Goblin's Gym Isometrics
Isometrics have been around for a long time - I learned about them around the time I started training.
They are not the be-all-end-all, but a valuable tool to know. They are great when you don't have any
equipment, or to bring up your strength in specific positions. You can do them virtually anywhere -
standing in line, in the bathroom, in a padded cell with a restraint system (car)...
Please keep in mind that your body can be amazingly strong in isometric contractions. For your safety:
- Do not hold your breath, you could pass out.
- Position yourself properly, just like you would when lifting normal weights.
- In particular, don't round your back.
- Yes, you can break things... I tried out some cheap "forearm forklift" straps
from Aliexpress. The stitching held up for a few seconds. Use material that is rated
for a decent working load (at least a few hundred kg / over 500 lbs).
The Ultimate Isometrics Manual - book by Paul "Coach" Wade.
This is a manual for their reassuringly expensive Isochain device, but also provides
a wealth of information on the theory and history of isometrics, exercises without equipment,
and progressions for static calisthenics holds. Inexpensive on Kindle, the book version is a bit
Overcoming Isometrics - book by Matt Schifferle, using straps for many exercises.
Build your own isometrics rig
The Isochain set costs over $500, and does not allow you to use different handles or bars where
appropriate. With my DIY setup, you will not get the electronic force meter. What you need:
- Base plate (strong plywood - I used some 19 mm birch multiplex I had around). Mine is about
50 x 60 cm, you can probably go smaller unless you have Sasquatch feet.
- Some 2x4 pieces as stand-off - I used some wood salvaged from disposable pallets.
- Drill 4 holes in the center (10 or 12 mm diameter, spaced 60 mm). Use some backing board for cleaner
- Use a bit of used climbing rope for the center connection point.
- Get a strapping set for securing car or truck loads. I found mine at a local farm supply
store. 2 pieces for about $3, 3.5m x 25 mm, rated for 500 kg / 1100 lbs. The straps will not
last forever, but they are quick to adjust, and don't make noise like a chain does.
- Use carabiners to connect things together. Hardware store carabiners usually have sharp
edges. Even the cheapest climbing carabiners are better quality, and rated for a 22 kN load
(about 2 tons).
- Use individual handles, or connect your ez-curl bar with a short climbing sling
or rope loop.
- Experiment: You can make shoulder straps out of 50 mm wide straps, e.g. car seat belts (used or new,
the material can sometimes be found in crafts stores).
Water knot to make a loop.
Result ? My legs love it. The skin around my shoulders - not so much... Serious bruises
(but I also get light bruises when doing heavy standing calf raises).
- I'm afraid a crane scale does not work well for force measurement - does not hold
the maximum load.
- DIY video - another design by Hybrid