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Foreword to The Ultimate Isometrics Manual by Dan John


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I always joke that the discus throw is my mistress. We have had a long relationship and she is my temptress, my muse and my passion. At times, she is warm and sometimes she is cruel.

Most people don’t know that I have another love affair: Isometric training. When I first discovered weightlifting (in 1965…and that’s no typo!), the isometric training rage was still burning brightly. I grew up in a home with the Bullworker and the Exer-genie; my brothers burned holes in these devices with overuse.

Later, Dave Turner fixed my clean recovery issues (in the Clean and Jerk) with Dead Stop Front Squats (at a precise 34 inches). I taught throwers the key positions in the throws with isometric holds followed by a vigorous shake out and then the full technique. Isometrics ALWAYS worked for me as a coach and athlete.

And, I always wondered: why doesn’t the whole world love them. I mean, it’s simple: we train the nervous system, we attack the muscles at literally 100% effort and…well, the magic happens.

As often happens, there was a lot I didn’t know. Until I found out!

Paul Wade takes us on a journey of isometric enlightenment here in "The Ultimate Isometrics Manual." We receive a graduate level course in much of the history of strength training…far beyond just isometrics. We meet many of my heroes, including Bill March who sent me the original photos from some of the articles discussed in Coach Wade’s book. We go on the journey of why isometrics were so exciting to the world of strength and conditioning.

So…gentle reader…why did isometrics "die?" For the record, many great ones still use it and it continues to intrigue the smart professionals. I had no idea how simple the problem turned out to be:

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What isometrics needed "to work" for everybody was ALL three! I have a world class gym in my garage and a wife, Tiffini (whose middle name is NOT "Long Suffering" no matter how many times people say it!), who puts up with all kinds of weird things (and people) filling her home and yard.

Simply, I could overcome most issues and make isometrics work. For me.

Coach Wade’s book will let you in on how YOU can use this underappreciated tool kit. Isometrics, done correctly can do amazing things for your health, fitness and performance. After reading Coach Wade’s book, I discovered that it can help with longevity, too. Isometrics make the whole Cardiovascular system step up and, no, I didn’t know that before I read this book.

I had a chance, years ago, to interview Dick "Smitty" Smith, one of the pioneers of isometric training. He drove to Bill March to train with isometrics in a three-hour round trip three times a week when the "modern" methods were being developed (this is the bulk of Wade’s Part III: the Drills). Smitty was honest and candid to a fault.

He told me honestly that NOTHING has ever worked as well as isometric training. But he added those dreadful two words: "Done correctly."

This is the beauty of this book: you will learn the skills and drills to enjoy isometric training "done correctly."

You have in front of you an encyclopedia of knowledge. There is a lot on warming up and cooling down. You will get calisthenic drills, bodyweight challenges and a host of fun levers, hangs and holds. The directions are clear; the progressions are logical.

Rediscover the value of isometrics. Improve your strength, fitness and body composition with the "secrets" you find in this book. Listen to Coach Wade and enjoy the benefits of isometric work.

Done correctly!

Daniel John

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