February 01, 2006
Parallettes are an indispensable piece of training equipment. Fortunately, they are inexpensive, easy to make, light, and portable. With bodyweight exercises alone, incredible strength can be developed simply by selecting positions that will increase muscle loading. The range of exercises they can introduce to a training program is enormous. If you have not already purchased or made a set of parallettes, do so.
Practicing isometric contractions under load has been proven to be very effective in strength development. Some studies have shown dramatic strength increases with nothing but isometric contraction exercises. These static holds can be introduced into your training program in a variety of ways:
1. Include them in conditioning circuits as fixed holds. E.g., hold an L-sit for 30 seconds.
2. Accumulate holds up to a certain total time. E.g., do handstands until you have 60 cumulative seconds of holding time; try to minimize the number of attempts.
3. Perform a larger number of shorter holds. E.g., do ten sets of 5-second ball planches.