamics of Schwartz’ “IsoTonoMetrics” and practice it for themselves.

Remember that in Schwartz’ IsoTonoMetrics, the hands are clasped or otherwise pushing together or pulling apart in various ranges of motion to activate different upper body muscles.

Bends, knee dips, torso twists, steps, head and neck rotations, various dance like moves, lunges, posture changes, body positions and toe raises are used to create a “whole body” aerobic exercise.

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handclasps2

Isotonometric Handclasps

In a previous post on Isotonometrics, the question was asked: “So was this “isometrics”? Or “dynamic tension”? Or something else? That will be explored in a future article!” This is that article.

Dr. Schwartz’s extant writings interact from time to time with the systems advocated by other fitness experts who are mentioned by name, like Charles Atlas.  He is always courteous but clear about how his viewpoint differs and what advantages he believes it to have.

So how did Leonard Schwartz see his work in relationship to Charles Atlas’ “dynamic tension” and “isometrics’? The answer is found in his patent filing on “Fitness Method” with some observations drawn from the Charles Atlas course itself.

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