There isn’t a respectable thought leader in strength and conditioning that will tell you he or she doesn’t like the benefit of isometrics. Naturally, some isometric holds are better than others and some are tougher to implement than others — but they’re important nonetheless.
We know the stereotypical nature of CrossFit makes including isometrics tough. Here are four easy ones to implement:
Any implement you press overhead, you can hold overhead for isometrics. The easy implementation here is to prescribe an overhead hold for a fixed amount of time (i.e., 20 seconds, etc.) amid strength work.
Isometric abs are vital and respected from CrossFit to powerlifting communities alike. One simple way to include them inside the Workout of the Day with quality and volume is to program multiple rounds (three plus) mini AMRAPs that begin with a plank hold (for, say, 60 seconds) only to move on to another movement or two. If the last movement in the short AMRAP is for max reps, we can easily blend quality, scalable isometric plank holds.
The classic Gym Jones workout that volleys between brutal rowing sprints and double kettlebell front-rack holds are remarkably challenging in both trunk stability and adversity to the breath. These types of holds are easy to implement during partner and team workouts as a place holder when another repped movement is the pacesetter.
These holds are stereotypically quite short but are used in powerlifting and weightlifting, respectively, as a means to prep the central nervous systems with super-maximal loads. Most commonly with the front squat and the back squat, you can easily have athletes take more than 100 percent of their lift out of the rack for a short hold to prep the system for future gains.
Isometric holds can be tricky to program in CrossFit, but they’re still very important. Start with these in your program and then get creative!