How to Build Muscle with Bodyweight Isometrics

How to Build Muscle with Bodyweight Isometrics

There is a popular myth in the bodybuilding world that weightlifting is the most effective way for building the muscle mass. As a result, most of the people end up focusing all their time and effort on weightlifting and completely ignoring bodyweight isometrics, which are also equally and in some cases superior for muscle growth since these exercises also force the smaller stabilizer muscles to come into play.

Isometric exercises are a method to build up muscle, where the angle of the joint and the muscle length do not change. This unique method results in maximum intramuscular tension, allowing apex recruitment of muscle fibers. This fact coupled with a smart workout routine can actually help maximize muscular growth and push through plateaus.

I say smart workout because isometric bodyweight workouts performed on a whim can either maximize muscle endurance or strength, both of them without inducing almost none muscle hypertrophy. If you do not put your muscles under sufficient tension long enough, the body starts optimizing for maximum strength per unit muscle fiber. On the other hand, if you put your muscles under insufficient tension for a longer duration of time, the body starts optimizing for maximum endurance. None of the above workout principals promotes hypertrophy.

So the question arises, how to build muscle with bodyweight isometrics?

The answer is actually much simpler that it seems, by taking the best of both principles. What it essentially translates to is putting muscles under maximum load for the maximum duration of time. This coupled with the high efficiency of isometric exercises can provide a much-needed boost. Going by this routine means that the target muscles are always to be overloaded for enough amount of time, but that is where the perfect plan seems to hit a snag. Your body weight can not be varied as per the need of the exercise. This is where the idea of uneven bodyweight distribution comes in.

Suppose, you are doing a pushup, and you realize that you are now used to it, the first thing that would come to the mind would be to increase the repetitions, but we now know that doing that will maximize endurance without promoting any muscle growth. The solution to this problem would be Angular Training. The body can be inclined or declined at an angle to increase or decrease the amount of strain on the target muscle group. Let’s take an example of an isometric push up. If you are used to regular isometric pushups then you can use a chair to decline your body to create maximum load on the chest muscles or perhaps even go with the one hand variation, depending on the requirement. Similarly, two legs isometric squat can be changed to one leg with progress in strength.

Another way to get more out of bodyweight isometrics is to squeeze the target muscle at the top of concentric contraction. This forces the body to put more load on an already loaded muscle and recruit more muscle fibers causing hypertrophy. Yet, another excellent way to force maximum growth is to do drop sets. You start with the most difficult of the exercise and finish with the easiest one. What happens here is that the muscles not recruited during the first isometric exercise are forced to work during the second and third set, thus maximizing muscle involvement.

Some of the best exercise based on the workout principles above would be:

1) Biceps/ Upper back: Single arm hang

2) Calves: Single leg standing calf raise

3) Hamstring: Nordic Hamstring

4)Deltoids: Crucifix

5)Triceps: Dip Contraction

6) Chest: Push Up Contraction

The only thing that is remaining to take the muscle gain to its extreme peak is to decrease the rest periods between sets. If the body is given enough time to heal in between sets, the focus starts to shift towards strength and hypertrophy is minimized, since the body can heal and re-use the torn muscles eliminating the need for larger muscle fibers. Now that you know how to maximize and optimize gains, the next and perhaps the most important things come into the picture, balanced nutrition, and enough sleep. So now that you know how to build muscle with bodyweight isometric exercises go ahead and give the principles a try to start building some serious muscle, with nothing more than your body weight.

Wanna learn from the pros? Check the video below:

Ever Tried Myotatic Reflex Training?

Ever Tried Myotatic Reflex Training?

Bodybuilding is not an activity to be taken lightly; no pun intended. Whether the purpose be for sports, keeping a healthy figure, or building additional self-confidence, body building should be taken in all seriousness. Discipline is the key, not just for the proper posture and the proper routine, but also for the proper diet. Improper posture and not following safety procedures are sure to lead to injuries, disability, and even worse, death. On the other hand, following the prescribed form and execution would result in gains over time. However, some bodybuilding methods produce better results than others. In case you feel that you are not making any gains, there may be several different problems.


Myotatic reflex is a body mechanism that occurs when a muscle is being stretched. This reflex is a protective measure for muscles, as it only triggers when a muscle is stretched too far and is subject to tearing. Myotatic reflex works like this: Once the muscle spindle is stretched, it sends a stimulus to the spinal cord and back to contract the muscle. This particular reflex is what’s being utilized in the myotatic reflex training method, working via the concept of myotatic reflex reps. By safely maximizing the stretch position of the movement and immediately contracting right before the muscle spindle sends the signal to the spinal cord, you are utilizing the stored energy of the stretch, much like a rubber band. This type of movement improves neuromuscular communication, making the central nervous system more and more responsive. Myotatic reflex reps also utilize more fast-twitch muscle fibers, resulting in increases in size and in strength. With high-risk comes high-reward; myotatic reflex training is not for beginners and, as such, should be done properly and in moderation. Do not make the stupid mistake of overtraining yourself to injury. Check the video below for more clarification:

What do I do with it?

Basically, by doing myotatic reflex exercises, you are teaching your muscles to quickly explode from the stretched state. In order to build muscle, these three elements must be present: Muscular damage, muscular tension, and muscular fatigue. Since myotatic reflex exercises are short, quick bursts of energy, they are very exhausting and seriously burning. If you’re not feeling sore after a few reps, you’re not doing it properly. Keep in mind to do these types of exercises no more than twice a week, AND on different workouts. Too much and you will hurt yourself, which is a huge backward step due to recovery time.

Why should I perform myotatic reflex training?

Myotatic reflex training gives serious results, considering its three elements and how it just destroys your muscle. Essentially, it runs on the concept of microtrauma; the body responds by replacing the damaged tissues and adding more to it to reduce the risk of the damage occurring again. Remember, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. The same is true for muscles and, when considering the muscle damage the routine creates, the result would be bigger and stronger muscles.

The drill

So you want to do myotatic reflex training after all? The good news with this type of training is it can be applied to almost any training method you wish to do (except for isometrics); bench presses, push ups, sit ups, flyes. The catch is you have to perfect the form. Make a mistake and the energy is lost. Remember that you have to feel the pain. One of the MRT’s three elements, as mentioned above, is muscle damage. When the exercise hurts, you know it’s working. Once you get the hang of the proper posture, continue doing a few reps. Determine if you can still do the next rep. If not, let it go and lay down the weights. Prepare yourself for a world of pain after the workout, as you will feel very sore. Rest and let your body recover, and perform another MRT exercise on a different part on a different day of the week. Do not ever attempt to do MRT training for more than twice a week.

Wrapping up

Myotatic reflex training greatly improves neuromuscular response, utilizes more type 2 fast-twitch fibers, and produces bigger and stronger muscles. Though it will literally destroy your body in just a few sets, it produces very plausible results over time. That said, utmost care must be observed in performing this type of exercise.


Bodybuilding Diet Plans Push Low Carbs and High Protein Intake

To augment your exercise program you need to consider choosing from the many bodybuilding diet plans that are available. First you need to figure out what your goal is in using a diet plan. Different ones will accomplish different things. For many it is the need to lose fat and turn it into muscle. To most this means lowering the amount of carbohydrates that one is consuming while instead eating lots of protein.

That means eating lots of chicken, eggs and beef as well as turkey breast or fish. Milk, cottage cheese or cheeses are okay as long as they are low fat. These bodybuilding diet plans are designed to drop the body fat without affecting the muscle mass.

When you do eat carbohydrates you need to stay away from the ones that contain lots of sugar. That means no candies, sugared breakfast cereals or other sweet munchies. Fruits and fruit juices actually contain a lot of carbs as well and should be consumed in smaller amounts.

Other foods with carbohydrates that you should avoid based on the wisdom of many bodybuilding diet plans include whole wheat bread, porridge, potatoes and yogurt. You especially shouldn’t eat carbs before you go to sleep for the night as it will increase the fat in your body and interfere with the fat burning process. You should also increase the amount of fiber in your diet.

Bodybuilding diet plans will instruct you not only on the foods to eat but how to eat them. For example, you should not over stuff yourself any more than you should feel hungry after you eat. Don’t wait to eat until you are really hungry. In that state you are more likely to over eat or eat things you should not. When working to build muscle you should also drink a lot of water. Some diets will recommend up to a gallon a day. Most will also suggest that a vitamin supplement is useful. Others question the need for it.

It seems this is an option based on personal preference. When trying to build muscle mass your bodybuilding diet plans and exercise programs will tell you how and why. Just be sure to use common sense on the way in which you use this information.