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New Year, New Fitness? Isometrics can make that a reality for you

New Year Goals Isochain curl

Every January the same old faces show up at the gym, spinning their wheels for a few months until their motivation drops into the toilet, and they holler "sayonara" until next year. In fact, people fail in their New Year’s fitness goals so often, many coaches advise their clients to not even bother.

Here’s the democratic response.

Instead of quitting on your goals—why not try something new this year? What’s the something new, you ask? Glad you didn’t leave me hanging there, gorgeous. What’s new is scientific, measurable isometrics, using an Isochain. Isometrics is ancient, and has always worked. Being able to electronically measure, and improve, your isometric capacity is new.

I believe this equipment truly can help anyone reach their fitness goals—and here’s a few words on how. You want this to be the year you get it done? Read on, kiddo.

NEW YEAR GOAL #1: Fat Loss

This is the big one, right? This is the year we shed those unwanted rolls of blubber! Let’s go!

So—how do we do this? Well, getting to the gym and pumping that iron is a stock answer...but it might not be the right one.

Regular training methods are unlikely to result in long-term weight loss.(1) Resistance training, for many, actually stimulates the appetite. This is largely due to the stress hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline, that come flooding from the endocrine glands as a stress response when the body is damaged. This can be a problem—the average thirty-minute weights workout burns around 100 calories. That really isn’t very much, maybe half a bag of chips. The calories lost by working out are easily replaceable by a snack afterwards, and most people replace more than they lose. Sometimes, much more.

I’ve seen weight training add lard to the frame many, many times. I talked about this in Convict Conditioning. Lifting weights just seems to ramp up appetite over and above the calories it burns. Don’t believe the bullshit ripped models you see on Instagram, YouTube and whatever. These folks are generally either the outliers or the druggers (or both). The average weight lifter is a fairly dumpy type.

Isometrics does not cause the kind of cellular damage that weight training does, because the muscles aren’t lengthened under load.(2) In addition, even heavy isometrics don’t seem to "burn out" the nervous system(3) and—maybe as a result, maybe for other reasons—you don’t get this shocking ramping up of appetite. As a consequence, a sensible nutritional schedule is easier to follow, because you’re not ravenously hungry. Fat loss and isometrics have been proven to go hand in hand.(4)

Always have trouble shedding those pounds the conventional way? Try something new, this year. Something that works—isometrics.

NEW YEAR GOAL #2: Train More

This is another one, and I’m betting you’ve heard it, or maybe even said it yourself: no more procrastinating. This year I start to train consistently.

Remember this old line:
  1. What’s the best training routine?
  2. The one you actually do.
Yeah, it’s old and cheesier than hell. But it’s true, and you know it’s true. So let’s take a lesson from it, and start actually doing some goddam training, instead of thinking about it, watching YouTube videos about it, or reading about it on the can.

Isochain Calf Raises

Here’s another secret you already know: if you want to train more, your workouts have to be more inviting.

What do I mean by this? There are three main reasons we blow off training sessions:

  • one, because they are too long (a 45-minute slog with weights, ugh);
  • two, because they are too exhausting (feeling beat-up for the rest of the day and most of tomorrow? No thanks!);
  • and three, because they are too inconvenient (a 50-minute round trip just to get to the gym and back? In this weather? Screw it!).

Isometrics solves all these problems:

  • Isometrics sessions are the quickest resistance training programs(5) while retaining maximum efficacy for strength building.(6) You can get a very effective isometric session done in under 10 minutes.(7)
  • Instead of exhausting you and burning you out, isometrics leave you refreshed, because they don’t involve eccentric muscle damage or the Fenn effect—you recover faster from isometrics than for any other kind of resistance training.(8) You can even perform max sessions daily if you want, and still recover and grow.(9)
  • Isometrics with an Isochain are the most convenient kind of workout possible—you can train at home, and get scientifically measurable performance with equipment that is portable and has a footprint of under a square meter. Hell, you can train with an Isochain in a closet. (I’m looking at you, Tom Cruise.)
What can I say? If this is the year you’re serious about training and gaining for real, get an Isochain.


It’s not just older or beat-up athletes who care about feeling healthy, mobile and pain-free. Everyone should. But in the war between heavy iron and soft flesh, bone and cartilage, iron will always win. Always.

Seems like a catch-22—you need to grind out those heavy reps to stay in shape, but all those reps are actually adding up, whittling away your joints and making you weaker and stiffer in the long run.

What do you do?

Isometrics. The wear-and-tear caused by resistance training is caused by internal friction of soft tissues; tendon scrapes on bone, bone grinds on cartilage, and—eventually—bone crunches on bone. None of this happens with isometrics; once the soft tissues are conditioned, the internal abrasion that causes chronic joint pain reduces to near zero levels.

And a bonus—heavy isometrics will even reduce existing joint pain, perhaps better than toxic drugs.(10)

If this is the year you press reset on all that joint damage, isometrics has to be in your arsenal, beautiful.

NEW YEAR GOAL #4: Get Jacked

Is this the year you finally get some hot strength and muscle to go with that banging dress sense?

Yeah, I could link you to a bunch of studies that prove that isometrics can build a ton of power and muscle in double-quick time. I could also explain how isometrics increases the Hounsfield score of your muscles—that is, how it "tones" them, making them denser and iron-like.(11) But I’ve already done that plenty of times.

Instead, why not check out this article on how Chrys from NoLimitSquad—already an advanced lifter—multiplied his strength by 65% in just 30 days using an Isochain: How Chrys Johnson Increased His Strength by 65% in 30 Days — and Reduced His Pain —Using the Isochain
Chrys Johnson Isochain Deadlift HighDeadlift
Then, when you’ve read his article, watch his awesome videos. The man is a legend in modern isometrics.

NEW YEAR GOAL #5: Get Healthy

One last one here—in case you’re not convinced already.

After fat-loss and getting bigger and stronger, getting healthier is right up there in many New Year’s resolution lists. And why not? Let’s be on this spinning ball for a good time and a long time, am I right, brethren and sistren?

As well as the benefits listed above, isometrics have been proven to improve heart strength and normalize blood pressure—at least as well, or perhaps even better than blood pressure medications.(12)

It’s an old wives’ tale that isometrics are bad for your blood pressure. This myth started because your blood pressure rises during isometrics. (It also rises during all exercise, which is why you should get yourself checked out before a hard training program.) However, your blood pressure drops back to normal after you stop a bout of exercise.
Isochain Hip Lift
In fact, isometrics radically lowers high blood pressure.

How is this possible? Actually, the science is well understood. It’s due to something called the isometric response. When you perform an iso hold, you have to clench large sections of the body’s muscles for an extended period; this squeezes the veins and arteries running through those muscles ("mechanical constriction", the eggheads call it), so the heart has to pump harder to get blood around the body. This increased pressure in the blood vessels strengthens them, and the result is that—if you perform isometrics for as little as two weeks!—your circulatory system becomes measurably healthier. Even fairly light touch isometrics can normalize life-threateningly high blood pressure.(13)

In fact, isometrics is so powerful in improving circulatory health, researchers are now seriously exploring isometrics as a means to combat dementia in elderly patients.(14) Wow.

Want to add a few healthy years (or decades) to your life, starting this year? Get your hands on an Isochain, baby!

Lights Out!

Let’s finish with some exciting news for isometrics aficionados…

The basic advantages of isometrics—overall training efficiency, increased strength, muscle size and density, joint health, fat loss and cardiovascular benefits, etc., etc.,—are becoming increasingly well known, even by casual followers of strength and fitness. Those of you looking for a deeper, "black belt" course, are in for a treat.

Starting in 2022 the Dragon Door Research Group are putting together a comprehensive ten-part masterclass on the science and practice of isometrics, covering all the major concepts as well as the latest research and studies you need to know to become very, very well-informed on the coolest resistance training method around. We are calling this masterclass series of articles Infinite Isometrics: The Science Behind Static Training, and it’ll be available free, to all you wonderful Dragon Door followers.

Keep your eyes on us—it’s coming soon!

  1. Stensel, David John et al. "Role of physical activity in regulating appetite and body fat." Nutrition Bulletin41 (2016): 314-322.
  2. Weber, M. D. et al. (1994). "The Effects of Three Modalities on Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness." Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy, Nov; 20 (5)
  3. Jurgelaitiene, G. et al. (2021). "High-volume intermittent maximal intensity isometric exercise caused great stress, although central motor fatigue did not occur." Biology of Sport, 38(3), 315–323
  4. Petrofsky, J. et al. (2007). "Muscle Strength Training and Weight Loss from a Combined Isometric Exercise and Dietary Program." Journal of Applied Research, 7 (1)
  5. Atha, J. (1981). "Strengthening Muscle." Exercise and Sports Sciences Reviews, 9
  6. Verkhoshansky, Y. & Siff, M. C. (2009). "Supertraining." Chapter 4 (6th Edition)
  7. lbid.
  8. Talag, T. S. (1973). "Residual Muscular Soreness as Influenced by Concentric, Eccentric, and Static Contractions." Research Quarterly, Dec; 44 (4)
  9. Hettinger, T. (1961). "The Physiology of Strength."
  10. Rio E, Kidgell D, Purdam C, et al. (2015). "Isometric exercise induces analgesia and reduces inhibition in patellar tendinopathy." Br J Sports Med. 2015;49(19)
  11. Jones, D. A., & Rutherford, O. M. (1987). "Human Muscle Strength Training: The Effects of Three Different Regimens and the Nature of the Resultant Changes." The Journal of Physiology, Oct; 391
  12. Owen, A., Wiles, J. & Swaine, I. (2010). "Effect of isometric exercise on resting blood pressure: a meta analysis." Journal of Human Hypertension 24, 796–800
  13. Sandhu, J. S. et al. (2014). "Effect of Isometric Handgrip Training on Heart Rate and Arterial Pressure in Normotensive Individuals." Scholars Journal of Applied Medical Sciences, vol. 2
  14. Hess, N. C. L. & Smart, N. A. (2017). "Isometric Exercise Training for Managing Vascular Risk Factors in Mild Cognitive Impairment and Alzheimer’s Disease." Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 9: 48