Isometric training (also known as static training) involves exercise in which the muscle length does not change during the duration of the time under tension. Translation: Isometric training is done by holding a static position for extended periods of time. During isometric training, nearly all muscle fibers are activated simultaneously, which is something that cannot be accomplished through traditional exercise movements. The result is increased blood flow, increased strength, and limited stress on joints. Isometric training is very beneficial for your general fitness level and should be incorporated into your workouts regularly.
For those with experience in backcountry hunting, you have likely been in a situation in which you had to remain perfectly still, perhaps in a not so desirable position. Or if you bowhunt, you have likely had to hold your draw for a minute or longer while you waited for that deer or elk to finally step out from behind that tree. The hunter is constantly doing isometric moves in the field, so it only makes sense that he or she should train for such a scenario. Here are a few things to keep in mind when doing static training:
1. Perform Multi-Joint Exercises
Multi-joint exercises do exactly what they sound like: they engage multiple joints at one. Examples of these would be: squats, bench press, planks, push-ups, wall squats, lunges, etc. Performing multi-joint exercises will engage all of the muscles involved in that move at once, thus engaging the largest number of muscles possible.
Breathing is crucial to isometric exercise. You have to make sure that you are taking deep breathes in and blowing them out slowly. A good way to make sure you are doing this is to inhale for 2 seconds and exhale for 2 seconds. This will ensure that you are getting plenty of oxygen to your muscles.
3. Change Up Duration and Reps
You have a few options in how to perform static training: you can perform movements for 10 reps, holding the contracted position of the move for 2-3 seconds, or perform movements for as little as 1 rep, holding the contracted position for 1 minute or more. Both forms of static training will increase strength and endurance. Changing it up will keep you body guessing which will lead to better gains in performance.
Each time you exercise, choose one multi-joint move (weighted or body weight) and incorporate static training. After a few weeks of this, you will begin to notice gains in strength and muscle endurance.