The Value of Isometric Training

There’s no better demonstration of the value of isometric (static) training than in the book The Spiritual Journey of Joseph L. Greenstein: The Mighty Atom by Ed Spielman. It happens during a chat between a young Joseph Greenstein (at the time he was named Yoselle, but you may know him better as “The Mighty Atom”) and a champion wrestler from India named Gama, who’s considered as one of the greatest wrestlers of the 20th century. Here’s how the conversation went:

“Gama, may I ask you something?”


“Your opponent was very big…”

“…and yet I threw him like a baby.”

“How?” Yoselle asked in wonderment.

“It’s really quite simple,” the Indian said good-naturedly. “In the Punjab, where I lived there was a large tree behind my house. Each morning I would rise up early, tie my belt around it, and try to throw it down.”

“A tree?” the boy marveled.

“For twenty years.”

“And you did it?”

“No, little one,” Gama smiled, “but after a tree…a man is easy.”

Take-Home Message: Whether you are pushing or pulling against an immovable object, pausing during any portion of a lift, or wrestling a large tree, isometrics can be quite effective. Make sure to use them regularly in your training.

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