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Episode 87: Doorframe Isometric Workout

Video Highlights

- Workout anywhere you have access to a door.
- Simple method for building strength and muscle.
- The recommended length of time to hold an isometric.

Hi Z-Health community. Dr. Cobb back with you. It’s 2015, we’re getting started with new movement stuff today. What I’m going to do is shoot a quick series of blogs for you guys, just showing you things you can do in your office, if you work in an office. If you don’t work in an office, you’ re probably at home and you can do it there too.

What we’re going to do today is a little isometric workout actually using a doorway. It’s one of my favorite things to do. I do this. I travel a ton so I have gotten really used to using doors and other widely available things to get a little bit of work in.

If you look at other blogs or listen to other blogs where I talk about isometrics, isometrics are basically a form of exercise in which we’re pushing against an unmovable resistance or immovable resistance. We can vary the amount of tension that we put into it but you can build strength, and if you do it for a long period of time, you can build muscle as well.

Previous Blog: Isometrics: Simply Powerful

What I’m going to do is take you through a quick full body routine. The interesting thing about isometrics as well is that a lot of research has been done on how long do we have to hold them to get an effect, and a lot of people will say somewhere between 5 and 8 seconds. Doesn’t seem like that much.

What we’re going to do is do a very fast, like I said, follow-along workout, so I want you to get to a doorway and we’re going to get started. Now I like to warm up a little bit before I do this. If you’ve watched some of the other stuff I’ve sent you, I’ve already done some sensory warm-ups so I’ve worked through my body. I’m already starting to get a little bit warm.

Video: Sensory Warm Up

With that in mind, we’re now going to get into the strength training part so here what I’m going to do, I am in the doorway, I’m going to start with an overhead press. I’m going to reach up and I’m going to get on the top frame of the door. Now if you’re a little height challenged, you may need a stool or something.

If you have really big doors for whatever reason, you may have to go up on your toes. I’m going to keep my elbows slightly bent. I’m going to push up for six, 1001, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

From there, I’m going to spread my arms a little bit further, almost at a 45-degree angle and I’m pressing again, 5, 6. I’m going to drop my arms down on the inside of the doorway and I’m going to push out to the side. This is kind of your Samson push, right, for another 6 seconds, and relax.

Now, shake out your arms. We’re now going to get into a little bit of a lunge stance. We’re going to put our arms down and we’re going to try and push the doorway this way. If you do that, you can feel it in your arms, your chest. Nice and tall. We’re then going to go to a middle position. You may have to reach a little further out or you can bend your arms to 90 degrees if you have a good wingspan. Get set up and again you’re pressing into the door, 5, and 6.

45-degree angle, I’m going to switch my feet just because I feel like it. Same thing, push the doorway away. You can see I’m starting to get a little sweaty already. Last but not least, hands up; get into that lunge stance, push the doorway away. Good, shake out your arms.

We’ve pushed. We’re now going to pull, all right? Now what we’re going to do, we’re going to start with our arms up and I like to use the sides of my, the thumb side of my hand or fist or the back of my hand, depending on how comfortable it is. My hands are going on the inside of the doorframe and I’m pulling back. You can see I’m in that lunge stance again. I’m basically just pulling back this direction.

Out to my 45 again, 6, 5, 4, 2, 1. Shake out your arms. Come to this neutral position. I like to just grip the inside of the doorway, lean away in a good lunge stance, find my balance and pull. Now if you’ve done a lot of pull-ups, you may find yourself having to do that so, or you might find yourself coming this way so you’re actually resisting yourself to some degree with your legs.

Finally, down low, again, palms are going to be here. They can be reversed. I like to reverse my hands. Be careful that you don’t have someone come through and crush your hand in the door. That wouldn’t be good.

Once again, we’re in this lunge position. I’m pulling back and 6. All right, so that’s my upper body. Now I’m going to shift to my lower body. We’re going to do just a few movements for my legs.

I’m going to use my left leg. I’m going to come against the side of the door and I’m now going to push my leg out to the side. The motion is called a-b-duction, away from body, abduction. Switch to the opposite side. Again, I’m trying to push the door away.

All right, now, if I push my leg out, I want to pull my leg in so I’m going to turn this way so I don’t disappear. I’m going to turn this way, put my foot on the outside of the door frame, and I’m now trying to pull my leg across. Stay nice and tall. Switch sides, I’m now pushing to the outside to the hallway. Good.

Now I’m going to work my hips going backwards so in this position take my heel, put it against this side of the doorway. I’m going to now push backwards. You’ll feel this through your hamstrings, into your glutes, stand tall. Switch legs, and push. Again, 6 seconds on all these. You can gauge the amount of tension you want to use based on what’s comfortable.

One more to do. We’ve pushed backwards. We also need to push forwards. I like to put the ball of my foot up against the door, step forward, and just kick my leg forward. Opposite side, brace against the door, kick your leg forward, and rest.

Now, bounce and shake that out. That doesn’t take very long and if you did it with me, you can feel your whole body’s been somewhat activated. We didn’t do a lot with your spine in terms of moving but because you have to stabilize as you push in all these different directions, you’re also working your trunk and core, as a lot of people like to talk about.

To wrap this up guys, really really important that you just start off experiencing the drill, experiencing the exercises, because a lot of people when they get into this, they have questions like how hard should I push, where should my feet be. As long as you’re paying attention to a nice long spine and you’re trying to get into the positions and push hard against the door frame, you will automatically be teaching your body how to stabilize.

When I’m here and I’m trying to push hard, I’m trying to push the building down. Guess what’s working very hard? Not just my arms but my entire body to keep everything in one place. The goal here, once again to reiterate, is when you’re pushing in any direction, your body shouldn’t be moving, your arms shouldn’t moving and hopefully the building won’t move.

If you get that strong, awesome. Please write me a testimonial. That will be number one. Getting experienced at it. You’ll figure out the stabilizations. Number two, also important, if you are of smaller stature and you don’t have long arms, it’s perfectly okay to do this stuff single-armed. You can adjust this based off how easily you can reach and move around the doorframe.

I just wanted to make sure that you had something in your arsenal that you could do anywhere in the world that you can find something to push against. Again, thanks so much. Hope you enjoy it. Let us know if you have questions.

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