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Overcoming Isometrics for Youth Athletes

Overcoming isometric front squat


Overcoming isometrics can be a great way to teach youth athletes how to create muscular tension, maintain muscular tension, and develop coordination in various ranges of motion and athletic postures. Often times youth athletes have difficulty with the coordination required for traditional isotonic muscular contractions (i.e an eccentric muscle action followed by a concentric contraction). Without proper coordination, it can be dangerous for youth athletes to safely lift heavier weights. This also means that it takes longer for youth athletes to see meaningful development of strength & power that will translate to their sport.

Overcoming isometrics involve setting the athlete up at a specific range of motion of an exercise and instructing them to contract against a level of resistance that is heavier than their maximal level of strength. This allows the athlete to practice generating as much tension as they possibly can without having to think about whether or not they’ll be able to safely complete the repetition. If they cannot maintain good posture, they can simply stop pushing or pulling. Overcoming isometrics also allows the youth athlete to create as much tension as they can at the strongest points of their range of motion where they have the most leverage, without having to factor in the lower level of strength they’ll possess in the low leverage sticking point parts of their range of motion.

After training with overcoming isometrics, youth athletes will often see improvements in their strength, power, sprinting technique, weight lifting technique, posture, mobility and overall coordination.

The example provided in the video is a youth athlete performing an overcoming isometric barbell front squat. Our goal with this particular athlete was to get him stronger in the sticking point where he has less leverage. Overcoming isometrics are particularly great to do with taller athletes or athletes with long limbs.  

Overcoming isometric front squat


To perform: a) Set up the load at the height of the desired range of motion. b) Add a resistance that the athlete has no chance of ever moving. c) Gradually ramp up the amount of tension produced until you are at your desired percentage of tension from 0-100%. d) Push for the prescribed amount of time.

If you need assistance adding overcoming isometrics into your programming please contact us. We can work with you in-person in Vancouver BC., or through online coaching. You contact us by e-mail ([email protected]), on Instagram or Facebook @SaltusPerformance or by phone at 604-347-5661.

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