Isometric exercises are great for strength and conditioning, you can easily get a good workout from a few select exercises held for an extended period of time.
The biggest challenge with isometrics is breathing. If you aren't breathing, you will never last more than 10 seconds.
Isometrics use a lot of energy even though they are mostly static. Tensing your whole body to lock yourself into position takes a lot of effort.
The isometric breathing technique will help you improve your holds by allowing you to breathe instead of hoping for the best. If you hold your breath your lungs wont allow 1 minute holds of L Sits, just try it now….
No chance right?
Well with this breathing technique your lung capacity won't be the obstacle.
Don't Hold Your Breath
When I start training anyone, I teach them this breathing technique to help improve their isometric holds from day one.
One of the most important things to do is breathe. Isometric exercises require a lot of oxygen and if you are holding your breath you will always plateau at around the 10 second mark.
When I used to train at the local gym I'd see guys doing a set without breathing. Their faces would swell up red and they would have to sit around after just to catch their breath.
Holding your breath when doing total body exercises is going to knacker you out and if you are really pushing yourself, you might pass out - not good times!
When doing isometrics exercises, you will struggle to take deep breaths in and out, and you shouldn’t.
If you try and breathe too deeply you will end up slipping out of the movement and probably collapsing on the floor.
Keeping your breathing shallow will enable you to keep your trunk tight because you are full of air, you are always pulling oxygen into your blood and you can then hold for a lot longer.
Air cycles around your nose and mouth but it will create movement around your lungs too. You will be continuously move air in and out of your lungs without a lot of effort because you can keep your muscles tight.
- Start with a nice big breath as you get into the hold, starting with full lungs will help keep them full
- As your whole body tightens, start to take shallow breaths through your nose and mouth.
- When your body starts trembling you will notice your breath cycling to that rhythm
- Bringing the air into your nose and mouth, combined with your body movement allows for very little diaphragm movement, instead you are cycling air in and around your lungs continuous.
When you first try this technique I would recommend doing something easier than your top skill. Isometric breathing works best when you are comfortable doing it so try something you are comfortable with first.
If you are learning solid L-sits, try a hanging L-sit to learn the technique. The hanging L should be easier than a supported L on the floor so you can focus more on your breathing rather than body tension.
Take It To The Limit
Once you have the breathing technique down, you will realise that you can hold your isometric exercises for a lot longer. The next step is to push the limits, try longer holds of more complex exercises. Try it with a human flag progression or a lever progression, try and hold a that 1 minute L-Sit!
Get The Workout!
Get my beginners Isometric Workout and start building super tensile strength today. Isometric training is key to master the power moves like the Front Lever, they are isometric exercises, after all.
This workout has a few key beginners exercises that will start you off on your journey to isometric mastery. Pop your best email in and I'll send you the workout now!