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Reason For 3-Stage Isometric Contraction
 
 
John Peterson John Peterson is offline
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10-22-2019, 12:55 PM
 
Hello Everyone,

I've addressed this several times before in various ways and you're going to get the answers to most of your questions in the Course "The Living Strength Isometric Power Belt Training System" that will be out before Christmas but here is one answer to a question that I have been e-mailed about a number of times.

Question: "John, all the published literature says that I can get just as good a result from a single maximum Isometric Contraction as I can from the 3-stage contraction that you keep writing about. Why do you say otherwise?"

Answer: First off, I'm not saying that this a fact across the board. You're ALL welcome to do what works best for you and ultimately that is for you to discover on your own just as I have and as Steve Justa wrote about in 'Rock, Iron, Steel'. But here's the reason I recommend the 3-stage as opposed to a single maximum contraction. I have done Isometrics most of my life but I never really believed that they would give anyone an appreciable gain in muscle size, they didn't with me personally even though my muscles did become very hard and very well defined and I also saw quite a few other men lose a great deal of body fat by working out solely with Isometrics. Truth is, I don't think anything compares to Isometrics for enhancing muscular definition which is the exact opposite of what I read when I was a kid. Back then, virtually all the muscle magazines stated that to gain maximum definition one should use very light weights and high repetitions. But the truth is, I never met anyone that did the very light weights that achieved anything. Yet, as stated above I did see quite a few men achieve a level of muscular definition and density by doing isometrics alone that was amazing to see. Most notable was my uncle Milo. All of those men back in the 1960s when the Isometric craze was in full swing and at its peak were using single contractions and that is what was written in all the books and magazines. Yet, I never saw a single one that built a great deal of muscle mass with Isometrics exclusively.

Now, jump forward to 1989, when I contacted Coach James Baley about his Isometric Power Belt method. Baley was adamant that one could build muscle mass just as readily with his power belt as with Barbells and DumbBells but in a small fraction of the time and by that he said, "I've seen men achieve better results in 20 minutes using my Isometric belt than in 2-hours with barbells and dumbbells." Still, I never personally saw anyone actually develop appreciable muscle size as a result of Isometrics alone. Then just five years ago I was contacted by Solomon Josefovits who had been mentored by the Mighty Atom and that is where I first heard about how to perform the three-stage contraction and it made perfect sense. First, you contract hard for 5 seconds and then relax completely just long enough to let the blood rush into the muscle then you contract even harder for 6 seconds and once again relax and allow the blood to infuse the muscles and then you contract as intensely as possible for 7 seconds and once again completely relax. In all, you've contracted for 18 seconds BUT you have also created an intense "pump" by using the three-stage contraction. 'Muscle pump' is what increases muscle size. If you're not interested in gaining size then there is no reason to perform the three-stage contraction. It's totally up to you. In fact, I hope that each of you will experiment and discover for yourself what truly is best for you.

---John Peterson



 
 
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jonlclay jonlclay is offline
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10-22-2019, 01:03 PM
 
John,

At this stage in my life I have no desire to build very big muscles and want to simply achieve the ability for my body to be lean and strong. Would a single, hard contraction be better for this type of result versus the 3 stage which you seem to indicate will help build bigger muscles? Strength vs size I guess is my question, what would you recommend? Also, is strength related to size of muscle, or can a slim, lean muscle be as strong?

Thanks,

Jon
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blackbelt blackbelt is offline
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10-23-2019, 06:52 AM
 
jonlclay,

I'm with you on this. Size has NEVER been my goal.

I've finding out the hard way that you really need to pay attention to how you feel when incorporating isometrics into your routine. A few weeks ago, I was doing them diligently, then I started feeling fatigued at odd times. I now recognize that I was burning myself out, doing too much (intensity), before I was ready.

Rob (aka blackbelt)
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John Peterson John Peterson is offline
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10-23-2019, 12:02 PM
 
Hey men,

If your goal is strictly to have impressive strength to bodyweight ratio and to be lean and hard in the shortest possible time you can accomplish that with single ultra-intense contractions. If you perform single contractions you will be able to take an incredibly intense workout within 10 to 15 minutes and that is including all rest periods that you will need to take. Truth to tell, most people will add a certain amount of muscle mass from the single contractions almost immediately BUT then rather than adding size you will start to see levels of muscular definition that you may never have seen before.

---John Peterson
 
 
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ware ware is offline
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10-23-2019, 01:11 PM
 
I'm pretty lean and hard at this point so am working to put on some size. To that end I'll by doing the Solytrain style or sort of a pulsing method to them. I plan to experiment and go to 10 pulses, perhaps of a little shorter duration. Shooting for 45 to 90 seconds per set.

I've found as Blackbelt has that one needs to watch the amount of Isometric training. Easy to step over the line and burn the nervous system down. It's easy to tell when that's happened, but not always easy to tell when you are exceeding the limits.

Last edited by ware; 10-23-2019 at 01:13 PM.
 
 
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10-23-2019, 03:20 PM
 
Ware, you are spot on.

I have stepped over the line repeatedly during the past 3 years. I have learned that with Isometrics you need to stop when you still feel strong. If you push yourself to the point that you feel wasted you will set yourself back for days because you will have exhausted your central nervous system. Its partly due to the fact that when there is no movement involved it becomes truly amazing how much intensity you can generate for a contraction but the bottom line is that you only have so much energy and only so much strength so you have to be very careful about overdoing it and crossing the line.

---John Peterson
 
 
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