I wanna talk about
isometric resistance training as opposed to isotonic training, which is when you’re lengthening or actively moving your muscles as you perform the strength
training exercises. And that could be either
a concentric or excentric. If you’ve studied resistance training, you probably know what that means. But now let’s talk
about isometric training which is when you’re static. And isometric training has been shown to be one of the best ways of maintaining good strength and injury prevention. In fact, it is one of the ways that improves your
maximum strength the most. However, it only does so in those exact specific positions that you practice in, meaning the joint angles in your body. That’s why you need to be very careful about selecting what types of positions
you’re practicing in, when you’re doing isometric training. So let’s start. To do isometric training, it’s usually a good idea
to have a wall or a friend. Now, I don’t have a friend around, I don’t have a lot of friends anyway, except all of you guys. So I’ll just be using the wall right now. Let’s start with a
simple isometric exercise for a straight punch. Let’s say we wanna make our punch stronger at specific ranges. We’re gonna start in the hikite position. To make everything stronger in the hikite, we now apply resistance against the hikite in the position of a hikite. So, I stand against the
wall with my hikite, and all I do now is I
press against the wall, but I make sure to not push myself away. That’s why I need to
connect my whole body. I squeeze my butt, I
brace my abs, pelvic tilt, I pack my shoulders down, and I push against the wall. At the beginning, don’t go 100%. It is not necessary yet, unless you wanna do that later on. Let’s go 30 to 50% when we start. Remember those numbers. And then, only one to three seconds is enough for each repetition. But of course, you can
do several repetitions. And for this one, let’s
say you do 10 repetitions. So squeeze, squeeze, push, and relax. And squeeze, squeeze,
squeeze, push, and relax. And it might be difficult
to see under the gi, or over the gi, but I’m actually using my whole body and contracting every muscle,
every fiber of my being, not just the fist or the
hand or the arm, okay? So we move from the close range to a little bit further out, because imagine a full punch goes one, two, three, four. So we’re gonna use those four ranges to improve the overall
strength of the punch. So next would be, kind of like an uppercut position. Obviously, you can switch the stance. You can do a cat stance, zenkutsu-dachi, shiko-dachi, kiba-dachi, kosa-dachi, hiza-dachi, ippon-ashi dachi, the list goes on. It’s up to you. But for now, let’s just do a regular hip width apart, heiko dachi. And so same thing here, I push, push, push, push, push, push, three, two, one and relax, 30 to 50% intensity. And obviously you should
do this on both sides if you want equal strengths in your body. And if you have a weaker side, you can practice that even more. Moving on, after that, we go to 85% extension, which is “naname” 45 degrees, this type of punch, right? We’re almost at that final impact range. This is usually where you would hit and then you penetrate the target, which leads to the last and
fourth isometric position, which is the horizontal
fist, the “seiken” in Japanese. So we’ll go back to the third, 45 degrees. Push, push, push, push. Remember to align all your joints properly and relax, and repeat that
for the same amount of time. And then after that of course, you go to the last one, which is full extension. Make sure that you still have your shoulder down, elbow down. Also scapula, push in, not retracted, right? And push, push, push,
push, push and relax. Same principle. We just move from here,
to here, to here, to here, all the way out. And at each point we stopped for the isometric training. And then you can do that a
couple of cycles, if you want to and repeat on both sides. The principle is that, either you find an exercise that you feel that you wanna get stronger in. For example, the straight punch, here, maybe I feel that, this part, is where I’m weak, then I just practice that. Or maybe I feel like I
lacked power at this range, then I just practiced that. Or for example, let’s do a hook punch, over here, kagi zuki. A lot of injuries happen right here, shoulder pops, bam for example. So why not just practice
that, right there, and keep that isometric tension there. And then you can practice
with different positions like shoulder up, shoulder down, also head in different positions. Just try to play with your
own posture and alignment because everything affects the body. And you might be strong here, but once your face is here, you lose the strength, synergies in the body. Now moving on to the legs, we’re done with the arms. Shiko dachi, sumo stance or
kiba dachi, it’s up to you. Common problem here, is knees buckling in. So we’re gonna practice the
isometrics for the stance. And again, you could do
this with a friend as well. Your friend would be
standing on the opposite side and you would push your
knees against each other. So I’m gonna be pushing against the wall. I stand in a 45 degree here, and then I try to just push out against the wall by contracting my back, the muscles on… not my backup here, but
the back of my legs. So I push, push, push,
push, push and relax. And you might easily get cramps here. So take it easy in the beginning, don’t go 100%. And push, push, push,
push, push and relax. And then you might realize that you can gradually
increase the range of motion. So I might now move my back leg over here, instead, and then I try again. I push, push, push and so on. Until eventually, I might be able to stand almost flat against the wall doing that exact same exercise. And then I switch. So I face the wall and now I push against the wall inwards instead, here. Same concept but I’m
pushing in, instead of out. And again, you could do
this with a friend as well. So you would be pushing your
knees against each other and you could almost make it like a game, as if you’re trying to
disbalance each other, right… unbalance each other or do
it like take downs, okay? So we push, push, push, three, two, one and relax. Same concept like with the punch, straight punch, hook punch, it doesn’t matter. Whatever you wanna improve, isometrics will help you get strength in that specific joint angle or position. Then, one very common stance, that I wanna finish with, is the cat stance. Something that a lot of
people have problems with maintaining a low cat stance because they’re too weak
in this specific position, which is understandable because it’s not really a
common everyday position, right? So naturally you could do pistol squats. But that would improve
your overall strength in the complete range of motion of the pistol squat. Now, if you only wanna get stronger in this specific position,
of the cat stance, then that is the position
you should practice. How? Using isometrics. So the question is, how can I resist something in this plane of motion, in a cat stance position? Well, I could use my belt. So that’s what we’re
gonna do for the last one. Grab your belt like this and don’t do this in Japan because you’re not supposed
to step on your belt. But I’m gonna step on the belt and then cat stance. Can you see? Yes. And now from here, this is my belt, right? Goes behind me. I try to maintain a straight posture and all I do now is, I push against the belt. The belt provides the
resistance now, not the wall, but it could be a friend as well, who’s pushing me down or holding me down with his hands or arms. So again, and don’t use elastic bands because then, it’s not an
isometric exercise anymore. So here, and push, push, push, push. Now obviously, this leg right here, you could even have it in the air. You can have it like this or like that if you wanna
have a proper cat stance. But the focus now is on this leg here, which is the working leg. Let me switch to the
other one so you can see. Here, and push, push, push, push and relax. Again, same idea like before. And what you do then, is that you gradually
increase both the intensity, so from 30 to 50%, you might go higher, but also the duration and
the volume of the exercise. So you can go for more seconds and do it more times in essence. And that’s it for today. These are three very simple examples of how you can incorporate
isometric training, not just in the gym, but in your karate class. For example, different stages of the punch or this shiko dachi, like I did, or the cat stance like I just did. You could even do it in a… Let’s do a front stance, for example. This way, common problem with
the front stance is here. So I practice against the wall and then you might even
start doing punches or blocks with your arms. Can combine several ways
of resistance training at the same time. Anyway, that’s it for now. Train hard, good luck have fun.