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Static Contraction Training

Static Contraction training was brought to the public's eye by Tony Robbins in his Get The Edge program. I have used a variation of it for several years and I love it. It works particularly well for me because of the challenges I face from my arthritis.

My variation is doing 4 one rep sets per exercise instead of 1.

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TWENTY YEARS OF EXPERIENCE BOILED DOWN TO ONE BLOG POST

by Pete Sisco - Co-Author of Static Contraction

The first time I lifted weights with any serious intention whatsoever was in 1992 at the age of 33. Before that I did what most people do and just wandered blindly from one machine to the next and banged out enough reps to get the target muscles tired. I never truly exerted myself. I’m sure we’ve all seen this in the gym, just look at 99% of the people exercising and none of them is treating it like a life or death struggle to reach a new peak of exertion. They work out like they wash their car or drink a cup of coffee – casually and with zero passion or purpose.

The ‘ah-ha moment’ for me came when I learned about the role of intensity in causing muscle growth. It’s one of those things that makes perfect sense. A skinny guy can lift 100 pounds one time, a guy with bulging muscles can lift 400 pounds one time. Fine. We understand that big muscles can lift more. But the skinny guy can rest a bit and lift 100 pounds four times. So he also lifted a total of 400 pounds. Why isn’t he as strong? Why aren’t his muscles as big? It’s obvious. He took more time to lift 400 pounds than the big guy took. So muscle building isn’t just about what you can lift, it’s equally about how much time it takes you to lift it. And that, my friends, is the definition of intensity. Yet everybody – and I mean everybody – in the gym was completely ignoring the time side of the equation. So what if you did three sets of twelve reps with 265 – how long did it take you, Pal? Without knowing the time there is no way to know how intense it was compared to the last workout or the next workout.

Once I saw that with total clarity the next twenty years were about measuring intensity. The Power Factor measurement came first. It measured pounds per minute. Simple. Bench press a total of 6,200 pounds in two minutes and your bench press Power Factor was 3,100 pounds per minute. That was the intensity of your output. The skinny guy always has a lower Power Factor number than the guy with huge muscles. Makes perfect sense. But the more important thing is always the next workout. If you want to force your body to make bigger, stronger muscles you have to increase your intensity. So next time you bench press you need to have a Power Factor intensity of 3,150 or 3,300 or 4,000 lbs/min or whatever you can muster. In this universe there is no room to debate this issue, it’s well established; it always takes more muscle power to lift 8,000 pounds in two minutes than it does to lift 7,500 pounds in two minutes. Always. (Yes, assuming the distance is the same. Which it always is with the Power Factor workout.)

Next came the knowledge that very, very brief exercise could still trigger muscle growth. That was the birth of Static Contraction training that measured intensity in seconds rather than minutes. We started with 30-second holds. They worked. So we did 20-second holds. They worked. So we did 10-second holds. They worked too. Finally, we tested 5-second holds and, not surprisingly, they generated the highest intensity per second because you can always hold a heavier weight for five seconds than you can for ten seconds. The absolute highest intensity we could reliably measure with barbells and stopwatches was 5-second static holds. And boy, did that build muscle! It also absolutely minimized the wear and tear on the body that older people like me have to take into consideration. There has never been a more efficient way to build muscle and reduce the repetitive wear and tear of weightlifting. The only thing that will improve Static Contraction training will be the machine that measures output to the millisecond to determine every individuals optimum rep duration.

ABOUT STATIC CONTRACTION

The Static Contraction program calls for doing one repetition through a small range of motion in your strongest and safest range of motion. You increase the weight you lift regularly, sometimes every time. 

There is some really good science behind the program. For me, it has eliminated injuries because of the small range of motion used. It makes sense that you can hold the heaviest weight at the end of the range of motion where you are the strongest.

I have adapted the original program for my own tastes and preferences however I still follow the general principles explained in this book.

The Static Contraction program calls for doing one repetition through a small range of motion in your strongest and safest range of motion. You increase the weight you lift regularly, sometimes every time. 

There is some really good science behind the program. For me, it has eliminated injuries because of the small range of motion used. It makes sense that you can hold the heaviest weight at the end of the range of motion where you are the strongest.

I have adapted the original program for my own tastes and preferences however I still follow the general principles explained in this book.

"This is truly an incredible discovery that could cause physiology books to be rewritten." -- Ironman Magazine "A thorough, productive weight workout in less than three minutes? You better believe it! Larger muscles. Stronger techniques. Fewer injuries. What more do you want?" -- Martial Arts Training Magazine From bodybuilding and fitness pioneers Peter Sisco and John R. Little comes this revolutionary guide to building maximum muscle size and strength--using workouts that last as little as two minutes! Based on the authors' groundbreaking new research, Static Contraction Training reveals how a program consisting of only six 15- to 30-second exercises per workout will build muscle size and strength more efficiently than any other method. Learn first hand the concepts that are revolutionizing bodybuilding, including:

  • Why training more than once a week--or longer than five minutes--can compromise your progress
  • How to stimulate maximum muscle mass
  • Nutritional fact vs. fiction
  • Gaining muscle without fat

Your weak link and how to overcome it in your next workoutThe "law" that guarantees you huge muscle growth Whether you are a weekend athlete, beginning bodybuilder, or champion, the information in this book will forever change the way you view bodybuilding and strength training exercise. Peter Sisco is editor of Ironman Magazine's Ultimate Bodybuilding series and co-author of Power Factor Training and The Golfer's Two-Minute Workout. John R. Little, the innovator of the Static Contraction Method of strength training, is the editor of the Bruce Lee Library Series and co-author of Power Factor Training and The Golfer's Two-Minute Workout.