As boot camps, cross fit, and many other HIIT training methods continue to saturate the fitness industry, it is easy to get caught up in the “harder is better” mentality. The fore mentioned HIIT training techniques are great ways to to increase fitness and strength levels, but can also lead to injuries due to imbalances of tonic and phasic musculature. These injuries can often be relieved/prevented with the inclusion of isometric exercises into your routine.
Isometric exercises simply generate a force through the muscular system with out changing the length of the muscles. These isometric contractions strengthen the alpha motor response that initiate/sustain muscular contractions. Any given motor unit that does not receive an alpha response is likely to call on surrounding motor units to do its job. For example anyone doing a push up and experiencing back pain is likely missing the alpha motor response from the transverse abdominals (TVA).
When the TVA does not receive its signal, it asks the low back muscles to do its job, a job they are poorly equipped to perform and hence the production of pain. Isometric exercises increase the stability of the joint(s) that the involved musculature crosses. This increase in stability leads to an increase in force production and a decrease in the likelihood of injury. So try adding 20-30 minutes of isometrics 2-3 times per week into your current routine (even if you have to cut back on some of the dynamic movements for a while) and experience more strength and flexibility than ever before.
BS Exercise Science
CHEK Practitioner 2
Pierce Family Wellness