Saturday, August 11, 2012

Circuit Training - Isometrics

For the past few weeks I've been going to a new class called "Circuit Pump".  It's on Thursday nights after cycle so I'm at the gym for two classes.  While cycle is all cardio, circuit is all strength so the two actually complement each other quite well and I don't get over-tired.  It's also the same instructor - Sam - so the first class sort of flows naturally into the second.  By the end of the night I've gotten an amazing full-body workout and it hardly feels like I've been there for over two hours!

For anyone who's never taken a circuit class, the way it works is there are stations set up around the room.  Some circuit classes might be all cardio, some all strength, some a mix of both.  As I said, this class is all strength.  You spend one minute at each station with a very short break as you move to the next.  Once you get through all the stations you have a one minute rest and then you repeat.  In Sam's class we go through 3 times and then do 10 minutes of abs all together at the end.

This week he had us do isometrics, which are static holds rather dynamic movements.  For example, instead of doing squats for a minute we held a squat position.  Instead of doing push-ups we held a low push-up position.  Instead of doing tricep dips we lowered down halfway and held it.  You get the idea.  We used our own body weight for some of the exercises and for some we used a weight, a band, or a stability ball.  

It was an extremely challenging class, especially by the time we hit the stations for the third round.  My muscles were shaking trying to make it to one minute and there were a couple, like the push-up and tricep holds, that I wasn't even able to hold the whole time! Isometrics isn't something that you want to do too often but it's a great way to shake up your strength training every once in a while.

Do you do isometric exercises in your strength training?

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