Developing Strength through Pausing: The Power of Isometrics
Katelyn Sander

Developing Strength through Pausing: The Power of Isometrics

Living Well...together, while apart

If you blinked this weekend and suddenly realized tomorrow is a brand new month I bet you’re not alone. These are strange times and times passes in strange ways. And while we look forward in anticipation of vaccines and days when the restrictions are lessened and ultimately gone, remember to slow down and live in the moment. There is always so much to be gained from being mindful. Taking a deep breath and pausing for a moment is a powerful practice. Especially when it comes to getting stronger.

There’s lots of amazing ways of getting stronger. One of the most effective and transformative ones – both in relation to being able to lift better AND lead a more fulfilling life – is training your end ranges.

Typically, you are beautifully strong at the beginning and throughout 85-95% of your usable range. That is your limb, joint, part of your body has the ability to be passively extended into various ranges, but your muscles and nervous system can only control a certain extent of that movement. So, under load – you can only reach so far.

Training that additional 5-15% of motion will tap into huge reservoirs of strength potential and can drastically increase your mobility. Remember the difference between flexibility and mobility. This is exploring more of exactly that phenomena: Flexibility being 100% of your range. Mobility being that 85-95%.

Try standing up straight and raising one bent leg in a controlled manner as high as it can go. This is your active range of motion. But try swinging it, or having someone else support the lift a little higher, and guess what? You can actually move your leg higher – gain more hip flexion – than you think. But not without help. The challenge is, since we don’t often use the full extent of even that 85-95%, we may be constantly losing our mobility, our ability to access and control our full range.

Which doesn’t support optimal lifting or living.

One of the easiest, most effective and safest ways of increasing your active range is through isometrics.

Try raising your knee up towards your chest again. When you reach the highest point where you can hold it, press both hands down into your thigh with only about 5 lbs of pressure for 5 seconds. Release. Repeat 3-5 times. See if you can now go a little bit higher. Repeat the exercise again. You now have slightly more hip flexion that you did before. If you now head right away into your leg workout, you will periodically access that extra range, illicit new neuromuscular activation within that range, and increase your strength potential.

We can also use training to protect the range that we have. Ensure the weights you are using are light enough that you can control through the entire range of any given exercise. Or don’t use any weight at all! Pause at the end point of each exercise for 2-3 seconds to ensure you can really control what is typically the hardest part of the lift. The weight will suddenly feel quite a bit heavier. You likely won’t be able to do quite as many. And you are getting so much stronger!

Suddenly a few more things are just within reach.

Today’s Inspiration

“Dare to reach your hand into the darkness.  Pull another hand into the light.” - Norman B. Rice

Today’s Live Workouts

Happy Monday! Ready to get moving to start your week off right? We’ve got TWO classes on the schedule for today!


Join Robert S today for a Total Body Conditioning workout! Challenge your cardio and strengthen your muscles from head to toe with this incredibly effective no-nonsense bodyweight training.

No equipment needed today.

Join Robert at 12:00pm (30 minutes) from your own living room.

Click here to join the workout.

Meeting ID: 864 5295 2847
Password: 991724


Join Robert Y today for our new Yoga Fusion workout! A combination of hatha, ashtanga, and kudalini yoga techniques. This class will engage your muscles, open your joints, calm your mind, and lift your spirits. (All levels)

No equipment needed today.

Join Robert at 5:15pm (45 minutes) from your own living room.

Click here to join the workout.

Meeting ID: 899 4248 0739
Password: 624126


Click here to view our weekly schedule.

If you have questions about our virtual live workouts, please reach out to Lauren.

Today’s Trainer Moves

Join me for a few examples of how you can use isometrics to increase your active range and then reinforce that little bit extra to give you a little more reach.

For questions about today’s Trainer Moves, you can connect directly with Meg here.

Today’s Bite

Sweet Pea Risotto

As we welcome the first day of March, we’re looking ahead to the official start of spring. And while we wait we wanted to break out some spring recipes to help get us in the right frame of mind. Including this creamy risotto recipe, full of spring’s finest greens, and perfect for vegetarians and carnivores alike.


  • 4 oz Parmesan cheese, with rind
  • 2 cups pea pods (peas removed) or 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 lb peas, thawed if frozen
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 medium shallot, sliced
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 cup pea shoots
  • 1 tbsp olive oil


  • Grate Parmesan into small bowl and set aside; transfer rind to small pot. Add pea pods (or 1 cup frozen peas) and 5 cups water; bring to a boil, then simmer 10 minutes. Strain, discard solids, and return pea stock to pot; keep warm on low. In blender, puree 1 cup each peas and pea stock until smooth.
  • Melt 2 tablespoons butter in large saucepan on medium. Add shallot and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until tender, about 2 minutes.
  • Add rice and cook, stirring to coat and toast, about 5 minutes. Add wine and simmer until nearly evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Add stock, 3/4 cup at a time, stirring often until nearly absorbed before adding more. Stir in pea puree and simmer until rice is nearly tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in remaining peas.
  • Remove risotto from heat. Finely grate zest of lemon squeeze juice from 1 lemon half into risotto, then stir in grated Parmesan and remaining 2 tablespoons butter.
  • Squeeze juice of remaining lemon half into bowl; toss with pea shoots, olive oil, and salt and pepper, to taste. Serve over risotto.


Do you have a “Something of the Day” you’d like us to share?! Email Meg.

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