Isometric Workout with a Towel from Matthew Berenc

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No Equipment, No Problem! – Isometrics
Great force meet immovable object (AKA a towel)! The towel serves as a great way to create an isometric contraction and to link the entire body. As you push, your grip is cued to squeeze hard allowing you to push harder which leads to a harder grip (positive feedback loop). Pairing a 10 sec isometric hold with quick body weight reps after allows you to integrate the isometric work you just performed into the larger movement. The reps can be quick ones as I’m showing here or even plyos to increase the intensity. For all three movements, I’m doing a 10 sec hold followed by 5 reps. The added benefit in the lower body drills of using the towel is you can be solid isometric pull through the back as well.
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Isometrics are a great way to develop positional strength that has transfer to ranges of motion above and below as well as teach total body tension. Developing position specific strength can be a great tool in shoring up some weaknesses. If you have trouble making it past the sticking point of a push up, spending time in an isometric contraction at that point can help improve your ability to produce force, recruit muscle fibers, and create systemic tension to serve as the basis for the push.
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Creating systemic tension or total body tension is another benefit of isometrics. As you push or pull you can start to “feel” what isn’t quite locked in and develop awareness around your weak links. The more you push, you can create intention and start to the feel the body sync up. This has tremendous benefit for when you return to a normal lift, now you have dialed in the ability to get tight from head to toe, which means your whole body is involved in the lift. This makes the weight feel lighter and the evolves the exercise from something focused on your legs or arms to something full body.
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