These days while i'm circling with Animal/Playful Movements & various circuits when i'm in the mood, I also do Isometrics. Mostly free-handed but a mixture of different things. On Sunday, I tackled isometrics through the use of my pull-up bar. Contracting and relaxing using different grips and doing them in three positions (standing on the ground & the two steps on a stool). Don't know how long the workout was but I felt it immediately and very much at the end.
The thing that always struck me about Isometrics that I sometimes forget to realize is that they don't just make you stronger but denser in the muscular structure that can aid in the fat burning process and put on greater natural muscle mass. This isn't bodybuilding muscle but the type of muscle that is functional and strengthens not just the big boys but the little ones too on top of strengthening the connective tissues such as the tendons & ligaments and literally fires up those muscle fibers when contracted.
When most people think of Isometrics the one that comes to mind is the Plank exercise where you hold yourself up in a push-up like position either on the forearms or hands. This exercise is more known for being what's called a Aerobic Isometric where you hold a position for an extended period of time instead of using full on contractions. The real exercises go far beyond just holding a position, its a form of extensive laser-like focus and utilizing specific muscles or the whole body depending on the position where it's in isolation, in other words Pushing, Pulling, Squatting, Gripping against an immovable object or staying in a static position where you where you don't move the muscle(s).
Some have the belief that isometrics don't really work if you're trying to build muscle; that can be said within the depending goal of the type of muscle you're building. I do believe it works because I have done it plus its been used by some of the strongest people on the planet dating back 100 years or more. The original muscle builders of the early 20th century did in fact use isometrics to build their bodies, the other term for this is Muscle Control. In America the most famous for coming up with this concept was Alois P. Swoboda that had a course called Conscious Evolution. Another famous name which in turn became a much bigger legend in the world of Physical Culture was Maxick that made not only muscle building a way of life but also made it an art form which became part of today's Bodybuilding Culture. Not only did he build his body through this style of training, it also helped him become pound for pound one of the strongest men of his generation.
Isometrics in simple terms develops Positional Strength where you do fixed positions and strengthen that area. Bruce Lee has done this, Dennis Rogers, The Mighty Atom & others have generated incredible strength, power & speed utilizing this method. To me the most powerful example of this method of training is from a wrestler named the Great Gama of India; aside from his insane regimen of high rep calisthenics & wrestling practice, his method of Isometrics made him so tough that it kept him undefeated throughout his entire career. Never losing in over 5000 Matches even the greatest wrestlers of America & Europe couldn't touch him. His longest matches were no more than 10 minutes if that and threw guys around like rag dolls even though some were far bigger than him. So what was his Isometric Workouts? Well legend has it that every morning he would get up and wrap a belt around a tree and proceed to throw it in every position he can come up with. Never was able to make the tree come out out of the roots but because of this, his opponents didn't stand a chance.
There are many ways to use isometrics especially if you're tackling the weights because if you're stuck in a certain position, you put the bar in that position (using a rack) and strengthen that position. It aids in developing strength so when you use the full range of motion it'll be easier to lift because of strengthening the positions little by little. That's all for today but if you want to pick up some great courses based purely on Isometrics here's a few places to check out.....
How To Learn Muscle Control
Muscle Control By Maxick