The Isochain: A Great Invention for Optimal Isometric Training
The Isochain is a unique training device designed and developed to optimize isometric training for strength building. As Ill discuss in this article, IMHO every serious strength athlete can derive significant benefit from training with this equipment.
Any product that I recommend is something that I have been using in my own training for a long time. I pre-ordered my Isochain back in 2019 while the original batch were still being manufactured. When it arrived, I began using it in my home gym. Since that time I have used it consistently in my own power training.
In my view some of the best things about the Isochain are:
- It allows you to do a whole-body isometric workout while putting out max force in multiple positions.
- A unique feature is a digital read out of the force you are generating in each exercise.
- You can go from one isometric exercise position to another by changing the length of the chain attached to the foot plate.
- The device can be stored in a tiny space. It would be ideal for use in a studio apartment.
- There is minimal chance of injury since you are never handling a heavily loaded barbell in a difficult position.
The device consists of a metal plate on which you stand when using the device. A chain attaches to the foot plate and spring using carabiners. A handle attaches to the chain. The digital sensor of the force produced is in the handle.
Reading the force produced is easy as the maximum value will be displayed until you hit the reset switch. This is important because you can maintain perfect pulling (or pushing) form and not have to try to glance at the digital read out.
You can use Isochain either for a complete strength workout, or to do assistance work that you would normally do with a barbell.
The lowest position is the start position for the deadlift. You set your feet (conventional deadlift) on the foot plate and pull as hard as you can for 5-6 seconds. The digital read out will tell you the amount of force you generated.
It wont surprise most of you to find that your second and subsequent pulls in each position will almost always seem to go up. You thought you were pulling with max effort, but surprise. You had more in reserve than you thought.
There are roughly 12 different positions where you can pull or push. To change positions, you detach the chain from the spring and re attach it at another position further along the chain.
Moving from one position to another can be made easier by purchasing additional carabiners at a hardware store and leaving them connected to the chain at the height you want for a given exertion. That way you never need to guess where to put the carabiner for a given exercise.
I have been using isometric training for strength building since the early 1960s. In my days as an Olympic style lifter I was amazed at how quickly isometric training at different positions in the lift built strength that was difficult to build in other ways.
As a powerlifter since the 80s I always used isometric training to build strength. In my view the biggest value of isometric training was to build strength at positions in the lift where I was having trouble. In other words, at the sticking points.
In the deadlift my main sticking point was just below the knees. Isometric pulls at that point helped a lot in overcoming that weakness.
In the squat I found isometric training deep in the hole and then at the transition point just above parallel to be extremely useful. With the Isochain you can do these exercises in the front squat position.
The Isochain can be a massive help in building up your pressing power from the standing position. Make no mistake, pressing strength in the standing position is vastly underappreciated these days.
As I said above, you can use the Isochain for a complete strength workout or use it as part of your workout. Either way, IMHO you get a lot of value.
This is a device that is built to last for decades. You will probably use it hundreds (if not thousands) of times.