What We Can Learn From About Strength Training from Frog Legs and Isometric Exercises

Some people may be skeptical about the results gained from doing isometric exercises, but I’ll tell you, if done properly, you’ll notice a change in your physique and physical strength.

Isometric exercises have been used for rehab for a while. In fact, Rutgers University’s CareCure Forum has posts about isometrics and rehabilitation. For anyone interested in how isometric exercises work, I read about an experiment on the BodyWeight Exercise Blog that took place in 1920. Scientists at Springfield College in Springfield Massachusetts ran an experiment where they took a number of frogs and tied up one of their legs, completely immobilizing it. The frog could only move one leg free, and couldn’t move the other one at all. They wanted to see the effects of atrophy on the boung leg.

Surprisingly, after two weeks, the bound legs had grown stronger and larger.  So much so that the frogs now actually jumped in a lopsided fashion. The researchers had actually made an incredible discovery concerning isometric training, but they simply didn’t realize it. Apparently, by binding the leg, the frogs had to use all of their muscles right down to their deepest fibers to try to move their leg. In contrast, it only took a small percentage of the frog’s muscle fibers to move the free leg.

Although isometric exercises don’t typically have a large range of motion, when the muscle is exerted continuously and vigorously, it will grow stronger and larger than doing a fluid, repetitive motion that relies on momentum (imagine a bicep curl done while swinging the dumbbell up and down). Strength and mass is achieved by working the muscles intensely and deeply.

Now that you know why isometrics are so effective, check out these posts to learn how to overhaul your “regular” strength training routine with isometric exercises and plyometrics.

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2 Comments Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. I like your site. Plyometrics can be an amazing exercise as well. When I used to play basketball, I started doing plyometrics to increase my vertical leap (I’m very white and couldn’t jump over the foul line). It really helped give my legs explosive power and really helped my vertical (still couldn’t do an honest dunk though, sigh).

    I plan on checking in again from time to time. Keep up the good work!

    – Dave

  2. Glad I stumbled across you site, good stuff. I think isometric exercises are underrated but I can’t tell you how many times I have plateaued on a max, then worked gone back to isometric exercises and busted through. My first strength coach would find my weakness in the range of motion of each major lift and then brutalize me on a regular basis with weighted isometrics for that specific range.

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