Isometric Training For Plateau Busters By Karen Sessions
If your training is stuck in a rut and you keep hammering away at the weights, only to see zero results, you have hit the all too familiar plateau.
Even though many hate these common speed bumps, they can be good for your training, as they tell you that your body is bored and you need to shake things up a bit.
Doing the same exact thing day in and day out causes plateaus. If you don't change anything in your training, your body certainly is not going to change. If you want changes, you have to change.
Bursting through plateaus can come in many forms, such as varying sets, speed, repetitions, tempo, as well as hand and foot placement. In fact, any change made in your training is a new type of stress to your body, causing it to respond and sparking new growth.
Below are some of my favorite shock techniques. I incorprorate them from time to time when I need to make a change or if I feel my workout is lacking.
Drop/Burn Sets for Plateau Busters
These can be considered two different training principles, but I group them together sometimes for an insane workout. For example, if I am curling 60 pounds on the EZ Curl Bar and I get to my final repetition with that weight and I can no longer do them with proper form I incorporate this training principle.
I will have my training partner, or anyone in the gym, strip off half the weight as quickly as possible, and then I pump out as many repetitions as I can with that until my biceps are fatigued again.
At that point I have them strip more weight off and I continue curling until all the weight is removed from the bar and the bar itself weighs a ton. I curl that bar as much as I can and that's my drop/burn set. Talk about setting the biceps on fire and getting a wild pump!
Isometric Training for Plateau Busters
Oh yes. This can be a killer too. This can also be called static training. Isometric training is basically holding the repetition at mid-point during or at the end of the set. It is to completely exhaust the targeted muscle, and it does it well.
For example, I am doing lying leg extensions for hamstrings. After I get to my last few repetitions and know my final one is coming, I will hold that last repetition at mid-point for as long as I can. I will even have my spotter add resistance to the foot padding by literally pushing down on it. I hold this as long as possible and lower slowly.
Talk about feeling the hamstrings after that! If you think you are walking after this, forget it. Better do some stretching and call a cab to bring you home. I'm just joking, but it is an intense workout sure to shock your training.
Forced Sets for Plateau Busters
This is another favorite of mine, which allows you to go beyond failure. This training principle takes a spotter or training partner too.
Lift your weight as normal, getting in all your repetitions and when your muscles become fatigued, your spotter steps in and assists you in lifting those final few repetitions that you cannot complete on your own.
For example, when doing the lat pull-down, as usual, I will pump out as many repetitions as I can myself. When muscle fatigue hits, my spotter is behind me assisting me in the pulling movement. My spotter will lightly push down on the bar as I am pulling so I can complete those final repetitions I couldn't have without the assistance.
About The Author
Karen Sessions has been in the fitness industry since 1988 and is a certified personal fitness instructor and specialist in performance nutrition. She is a nationally qualified natural female bodybuilder, holding numerous titles in the southern states including two overalls.
Karen has written six e-books on fitness. She also writes articles for several fitness websites, and distributes two monthly newsletters regarding weight loss and female bodybuilding.