Isometric gymnastics and its history

What are isometric exercises and why is it necessary?

In the modern world, there are quite a lot of different ways to strengthen physical health, starting from simple morning exercises and ending with special hardening procedures. A special place among many physical techniques is isometric gymnastics, which not only strengthens muscles, tendons and musculoskeletal apparatus, while increasing physical strength, but also contributes to solving a variety of problems related to physical health.

Isometric gymnastics is a special kind of strength training, the main feature of which is that the muscles of a person tense up without moving parts of the body that participate in the exercise. In other words, the body parts remain static at the time of the exercise, so the angle and length of the muscles remain unchanged during their contraction.

To understand the theoretical basis and the key importance of isometric exercises, remember the following postulates.

  1. The attachment of muscles to the bones is carried out with the help of tendons. When the tendons contract or stretch the muscles begin to move.
  2. Muscles grow due to the creation of new muscle tissue, and not due to the consolidation of the existing one.
  3. In order to use the new muscle tissue, it is necessary to build up tendons.
  4. To force muscles to grow, it is necessary to conduct debilitating strength training. At a time, as the growth of tendons is affected by static loads.
  5. Muscles are weaker than tendons, so less stress is required for their tension.
  6. To build up the tendons you need much more time than to build muscle tissue.
  7. Systematic performance of dynamic exercises to a greater extent develops muscle tissue, as dynamic loads are not enough for optimal growth of tendons.
  8. Tendons grow due to continuous tension during the training.


In other words, without proper training of tendons, which are carried out through the exercise of isometric gymnastics exercises, the entire muscle tissue of a person can serve only as an additional aesthetic adornment, useless from a practical point of view. After all, simply pumped muscles will not increase the strength of man in principle, but also favorably affect his physical tone and musculoskeletal system.


History of isometric gymnastics


The exact history of the origin of isometric gymnastics is shrouded in mystery, as it is not known exactly in which country the technique of static training originated. It is only known that in such countries as India, Tibet and China the use of isometric exercises combined with dynamic exercises has been practiced for more than a thousand years.

As for the origin of the term “isometric gymnastics”, it originated in the early 20th century. His ancestor is the unsurpassed strongman, the actor of the Russian circus troupe Alexander Zass, better known under the stage name “Amazing Samson” or “Iron Samson”.

The uniqueness of this man was that he was doing incredible power tricks and exercises, the complexity of which amazed the human imagination. Samson bent metal bars of large cross-section, tore chains with the fingers alone, raised wooden beams weighing 200 kg with his teeth, bent his nails with his hands, wore horses on his shoulders, made a somersault with weights in his hands and could wring from the floor two hundred times in four minutes. Alexander Zass was the title of the strongest man in the world.

Nobody could understand what is the source of the origin of his truly heroic power which destroyed all existing ideas about the physical capabilities of this man. People asked the only question: “How does he manage it?”

Alexander Zass was not at all a superhero; his height was only 165 centimeters. According to Samson, he manages to perform such complicated physical exercises due to strong tendons, will power and mastered muscular control. It is the combination of these three factors, reinforced by constant training that allowed the entertainer to reach such a high level of power development.

However, the main secret of heroic strength lies in the unique system created by Samson, which strengthens tendons. This system is called an isometric. Alexander always emphasized that the person receives much more benefits from strong hands than from large biceps.

The effective methods of Samson’s isometric training, allowing the development of unprecedented power, later began to be used in America and other countries. The peak of popularity of isometric gymnastics occurs in the sixties and seventies the last century.

To date, isometric training has lost its former popularity. This is due to the fact that in the modern world, external aesthetics and an attractive kind of pumped muscles came to the forefront, and not their practical functionality and physical health, which is strengthened by isometric exercises.


How useful is isometric exercises?


Due to the combination of correctly selected isometric exercises, it is possible not only to train the tendons and thereby significantly increase the indicator of the physical strength of a person, but also to strengthen the musculoskeletal system, to eliminate periodic pains in the back, joints and lower back, to improve coordination of movements, to increase flexibility, to form correct posture, as well as improve the overall physical condition of the body.

In addition, isometric gymnastics is used in the treatment of diseases such as scoliosis and osteochondrosis. It is also used in the rehabilitation of people who have suffered various injuries.

The range of application of isometric exercises is very wide in the first place due to its efficiency and effectiveness.


Advantages and disadvantages of isometric gymnastics


Advantages of isometric gymnastics


  1. It takes very little time to perform isometric exercises. Fifteen minutes for one lesson is enough.
  2. Isometric gymnastics can be practiced anywhere, including at work.
  3. A certain set of isometric exercises exists for each part of the body.
  4. Isometric exercises can be performed by absolutely anyone, starting from an office worker who undergoes a rehabilitation course after an injury, and ending with a professional athlete who develops physical strength before the competition.
  5. Since exercises of isometric gymnastics are based on static, less energy is spent on classes than on dynamic training. This allows a person to significantly reduce the level of fatigue.
  6. Performing isometric exercises increases the flexibility of a person, which in turn has a beneficial effect on blood circulation, and also relaxes muscles.
  7. The probability of injury during the execution of static exercises is much lower than when performing dynamic exercises.
  8. Performing exercises of isometric gymnastics promotes the burning of the fat layer, which covers the muscle fibers.


Disadvantages of isometric exercises


  1. Improper performance of isometric exercises can lead to injuries and blood pressure jumps.
  2. It takes time to master and effectively use isometric gymnastics.
  3. The essence of isometric technique is not simply the thoughtless pushing or squeezing of a static object. It is very important to have the right technique, psychological attitude and breathing.


Rules of isometric gymnastics


In order to get a positive effect from isometric exercises, you need to learn some basic rules.

  1. Our body is not only individual muscles, but a single organism, which must be treated with respect and understanding.
  2. Learn the correct technique of performing static exercises from the very beginning, since it will be rather difficult to retrain.
  3. Make sure you warm up before doing isometric exercises. This will save you from injury to the muscles and joints.
  4. To begin to perform isometric exercises is necessary on exhalation.
  5. Breathe quietly. If you keep quiet breathing does not come out, then you need to take a break to rest.
  6. Training should take place using natural exercises and positions.
  7. During the exercises, the use of force should go on increasing – from minimal effort to maximum. Moreover, the increase in strength should be smooth.
  8. Do everything without hurrying. The application of maximum effort must come naturally. The very first approaches can take only a few seconds. By less than a set of experience, you can smoothly increase the approach time.
  9. Your muscles should rest in between exercises. How much time should rest last – you decide, focusing on your personal well-being.
  10. Your body should be under your control. This will allow you to choose the right muscles, increasing their strength.
  11. To strengthen the muscles, tendons and bones in the complex, it is necessary to create a wave of force that will pass through your entire body.
  12. It is desirable for athletes to perform isometric exercises, as an addition to their basic training.
  13. If, during the performance of an exercise, you have painful sensations, you need to determine their source and for a few days, stop doing this exercise.
  14. Concentrate on the development of your power abilities. Thanks to hard workouts, you will certainly feel the result.
  15. Listen to your body during class. It always tells you when to finish the workout.