2 Most Underrated Training Variables

We recently posted a video on Youtube talking about two important training and programming variables that many new and veteran Personal Trainers don't put enough energy into. Check out the video below and keep scrolling for more conversation on what they are and why they are important for aspiring Personal Trainers looking to create a lasting career and create impact for clients.

What is Isometric Training?

Defined as a type of strength training in which the joint angle and muscle length do not change during contraction (compared to concentric or eccentric contractions, called dynamic/isotonic movements). In laymens terms it means that muscles are working and contracting but there is no movement happening at the joints.

Think of a plank, probably the most familiar isometric move for most people. Thankfully for clients & trainers, there are endless ways to intelligently include isometrics into programs aside from planks. From a developmental standpoint, most clients and people newer to working out (or even seasoned) would benefit from a concentrated focus on controlling and preventing movements, rather than just causing them.

Why Do them?

Think about it, your grandma has been getting up out of a chair (however she can) for years but how often has she thought about being able to hold the positions involved in that movement. Often times those "transitionary" phases of an exercise when someone is getting to the top or transitioning from the bottom to the top (think the bottom of a squat or bench) are where injuries (or) losses of power may occur due to lack of segmental/joint stability.

Emphasizing specific pauses and isometric holds in these positions, either on their own or in the midst of exercises can help enhance the development of stability throughout the body. At a neurological level, your body is "learning" what stability feels like in those positions so that outside of the training environment, or when they progress to greater challenges the body will automatically stabilize in those positions.

Keep an eye out for a video and post coming next week on our Top 5 Favorite Isometric exercises to help elevate your training programs.

What is Training Tempo?

Simply put, training tempo is just the speed of exercise. Most people, if left to their own devices will move too quickly, too early on. Taking it back to teaching the body stabilization, it takes time. When someone who has not developed their stabilization system moves too quickly, the body doesn't neurogically understand how to fire muscles accordingly to stabilize joints and positions.

For a young female volleyball player this may mean the knees cave in (valgus) when she lunges, squats, and lands because the movements are happening too quickly for her system to understand the stimuli and send messages to the right muscles.

Slowing down the training tempo, maybe much more so than many might think, will not only enhance the system and decrease risk of knee injury but build the kind of stability that will actually allow her to get much stronger and more powerful down the road. A lack of stability in a strength/power movement means a loss of force production that isn't being transferred from the prime movers to the movement.

How long do people need to train slowly for? Therein lies the art of coaching. It may take some just a few weeks to see drastic increases in stability while other need much more practice. Pairing together both slow training tempos along with isometric pauses is an extremely effective way to enhance this system early on with clients.

Thankfully, even for clients who might just be looking for body composition change it still means significant calorie burn as training sets last quite a while and require a lot of muscle mass to be firing all at once (both great for caloric expenditure and lean muscle gains).

There are some well established tempo standards through major organizations such as the NASM & NSCA seen below and if they are paired appropriately with the right "anti-movement" isometric exercises can have a drastic impact on the long term results and training of clients at any level.

Joe Drake is the CEO & Lead Educator for the Axiom Fitness Academy as well as, Co-Owner of Gravity + Oxygen Fitness. Dedicated to helping other Fitness Pros find success in the industry, Joe has become a resource for new trainers and facilities in South Florida who are committed to elevating the client experience.

You can connect with Joe more at www.JoeDrake.com or subscribe here!

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