Isometrics are not often used in specific strength and conditioning sports. Because most sports are dynamic in nature, isometrics are not obvious to the eyes and therefore untrained.
In MMA, isometrics can add another element to your game that can help you subdue your opponent, escape submission, or achieve dominance, whether standing or on the ground.
For example, if you get caught in an arm bar and your opponent doesn’t lock you up right away, you have some time to get away. How long you have depends on your ability to keep your arm flexed with your biceps while trying to move your body so that your arm is in a safe position.
Another example is when you have a locked triangle. Subduing an opponent with a triangle is not an easy task, so you need to have the ability to keep your knees tightly clenched for an extended period to tire your opponent and get him to touch.
One last example is in the clinch. When you are hitting side to side with an opponent or have only one leg, you have to keep your arms in a certain position against their body weight, this is isometric in action.
So how do isometrics train in the gym?
My favorite way to do it is throwing isometrics in the middle of a series. That would mean that if you are doing 12 reps of an exercise, after the 6, you do an isometric hold in the middle of the range of motion and then finish the set.
Or you can break it up into thirds, so you can do a 5-second isometric hold after the 4th rep, the 8th rep, and at the end of the set.
But let me warn you: this method is difficult and burns, which makes it a great method to train mental toughness at the same time.
Here are 3 of my favorite exercises to use isometrics:
1) Inverted row
- Hang under a bar with your feet on a Swiss ball so that your body is parallel to the floor
- Hold when your elbows are at 90 degrees
- Do your standard push-up or put your feet on a ball for an added challenge
- Hold at 90 degrees of elbow flexion.
3) Leg curl on Swiss ball with knee grip
- For this one, you need a soft ball for children.
- Put it between your knees and for the entire set of push-ups, squeeze the ball as hard as you can.
So now you have 3 exercises and a new method to build your MMA strength and conditioning. Put them in your exercise routine and you’ll be taking advantage of people when you would have given up before, and take your MMA game to the next level.