Joints hurt when you work out? Well today’s post might help you out, so read on.

A static contraction is where you hold the weight (whether barbell or your body weight) in the same position for a set amount of time. Sounds easy and uncomplicated, right? Read on.

What makes this very interesting is that your static strength is much greater than your normal strength. For example, let’s say that for a bench press you might be able to press 100 lbs for one rep. With a static hold you could do somewhere between 130 and 200 lbs in a for 10-12 seconds. Some have claimed this leads to tremendous strength and size gains. I am not sure I am entirely convinced.
However, I do think static holds are a valuable tool in any fitness plan. You can use this technique in your at home (or at the gym) workouts. I have modified this concept for you guys- since I know many of you don’t have gym memberships or equipment at home. I have also tweaked it a bit to offer a couple different options. You can apply the options below to almost any exercise. For the sake of explanation, I am using the classic push-up as the example in all three options.

Assume the classic push-up position. Okay, now…

Option 1: Select one point in the range of motion- I would recommend either close to the top, the middle, or about two inches from the ground. Now get into that position and hold it for 10-20 seconds. That’s it. Repeat two or three times if desired. [This is great for folks who can’t do a complete push-up]

Option 2: Start at the top of the push-up position. Now lower your body about an inch every three to five seconds. Maintain complete control throughout this one rep. Adjust the speed to make it challenging.

Option 3: This is a modification of options 1 and 2. Instead of one motion down, feel free to move to any point in the range of motion. For example, let’s break the push-up range of motion into four segments- 1/4, 2/4, 3/4, and Full extension. Let me walk you through one possible scenario:

  1. Push up to the the 1/4 position (about 2 inches from the floor) and spend 5-10 seconds there.
  2. Push-up to a full extension.
  3. Drop back down to 1/2 position (half way up- fairly self-explanatory) and hold for 5-10 seconds.
  4. Push up to the 3/4’s position and hold for 5-10 seconds.
  5. Drop back down to the 1/4 position and hold for 15 seconds.

The potential combinations are limitless. You can also apply this to almost all of the 21 kinds of push-ups. So why not try it out today? Tell me how it went.

  1. mark says:

    The full-blown “static contraction” philosophy involves only strong-range work. A bench press hold is -much- more than the 200lbs mentioned above, pushups are out of the question as too light, and weights needed are much too heavy for safe home workouts. This system had been around for years now, but there don’t seem to be any exceptional athletes or bodybuilders claiming to be exponents, (nor even a decent handful of “before and after” photos of -anyone-). It may be a valid adjunct to full-range training, but the incredible claims, (made by those who stand to benefit financially), have yet to proven. Static contraction’s been used long enough now to fairly say that it’s been proven to be an inferior system, showing ‘results’ only within the system itself while offering little or nothing to athletic performance and lean mass gains.

  2. Thanks for the comment Mark…I too have doubts about the huge claims made by proponents for static contraction training.

  3. Mike says:

    You guys are amazing, You remind me of the type of people that definitely hinder progress in the world because your the…this the way we have always done it kind of people. People with nothing to gain are putting their testimonies on here because they have tried it. I have just started the system. I will see if it works for me. Until you know whether it works or not…don’t ruin the world with your inability to accept new ideas because your afraid of change. How annoying.

  4. “You guys are amazing”

    Who are you referring to? Mark? He is only one person and doesn’t qualify for “you guys.” So obviously you must be including me.

    Am I not allowed to have some doubts about any workout system that is advanced on the margins of fitness science lacking double-blind studies- or university studies of any kind to back-up its rather bold claims?

  5. Arthur says:

    I agree with the skeptics.

    This method has been around since 2003 or before.

    NO ONE is saying they got huge or that their 10 rep number is up on bench for example.

    I would suggest using it for one muscle group. Biceps perhaps before converting your whole workout and losing a month or more.

    A variation worth trying: Use on last rep. This way normal weight can be used. Less strain on joints.

    (There are injuries like rotator cuff only surgery can fix !)

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