Hold the weight in place to perform isometric bench presses.
Isometric exercises -- the plank, for example -- strengthen your muscles without moving your body. As with any other form of strength-training exercise, however, isometric strength training doesn't automatically produce large, bulky muscles. You can achieve the bodybuilder look by doing isometric exercises, but you must perform the activities in a way that encourages muscle growth.
Choose a weight-training exercise and then select a weight that's roughly 70 to 80 percent of your one-rep max -- the most weight you can lift one time -- for that exercise.2.
Assume the exercise's standard starting position. If you're performing bench presses, for example, lie face up on a bench with your feet flat on the floor. Hold the bar with a wide, overhand grip just above your chest.
Move halfway through the exercise's standard motion and then hold your position for 20 to 60 seconds. For the bench press, raise the bar half the distance it would normally travel. Return to the starting position and repeat the halfway exercise one to four times.4.
Perform the first part of the exercise completely -- fully extending your arms in the bench press, for example -- and then hold the position for 20 to 60 seconds. Return to the starting position and repeat the move one to four times.5.
Hold the weight 2 to 4 inches above the starting position -- just above your chest in the bench press -- for 20 to 60 seconds. Return to the starting position and complete one to four more reps.
Select a weight-training exercise and use a load that's 50 to 100 percent heavier than the standard weight load you'd use to perform a set of eight to 12 reps.2.
Position the weight in a power rack or use a Smith machine. The weight should rest 2 to 3 inches short of your full extension for the selected exercise. To do a Smith machine bench press, for example, set the bar 2 to 3 inches below the position in which your arms would be completely extended.3.
Grasp the weight and extend your arms. For the bench press, stop just short of locking your elbows. Hold the position for five to 15 seconds and then return the weight to the supports. Move on to the next exercise after completing the single repetition.
- Free weights
- Smith machine
- Power rack
- Exercise bench
- As with any form of strength training, warm up before you perform isometric exercises. Do five to 10 minutes of light cardio activity, such as jogging on a treadmill.
- To build muscle mass, work each muscle group two or three times per week with at least one day between sessions.
- Use a spotter if you hold free weights above your body.