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How do You Quantify Level of Exertion?
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John Peterson John Peterson is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2008
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03-11-2019, 05:08 PM
Hello Friends,

It seems to be human nature to want to quantify how much intensity or exertion we are applying to what we do. I fully understand that. So, when I am asked about it as applies to Isometric Contraction does it surprise any of you that I don't really have a definitive answer. The simple truth is that I don't other than the obvious things like testing yourself with weights.

This is what I do know. Over the last few years, I have become more and more adept at contracting my muscles to the maximum through Isometric Contraction. I can also tell you that it is definitely a learned skill. Through practice, one develops the ability to contract more and more of his muscle fibers for any given exertion. So much so that you literally get into the 'groove' where you can feel the 'feel good' hormones kick in. It's a very pleasant feeling and I suppose somewhat addicting because it is something that I look forward to with every workout.

But back to the question, how do you quantify (measure) your ability to mobilize a greater number of muscle fibers for any given exertion? Testing yourself with weights would certainly be one way and applying the strength gained toward feats of strength like those our friend Benny Bergman does would be another. I'll give you one that made me laugh. More than 40 years ago, Dr. Rex Wiedenranders wrote a book on Isometrics called 'Biotonics' in that book he featured a large number of freehand Isometrics that yielded excellent results and what he recommended was that at the end of each month you should test yourself with push-ups in order to see how much your strength had improved. The reason I laughed was that although he was certain that his readers would be experiencing a great level of improvement from month to month in the number of Push-Ups they were capable of, I never understood why because the exercises that he taught had no relation to push-ups in the least so using push-ups as a test to determine an increase in isometric strength didn't make a lot of sense to me.

On the other hand, I'm not sure that I would have enjoyed being an Alexander Zass student that ended up breaking my exercise chains. The idea of blinding myself as the result of a training mishap holds no appeal for me. On the other hand, bending steel or horseshoes does have a certain allure to it for me.

---John Peterson
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