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WHY ALL-OUT ISOMETRICS ARE THE NATURAL THING TO DO
WHY ALL-OUT ISOMETRICS ARE THE NATURAL THING TO DO
By Brian Murray, M.Ed.
Director of Clinical Research, ViiV Fitness
[This article was inspired by a response I received to my initial announcement of the ViiV-Rx. The response was condescending and unprofessional. After graciously thanking the person for their feedback and moving on, a video was posted publicly attacking my credibility. I was labeled as "irresponsible, dangerous, and stupid." Therefore, a little education was necessary.]
This should stir things up a bit.
Over the past 16 years I have instructed clients to give it everything they've got on four stations, for five seconds, against an immovable object. Some in this community will say that is irresponsible and dangerous, yet after all these years there has not been one injury. Hmmm. Am I just lucky?
Mark Twain said, "Most of what we know just ain't so." So let's talk about Timed Static Contractions (TSC).
Let me get this straight: To avoid injury, before attempting to contract muscles maximally we must first fatigue the muscles by gradually increasing effort in stages over a period of roughly 90 seconds?
I'm not buying this for even one second.
My experience over the last 16 years has shown me something different. It simply isn't true and I'm not only going to tell you why, but also tell you why short duration maximum effort contractions are the natural thing to do.
If you want answers, always look to Mother Nature. She has learned razor-sharp efficiency through billions of years of practice. To say that muscles need to first be fatigued before they contract maximally is an insult to Mother Nature's intelligence.
You do this in the morning upon awakening, or after an hour hunched over a computer. Cats and dogs do this 40 times a day. Babies do it in the womb. It's called pandiculation. You may know it as that morning stretch and yawn that feels so good.
Pandiculation is a reflex that is hardwired into all vertebrates. It prepares our bodies for movement by waking up the sensory-motor system. Pandiculation is Nature's "reset button;" it restores voluntary control over our musculature by sending feedback to our brain regarding the state of the myofascial system. Although it appears to be a stretch, it is not. It involves rapid development of maximal or near-maximal muscular contraction followed by a rapid decrease in tension. This occurs within a few seconds and produces a sense of well-being.
Let's rewind. Rapid development of maximal contraction? Rapid decrease in tension? Within a few seconds? We have been told that this is a recipe for disaster and yet there is no injury. Maybe Mother Nature knows what she is doing.
So let me get this straight: Our musculature can reflexively can go from complete inactivity to a maximal involuntary contraction in just a few seconds without harm, but it is dangerous to voluntarily contract our muscles maximally against an immovable object within five seconds? I don't think so. It's not true.
Nothing could be more in sync with our natural instincts than just a few seconds of all-out isometric contraction. It is strikingly similar to our primal mechanism for protecting the integrity of our myofascial system. It energizes our body, makes us more alert, and prepares us for fluid movement rather than leaving us spent, stiff, and sore for a few days.
I've heard it a million times from clients, "I always feel so good after this workout." There could be a much deeper reason for that statement. Could it satisfy a primal urge?
Pandiculation is regulated by the limbic system. This is a more primitive system concerned with instinct and mood. It controls basic emotions such as fear, pleasure and anger along with basic drives for self-preservation such as food, sex, and care of offspring.
Pandiculation is a function of something called homeostatic drive. It is something we must do to feel good, and when we do it we get the same satisfaction that we would get from putting food in an empty belly or neighbors-complaining-about-the-noise sex.
Again, giving it everything you've got for a few seconds is very similar to pandiculation. Of course it feels pleasurable. It appeals to our basic instincts.
Trust me on one thing, your clients and patients will love this! In fact, they will become spoiled and won't go back the other way. When they discover what I'm advocating, and they will, they will want to try it.
When they experience the same results if not better from traditional high intensity strength training methods, and they will, they will be hooked. They won't care about ever making a weight go up and down again or tediously graduating their force output over 90 seconds when instinctually they really want to get to the good stuff.
Rob Schweitzer - Inventor of ViiV-Rx
Did I mention it feels good to really blast it?
True story. On March 22nd 2019 I did a consultation with a prospective new client. After taking her through her stations in the manner mentioned above, when she finished I asked her how she felt. Her reply: "euphoric, just like after an orgasm."
If given the choice between the two how will your clients respond? Will they ask to concentrate for 90 seconds, or will they say "I'll have what she's having."
Don't get me wrong, this isn't a hit piece on TSC. If that's your thing and it works for you by all means keep doing it. I think the first 85 seconds are unnecessary and unnatural, but you certainly won't do any harm to anyone and the results will be good.
General George Patton said, "If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking." The purpose of this article is to get you thinking differently about an old form of exercise, and to put your mind at ease. Contrary to what you may hear or believe, there is nothing dangerous or limiting about giving it everything you've got against an immovable object for a few seconds. Mother Nature says it's ok. Listen to your mother.
The ViiV Isometric Strength Training Machine offers all the exercise you could ever need in a compact, user-friendly, affordable format. Isometric exercise is gaining attention. Soon it will have the attention of the masses. Then you will need to give it your attention. It's coming. I promise you. Get on board now.
If you would like to talk about the ViiV Isometric Machine and how it can fit into your practice please contact me.