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extreme isometrics | Evolutionary Athletics

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  • Alex 12:44 am on November 11, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: extreme isometrics   

    Extreme Isometric Videos 

    There has been a ton of inquiry on how to perform some of the extreme isometric positions.  I found a site on youtube whic covers the technique of some of the positions for you.  Kep in mind he calls them extreme slow but they are extreme isometrics.  Enjoy

    Extreme Isometric Wall Squat

    Extreme Isometric Lunge

    Extreme Isometric Leg Curl- Use in place of Glute Ham Raise

    Proper Glute Ham Performance

    I hope seeing these videos helps explain the proper positioning and performance of the extreme isometric positions.  For the extreme isometric glute ham raise try to recreate the cues that Chris Korfist gives in his excellent video.  Pull up with the low abs, Fire the glutes to keep the hips locked.  Jold at 45 degrees.



    • Ben 11:46 pm on November 11, 2009 Permalink

      Jay Schroeder talks about extreme iso pushup and extreme iso scap pullup…also what is the extreme iso standing hamstring?

    • evosite 12:08 am on November 12, 2009 Permalink

      the push up is held with your hands elevated and letting your chest sink between your hands. For example on a bench. You hold at the bottom of the push up position and pull yourself down using the muscles that would execute a row.

      The scap pull up is hanging from a pull up bar and pushing away from the bar. Like you are performing a shoulder press using your delts and traps. Push away as hard as possible.

      The standing hamstring is in an rdl position with your knees soft and back in NEUTRAL. Pull down with your hip flexors, keeping the back neutral and knees soft. Cross your arms and test your head in your arms.

      Hope this answers your questions,


    • titouflouis 1:46 am on November 12, 2009 Permalink

      hey Alex,

      when I saw the article title in your newsletter, I thought I would finally understand what’s behind extreme iso. Unfortunately, your article is only showing videos of good postures (I appreciate though), but nothing consistent about what behind extreme iso.

      I know the research on them is still lacking, but I’d appreciate if you could write an article about the science behind them.

      I still don’t get why being immobile can help us be faster, jump higher and be more explosive in our DYNAMIC sports.

      I know you wrote a fancy article, about the fascia being developed by extreme iso, and then being more elastic due to plyo training.

      What are your thoughts about all those?

      Thanks in advance.


    • brandon green 12:16 am on November 18, 2009 Permalink


      Do extremely slow lifts have any of the same benefits?
      Brandon Green

    • evosite 9:41 pm on December 4, 2009 Permalink

      Hi Brandon,

      I had a very busy November and apologize for responding so late.

      Actually Jay Schroeder said in his most shocking interview that extreme isos are extremely slow movements, so yes they have the same benefits.


  • Alex 10:55 pm on October 23, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , extreme isometrics, ,   

    Foundational Exercise for Plyometric Workouts 

    We all know that there are significant benefits of performing plyometric exercises.  Increases in speed strength, explosive strength, reactive ability, muslce stiffness, on the field performance to name a few.  In the past it has been said that one must improve their squat numbers to 1.5x body weight before engaging in plyometric exercises.

    More recently strength coach Jay Schroeder has flipped this equation upside down by insisting that you must be able to absorb force before you can create force.  Coach Schroeder uses a variety of plyometric exercises to teach the body how to absorb force.  Thusly it appears that he thinks that one should engage in plyometric exercise before moving into force production (DE and ME weifhtlifting)

    Now to hop around.  Don’t worry I will circle back by the end of the post so that this makes sense.

    Recently I was reading an issue of Men’s Health (I know, everyones resource for cutting edge information).  Well what struck me about this issue and prompted me to plop down my $5 for a copy was an article titled something like “Everything you know about your muscles is wrong”.  Surely I am not wrong.  Am I?

    Well the premise of the article is simple.  Your muscles are inclosed in sheaths of connective tissue (myofascia).  It was previously thought that these sheaths just connected the muscles together.  Research in the past few years has lead to a discovery that these sheaths contain neural organs and nerves.  This has lead to the concept that maybe the stretching and releasing of elastic tension in the sheaths is a major controller in how we move.  Perhaps these sheaths act not just as passive movers but primary movers.  The authors also note that when the myofasica tightens up that knots can form and proper movement patterns are impaired.  These movement impairments can be eliminates with finding the source of the impairment (it’s not always where the pain is) and then breaking it up through massage or various movement patterns.  In the article they mantion a simple leg circle drill that increases range of motion in the hamstring.  This kind of reminded me of Z-Health drills (not enough time to talk about this)

    Anyone who knows about the works of Wannagetfast and inno-sport, and even Schroeder, knows that they place a heavy emphasis on movement efficiency.  For example in running, movement efficiency is associated with running economy where the runners learn to rely more heavily on the elastic contributions of connective tissue.  If trained properly this tissue can absorb and release a tone of energy which translated to a faster, more explosive athlete.  So how do we develop this ability, or even improve on our own natural myofascia?

    Perhaps the answer lies in LDISOS or Extreme Isometrics.  Here is my thinking…

    The holds are done in the stretch position.  This stretch should break up any myfascial knots allowing for free, unrestricted active ranges of motion.  Holding the stretch not onnly breaks up the knots BUT also serves as a teaching mechanism.  Since the stretch position is held vor a pretty long time (5 minutes is far longer than most static stretches are held for) and the myofascia has neural receptors it can communicate to the CNS that this myofascial neural length is OK, thus preventing the buildup of knots and scar tissue.  In addition since the  holds are active, there is constant communication with the CNS.

    In addition to alleviating compensation patterns there is another potential benefit.  That being the build up of MORE myofascia.  Research has shown that connective tissue synthesis occurs when lactic acid levels are the highest.  Well in a LDISO blood flow is restricted for a very extended period of time.  Without oxygen the muscles rely on anaerobic metabolism with which lactic acid build up is a by product.  There is far more LA build up during LDISOS that what is attained normally thoguh weight training because blood flow is restricted.  This sends a powerful signal to the body to build more connective tissue.  And since the tissue is being stretched the odds are the new tissue will be void of knots, scar tissue, and any other imparments.

    All of this extra myofascia is akin to placing a giant spring inside of your muscles.  Unfortunately this tissue, when built, tends to be quite non-elastic.  So how can we take this new development and make it more elastic?  How can we teach it to efficiently absorb and release energy?


    See, in Schroeders system athletes begin with LDISOS before they move into plyos.  They must hold for 5 minutes for 40 consecutive sessions.  This may be the ammount of tome Jay has deemed necessary to rid the body of compensation patterns and stimulate the development of enough myofascia to commence training.  Of course inelastic tissue is more prone to inury so You would prime the tissue with reactive work to teach the tissue to become more elastic.  Once this is done (fixed compensation, development of adequate connective tissue, trained the tissue to absorb and release energy) the athlete begins weight training to put some horsepower in their muscles so that they can use the new springs even more effectively.

    Now that I have circled back, the article in the magazine went into this old kettlebell stuff and some of Pavel’s teachings which, while interesting, are far from cutting edge now days.

    Hopefully I have stimulated some braincells in you.  If yu are interested in football weight training, basketball weight training, or plyometric workouts, the addition of LDISOS may be benefit your program.

    Until next time,


    • Jack Woodrup 2:58 am on October 24, 2009 Permalink

      Hi Alex

      Another great article. I love your writing style – it encourages people to think about what you are saying rather than take it as pure black and white gospel truths. This can only benefit the athlete’s education in the long run.

      Great Stuff


    • evosite 3:17 am on October 24, 2009 Permalink


      Glad you liked the article and thanks for the kind words. Hopefully these articles and pod casts encourage people to think and generate some good dialogue.


    • titouflouis 7:21 am on October 24, 2009 Permalink

      Hi Alex,

      yeah your article is brain stimulating, but is it necessary true ?

      What Coach Schroeder believes sounds like a complete U-turn compared to the general tendency in the performance sport (vertical jumping, explosiveness and speed) industry.

      Does that mean he is necessary wrong ? Maybe not. But does it mean that he is leading a revolution in performance training, I think it is a little bit too easy and too early to do that.

      The role of myofascia seems really too obscure yet to be able to built a whole training program on it. Especially when the “scientific” source is Men’s health… No credibility.

      So now, how can you make us believe that the whole Extreme Iso – Plyo – Weights training program is no scam ?

      Well first of all, I think I (we) need to know what’s behind those Extreme Isos. Maybe I could google it and spend hours finding out by myself, but that’s not how it works : any article should show the sources it relies on – the bibliography.

      Here are the few questions I am asking myself : why train statically when all our sports involve dynamic patterns ? Isn’t it training endurance when it’s explosiveness that is needed ?

      Are there any scientific research done on extreme Iso that shows it’s efficiency (for example a well-conducted comparison with complex training)?

      This is by no means a direct attack, I am just eager to learn more and more everyday since I am a curious person.

      I hope this will start up the discussion you were waiting for.


    • evosite 5:36 pm on October 24, 2009 Permalink


      Excellent, I wanted some discussion.

      To be fair, this article was intended to provoke discussion. The points i made regarding LA, development of connective tissue, and the relative in-elasticity of the tissue and such are valid and supported by science. The claims about LDISO training are PURE speculation.


      Because I am trying to figure all this stuff out for myself.

      Remember Jay said these are ALL ANYONE NEEDS. If a successful coach feels strongly about a method then why not experiment with it.

      The points I made in my podcasts about LDISOS are entirely anecdotal. I did train probably 60 athletes in the past year while using LDISOS. I merely reported my findings and the results I’ve seen. Take it for what it is worth.

      I have explained the benefits I’ve seen and I do think that they make an excellent GPP program where the aim is mobility, work capacity, and getting the body to move properly. As these results I have seen personally. I have not seen an athlete gain significant amounts of power by using these methods solely.

      There are NO published studies on LDISO training so while Jay makes crazy claims (they are all you need to do) some of us are experimenting with them and reporting our results, good or bad.

      Also in the words of Charlie Francis: By the time studies prove something to work coaches have known about it for over 10 years.

    • Mark 3:11 am on November 6, 2009 Permalink

      You mentioned Z-Health above. What are your thought about it other than very expensive.

    • brandon green 11:45 pm on November 16, 2009 Permalink


      Great article. Execllent explanation.
      Would it not be true that from the very moment one builds the “inelastic” connective tissues he should be doing some form of “plyos” to make the tissue more elastic? and are 5minute holds some holy grail?
      What about 5 one minute holds?
      Brandon Green

    • BB 10:24 pm on December 6, 2009 Permalink

      I conducted a 3 week study on iso extremes comparing a training group with a control group, finding little positive adaptation in terms of strength and power. Data was not published.

    • evosite 1:47 am on December 7, 2009 Permalink


      I appreciate the comment, your results are very interesting and fall inline with what I have seen. Personally I do not see their value in improving maximal strength, power, or reactivity but rather laying a proper foundation for those qualities to be built upon (proper movement patterns, increases in connective tissue). Our athletes who have gone through a 3-4 week GPP block with extreme isos tend to progress faster when more traditional methods are introduced than those who have not. Their strength improves faster and when plyos are introduced they become springy really quickly.

      For example when I retaught the squat, lunge, ghr, rdl, bench, and chin up to my cross country team we did paused reps. We really focused on not arching and staying neutral thus using the core to stabilize the spine and allow for the prime movers (limbs) to generate movement and not the spine. This is real tough to do. How many of us were taught to arch hard when squatting. Read the WSB stuff and everything as about a hard arch and not staying neutral but in lordosis. We used VERY light weights and in six weeks time we progressed from paused reps to regular reps. We had 3 cross country guys jump 30 inches while concurrently running about 60 miles a week!!

      This showed me the importance of proper movement. Now no one will argue with this and some will wonder if I coached the lifts wrong. Yes I did. Every bench and squat article tells you to arch. This is fine if you are training powerlifters but we are training athletes and our only goal is to get them to move better (efficiency, reducing injury, improving power). All of this is built on moving well. I realized from this experiment that I could use isos in the beginning to teach the proper positioning that I want for all of our lifts and via the TUT the motor learning that takes place will go through the roof. Then when we get into squatting, running, and jumping the proper movement will come quicker.

      I know I have written a lot about them and I am sure this has lead people to think that this is all we do. On the contrary. We tend to use them in a preparatory capacity as mentioned above (4 weeks) and get away from them to commence more traditional training. Also it should be of note that we have not seen any differences between 5 minutes straight of holding and 5×60 seconds. We do use some static holds in the warm up or cool down later depending on what we need. The warm up would be more activation (glute bridge), cooldown would be more in a stretch position (RDL/ Bulgarian split squat) for mobility, and recovery. When we use isos in this manner we are only holding for 30-60 seconds.

      I have written so much about them because of a couple reasons:
      1. Jay Schroeder uses them extensively
      2. People wonder why
      3. I have had the luxury of working with hundreds of athletes and have conducted many “experiments” as you did
      4. I have seen the benefits that I mentioned above: they progress in strength, power, and reactivity faster than athletes who do not go through a prep phase with them.

      I DO NOT think they are a magic bulletor that by themselves they will lead to elite performances. They are a great teaching tool and lay a solid foundation for athleticism to be built on but other methods need to be incorporated to make an elite athlete.

      Thanks again and I hope this clears up any confusion about how and why we use them and the results we have seen.


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