Whenever we think of exercises with weights our minds immediately go to a bicep curl, a tricep extension or even a chest press. Most likely it’s something that involves either a flexion or extension of the muscle. However, when it comes to building new muscles we’re here to argue that the benefit of static movement, or a hold, far outweighs traditional curls and lifts.
Let us put it into perspective for you. You may easily be able to do an overhead press with a twenty pound dumbbell in each hand. However, try holding that position for a few seconds. We are pretty sure you will be worn out rather quickly. The intensity of a static movement increases endurance, promotes muscle tone and muscle strength. We also love static contraction training because it can be done in a short amount of time. Even if you only have twenty to thirty minutes to spend at the gym, you could work every major muscle group in this time. For more statistics on the benefits of static movement check out this article.
HOW TO PROPERLY PERFORM THESE MOVEMENTS:
Each hold should be between 15 – 30 seconds. It’s important to think about how much weight you can safely hold for this amount of time. If you don’t feel anything in this short period of time you need to go heavier!
Perform each hold three times. Take a one to two minute break between each hold.
Remember shaking is ok. My favorite yoga teacher always told me that, “Shaking muscles are changing muscles.” Embrace the shake! This is your muscle fibers sharing the load of the weight and rapidly firing. Shake, baby, shake!
Static movements can be performed with weights or even your own body weight. Think about going half-way down on a push-up and holding, versus completing the entire up and down motion. Similar with a bicep curl, think stopping right at that point where your biceps are completely engaged – when your upper arm and elbow form a ninety degree angle.
By limiting range of motion you increase intensity in one set muscle group. Your muscles fatigue quickly but the body adapts, therefore those same muscle fibers come back stronger the next time. Don’t know where to start? We’ve put together a couple examples, pictured here, of great static movements to get you going. Remember you should feel like you are pushing yourself but should never be in pain. If something doesn’t feel right, stop and readjust. Also utilize mirrors to check your form. Now, don’t hold back, hold the weight, transform your muscles and get stronger!
Cat and Lauren are two best friends who started The Resource Girls to encourage and empower women to be themselves! We’re two girls who survived our twenties as strong, successful, independent women in this crazy world. We blog about fashion, fitness, finance, food and friendship but most of all loving ourselves and embracing who we are. Connect with Cat and Lauren at www.theresourcegirls.com, Twitter, and Instagram.
Photo Credit: Daniel Hayward