I am often surprised when someone takes an age-old concept, slaps a new name on and it and then makes it seem like a radical new idea that’s never been thought of before. Such is the case with the concept of Static Contraction Training or SCT. According to precisiontraining.com, Static Contraction Training focuses on the amount of exercise, frequency and intensity of the workout session and accomplished by working with weights or resistance that is far in excess of what you would use during a traditional strength training workout routine.
And that means…?
Let me play it for you another way. You may have heard the term “negative sets” or “negatives”. Usually if a person is doing “negatives” they take a heavier than normal weight and – after getting an assist on lifting the weight – they take it down oh-so-slowly. The bench press is a great example: maybe you’ve never pushed 300 pounds before. So your partner will help pull the bar up and you will try your best to take the weight down – slowly. Or maybe you’re on that last rep and rather than collapse you hold it…hold it…hold it. This forced resistance is the key element of STC.
According to the STC website, muscles get bigger when the body senses, through messages sent to the brain, that your body is unable to handle the load currently being placed against it. When the body determines that it needs to be stronger to complete a particular activity in the future, it signals the growth of additional muscle. Once additional muscle growth has taken place, the body is able to handle an increased load when the stimulating activity is resumed again.
In other words, heavy is not fun. Obviously it’s much easier to lift light weight and experience no growth than it is to struggle with heavy weight and benefit from it. Static contraction training teaches us to simply hold the maximum weight we can handle. This is in our strongest range of motion for a particular movement, for a maximum of 5-10 seconds, and not to perform any repetitions with that weight.
Lifetimestrength.com points out that Static Contraction Training can be accomplished quickly and involves only 5 exercises per workout. Typically, you perform your five exercises in less than what amounts to one minute, not including the time it takes for you to set up the machines, and short breaks between exercises.
Again, it sounds like a combination of the “lift heavy” philosophy underscored by the principals of performing negative sets.
Call it what you will: static contraction or standing-on-the-moon, all I know is that the principal works: lift heavy, perform your negative sets in a timely fashion don’t allow for exaggerated cool-down and get on with your life.