Justin Timmer is a student in human movement science and a fitness instructor. He was interested in exploring what he could do to increase his strength. Rather then starting with a typical strength training program Justin wanted to test if isometric muscle contraction alone could increase his strength. This type of exercise involves just squeezing the muscles without using any weight. He even went so far as to only target one side of his body so that he could test against his non-squeezing muscle groups. In this talk, presented at the 2014 Quantified Self Europe Conference, Justin explains his process and the results of this 4-week experiment.
What did you do?
For four week, I was “squeezing” (isometric contractions) my muscles four times a day. I trained my right leg, abdominals, and right chest and arm.
How did you do it?
During every quiet moment during the day I contracted my muscles as long and hard as possible. I quantified my progress by completing maximum repetitions on a fitness machine every week.
What did I learn?
I learned that in four weeks I almost doubled my force on the right side of my body. But I also learned that this training was going too fast, I got a lot of issues with little unexplained pains in my legs, and rising fluids whenever I contracted my abdominals. Overall I learnt this was a very effective training that was very easy to implement in my daily life.
You can also view Justin’s slides here.