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Elevate Your Summer Gains, Do Isometrics At Home Or In The Gym: The Impact of Isometric Training on Athletic Performance

Are you ready to elevate your performance in sports like hockey, basketball, volleyball, or track and field? Isometric training could be your secret weapon. Let's dive deeper into how different types of isometric exercises can enhance specific movements crucial for success in these sports.

1. Static Holds: Precision, Stability, and Myelination for Technical Sports

Static holds can make a significant difference in sports requiring precise movements and stability, such as hockey and volleyball. Imagine holding a deep squat position, mimicking the defensive stance in volleyball, or maintaining a plank to reinforce core stability so as not to get bumped off the puck. These static holds build strength and enhance muscle memory and stability, leading to better execution of technical skills during games. Additionally, static holds facilitate myelination, the process by which neural pathways become more efficient, leading to faster and more precise movement execution.

Here are some at-home static hold exercises you can do to increase myelination:

Lower Body Exercise: Isometric Lunge Hold, athletes can perform an isometric lunge hold for 20 to 90 seconds. Start by lunging forward with one leg at a 90-degree angle, ensuring the knee is directly above the ankle. Hold the position, focusing on keeping the torso upright and engaging the core muscles. Switch legs and repeat.

Upper Body Exercise: Plank Hold. Perform a plank hold for 20 to 90 seconds. Begin in a push-up position with elbows directly beneath the shoulders and forearms resting on the ground. Keep the body in a straight line from head to heels, engaging the core muscles and avoiding sagging or arching. Hold the position while maintaining steady breathing.

2. Yielding Isometrics: Explosive Power for Sprinting and Jumping

Sprinting and jumping are fundamental movements in sports like track and field, basketball, and volleyball. Yielding isometrics, where you push or pull against an immovable object, are excellent for building explosive power. Picture pushing against a sturdy wall or pulling resistance bands attached to a fixed point. These exercises activate fast-twitch muscle fibers, crucial for explosive movements like sprinting out of the starting blocks or exploding up for a rebound. Yielding isometrics are done for a longer duration of time with 75-80% effort. This builds the repeated power (muscle endurance) needed for bout after bout of intense exercise or shifts in a game.

Here are some at-home yielding isometric exercises you can do to build explosive power:

Lower Body Exercise: Wall Sit, athletes can perform a wall sit for 20 to 90 seconds. Lean against a wall with the feet shoulder-width apart and slide down until the thighs are parallel to the ground. Hold the position, ensuring the knees are at a 90-degree angle and the back is flat against the wall.

Upper Body Exercise: Resistance Band Pull. Perform a resistance band pull for 20 to 90 seconds. Attach a resistance band to a fixed point at shoulder height. Grab the band with both hands and pull it towards the body, engaging the back muscles. Hold the position, focusing on squeezing the shoulder blades together.

3. Overcoming Isometrics: Vertical Leap for Basketball and Volleyball

In basketball and volleyball, a high vertical jump can be a game-changer. Overcoming isometrics, where you push or pull with maximal effort against resistance, are perfect for increasing vertical jump height. Think of pushing against a solid surface or pulling against heavy resistance bands. These exercises strengthen the muscles involved in jumping, enabling athletes to reach greater heights when going for a layup, spiking a ball, or blocking a shot.

Here are some at-home static hold exercises you can do to increase vertical jump:

Lower Body Exercise: Door Frame Lunge Push. Begin by standing facing the door frame with one foot slightly in front of the other, resembling a forward lunge stance. Place your hands on either side of the door frame, gripping it firmly at about hip height. Grip and hold the door frame with maximal effort and straight arms, while simultaneously pushing forward with the front leg and backward with the rear leg, engaging the muscles in both legs. Hold this maximal effort push for 3-6 seconds, focusing on contracting the legs.

Upper Body Exercise: Chest Press Against Door Frame. Perform a chest press inside a door frame for 3 to 6 seconds. Stand facing the opposite side of the door with arms extended at shoulder height. Push against the frame with maximal force, engaging the chest muscles. Hold the position for the designated time, focusing on maintaining tension in the chest.

4. Isometric Contractions within Dynamic Exercises: Speed and Agility for Hockey and Soccer

Quick acceleration, sharp cuts, and agile maneuvers are essential in sports like hockey and soccer. Isometric contractions within dynamic exercises, where you hold specific joint angles during movement, can enhance speed and agility. Consider pausing at the bottom of a squat before exploding into a sprint, simulating the quick starts and stops required in hockey. Or imagine holding a lunge position before swiftly changing direction, mimicking the agility needed in soccer. These exercises improve strength and stability at key joint angles, translating into faster first steps and sharper changes in direction on the field or ice.

Here are some in-gym isometric contraction exercises you can do to increase dynamic speed:

Lower Body Exercise: Pause Squat, athletes can perform a pause squat for 3 to 6 seconds. Use weights at 65-80% of your max, lower into a squat position, and hold at the bottom for the designated time before explosively driving upwards. This exercise improves strength and explosiveness during rapid changes in direction.

Upper Body Exercise: Push-Up Hold, athletes can perform a push-up hold for 3 to 6 seconds. Lower into a push-up position and hold at the bottom with arms bent at 90 degrees. Maintain tension in the chest, shoulders, and triceps before pushing explosively back to the starting position. This exercise enhances upper body strength and stability during dynamic movements.

By incorporating these specific types of isometric exercises into your training routine, tailored to the demands of your sport, you can unlock your full athletic potential. Whether you're aiming to improve your shooting accuracy, increase your vertical jump, or enhance your agility, isometric training at FAST Athletics can help you achieve your goals and dominate the competition. Join us and take your game to new heights!

Call or text Jayme at 612-839-8039 or email at

Servicing the Minnetonka, Hopkins, Wayzata, St Louis Park, Eden Prairie, and Orono communities.

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