Earlier this week, I shared a video on my Instagram page that talked about a makeshift isometric training tool that I first demonstrated in 2009. This post was an update to the isometric tool that I previously showed in my Never Gymless and Infinite Intensity books. I also shot a YouTube tutorial on an isometric tool in 2011 (sorry old resolution SD)
Nevertheless, despite these old posts, the answer I saw on social networks shows that several new readers have appeared on the site. Many have not seen an isometric tool before. With that in mind, I will share the instructions again. I have always achieved a significant increase in strength using isometry, and this device is quite simple to build.
Isometric and traction traction
Below you will see the tool in action, followed by several sets of traction with a panel of traps. The footage was shot in 2012. At that time, I was working on improving traction bar traction, and isometric training played a significant role.
There are many studies that support isometric training to develop maximum strength. Therefore, I wanted to create a tool that would allow me to train several angles of the joint for various exercises. What I came up with can be seen below.
- 2 feet x 4 feet piece of plywood 3/4 inch
- 6 foot piece of wood 4 x 4 inches
- Three pieces of chain
- Three eye bolts
- Two ring handles for a playground
- Long screws
- Multiple Quick-Link Connectors
- Optional – two spring coils
I started by cutting 4×4 into two feet. The middle part is designed for exercises on one arm. Then I placed 4 × 4 on each side of the central part. I did not follow any exact measurements. I built the tool based on the position of the leg that I need. I stood on plywood and marked the appropriate width based on the position that was most comfortable. I installed 4 × 4 parts with liquid nails, and then secured them with long screws (after the liquid nails were cured).
Each 4 × 4 has its own eye hook fixed in the middle. The chain is connected to the earloops using a quick coupler. I always pay attention to the strongest connectors that I can find. Eye hooks are rated at 350 pounds each. The circuit and connectors are rated much higher.
Spring Loaded Options
One of the modifications to this tool may be the addition of a tension spring. You can attach the coil to the handle to give the device a dynamic look. However, you can crimp the ends to prevent the coil from disconnecting. If this is not possible, pay attention to your connections to make sure that your handle does not fly off the spool.
The reel shown below is rated at 350 pounds.
As you can see, the hard tension of the handle creates a slight tension in the reel. Thus, when using a coil, you can hold an extended position or perform repetitions by pulling and then releasing (continuing to alternate in this way).
One of the comments I read on Instagram was about measuring how much you pull or push each pen. I saw similar questions asked earlier when people wanted to equate a number to each isometric push or push using a sensor. Personally, I never felt the need to measure stress. Instead, I believe that the biggest sensor is iron. In other words, you will know that you become stronger when your lifts begin to improve. This is a real test for me.
Multi angle training
Although not visible in the video above, the original 2011 lesson shows how I can target multiple corners of a joint by attaching handles to various points in the chain. For example, you can see how I train several angles of joints, which leads to an increase in strength when doing heavy jerks with dumbbells.
Isometry is very useful in this regard, because you can focus maximum effort on several corners of the joint in the exercise. The maximum force of five seconds of an isometric push or tension is equal to several repetitions of dynamic work. This does not mean that isometric work is superior to dynamic, but rather emphasizes its potential. Ideally, isometric work and dynamic work should combine to reap the benefits of both worlds. This approach was much more common among legends of power from previous generations. As always, much can be learned by studying the past.
Thus, I have no commercial interest in having someone perform an isometry. All I can do is share my experience over the years. The increase in strength, which I realized through isometry, was both consistent and significant. And although there are several equipment options, the above-described homemade tool is certainly my favorite. This has never failed me in terms of power development, and still remains new after 10+ years of regular use.
“Learning is never cumulative; it is a movement of knowledge that has no beginning or end.” – Bruce Lee