In an earlier post, I wrote about how to feel Bruce Lee strong via Steve Justa isometrics.

The reason isometrics make you feel Bruce Lee strong is that you learn a tremendous degree of muscular control.

Muscular control makes you feel awesome. It makes you feel in control—and you are. In control of your body. When you walk, you feel every movement. You feel the nerve force all over your body. You’re ready to just spring into action.

Enough. Let’s talk about what embedded statics are.

Embedded Statics

Embedded statics are where you pause mid-rep for a period of time in various locations. The protocol as I learned it calls for four pauses in the negative portion of the rep.

The Pull Up Example – Embedded Static

If you’re doing an embedded static in the pull up here’s how it would work:

  1. Pull yourself up, chin over the bar. Pull yourself up quickly, but smoothly.
  2. Pause for five seconds with your chin over the bar. Use a metronome—not your own internal clock which is subjective and will likely get faster when the pressure is on.
  3. After five seconds, lower yourself to where your forehead is even with the bar. Spend five seconds in this position.
  4. After five seconds, lower yourself to 2/3 of the way down. Hold for five seconds.
  5. After five seconds, lower yourself all the way down. Act as though you are attempting to pull yourself up for five seconds. After five seconds, pull yourself up—smoothly, but quickly—and then start all over again.
  6. One set is plenty if you really push this as you should.

How many reps will you get? Not many. Five is my limit. I’ve since added weight and I’m doing four reps with 12.5 additional pounds.

You can do this protocol with other exercises as well. Squats, bodyweight rows, push ups, etc.

Obviously, you wouldn’t do this protocol if your form wasn’t spot on. Would you? No, you wouldn’t. It’s also not for a rank beginner. I wouldn’t put someone on this protocol until they demonstrated competence and experience in the lift to use embedded statics in.

If you’re going to try this protocol—be disciplined. Strict form, use a metronome or other device for timing, and don’t hold your breath.