When training in the gym, it is common to perform exercises in which eccentric and concentric contractions are related, but there are other types of muscle contractions that can provide us with other benefits under specific goals and circumstances.
In this article we will talk contractions and isometric force and practical applications You can have workouts.
What is isometric contraction?
Although there are several types of muscle contractions, the most commonly used in the field of fitness are concentric, eccentric and isometric, and the combination of these when using, for example, elastic (auxotonic) gums.
- If the sum of the force exerted by the muscle is greater than the resistance, concentric contraction occurs.
- If the sum of the force exerted by the muscle is less to the resistance It's called eccentric shrinkage.
But what happens when the muscle does not lengthen or shorten? An example might be if we try to move a real estate object like a truck: the muscles produce tension but do not change their length So these types of contractions are called isometric.
Not only does it happen with objects that exceed the capacity of our muscles, but also with submaximal load loads in which we perform instantaneous isometric contraction part of the route.
What practical applications is isometric training?
It is generally useful to apply it in three possible scenarios: improving muscle strength produced in a specific joint range, rehabilitation of injuries and how advanced intensification technique to increase metabolic stress in a particular muscle.
Improve strength in specific range of joints
When we perform an isometric contraction in a particular part of a sports movement or gesture, the gains in force that we can expect will be limited only to that particular joint angle. That is right Isometry creates neuronal patterns that are specific to this angle Therefore, when we include them in training, we must ensure that we focus on producing maximum force at this particular moment. In fact, the maximum isometric force we are capable of producing exceeds the maximum concentric force.
This can be special useful in sports where the same sports gestures are repeated over and over and in the same joint scopeIn strong sports like weight lifting or lifting weights Isometric accessories may be included to strengthen the sticking point (stagnation point) of the basic movements, i. the point of the elevator where the speed of the bar is significantly reduced and where it is customary to damage the elevator, on sticking point Each person is different and the reasons may be different.
In the previous video, we can see Mark Bell, one of the best powerlifters in history, training bench press through isometric exercises. In this case use a real-estate object, such as bank security pins on the bench.
Rehabilitation of injuries
If we switch to a different scenario, such as the process of injury or surgery rehabilitation, isometric exercises also take place, ie. especially when using eccentric exercises is too painful for the patient,
In addition to the lack of movement of the joints, it allows the maintenance of muscle mass in the lesions and postoperatively where the joint is required to be stable. In these cases Isometric contractions have been shown to have a hypoalgesic effect, that is, to reduce pain, increasing the threshold and subjective perception of it by patients.
Increased metabolic stress
In recent years, much light has been shed on the variables and factors that influence hypertrophy, with more or less consensus that mechanical stress is the most important of these factors.
But he's not the only one since Metabolic stress also plays a role as part of a workout focused on muscle growth.
Isometric training can increase metabolic stress, causing an occlusive effect on the working muscle, that is, no blood enters or leaves the muscle during isometric contraction. This occlusion effect there may be similarities to blood occlusion training or BFR (restricting blood flow) which demonstrates the achievement of muscle gains similar to those achieved through traditional strength training.
Images | Unsplash
Videos Mark Bell – Slingshot, MickHughes. Physio, Josh Bryant