An intense resistance workout using isometric holds and flexibility to increase strength
Building a strong, sculpted body doesn’t require hours spent working out—just an expert approach. And with The Master’s Hammer and Chisel, seasoned trainers Sagi Kalev and Autumn Calabrese have compiled their best, most efficient techniques into 30- to 40-minute resistance-training workouts to help you craft a powerful, perfectly defined physique in just 60 days.
Throughout the entire 60 days, you’ll focus on Stabilization, Strength, and Power to rapidly build, sculpt, and refine your physique. Combine this training with proven portion-control nutrition-the way Sagi and Autumn do in The Master’s Hammer and Chisel-and you’ll build a body that’s strong, chiseled, and defined.
As I embark on my own 60-Day Journey with The Master’s Hammer and Chisel, I will be reviewing each workout as they present themselves in the program calendar. I will add my own insights and observations about the workouts; the comments I make are my own as an Independent Certified Personal Trainer and do not necessarily represent the Celebrity Trainers or Beachbody. Full disclosure, I am also an Independent Team Beachbody Coach and a distributor of this program and all other Beachbody products. I hope the information I provide is beneficial in your personal fitness journey.
Iso Strength Chisel combines resistance training with isometric holds to keep your muscles under tension longer. In this workout you’ll use a couple of traditional bodyweight exercises as well as dumbbells to provide the resistance needed to gain strength; repetitions will be alternated with static “holds” in a particular position. The goal is to keep your muscles under tension throughout the entire set.
Strength comes from your body adapting to the stress you put on it; not the “gnaw at your gut” stress of an impending deadline or public speaking engagement, but the the stress of muscles, joints, bones and connective tissues being forced to respond to demands you’re placing on them. It’s easy to understand how repeatedly lifting a weight (think: sets and reps) stresses the muscle and engages all these components. When you go to the gym, you know this and it’s why you strive to lift increasingly heavier weights. Truth is, while lifting heavy is important, it’s not the only way to gain strength, you have to mix things up.
In FitSpeak, an Isometric muscle action is when the contractile force is equal to the the resistive force and the muscle fiber length doesn’t change. In layman’s terms – you’re holding the weight (or your body) in one place. Sounds easy right? Hold a plank position for a few minutes and you’ll begin to understand the stress that an isometric hold induces. Integrate these isometric holds with moving the weight (or your body) and you have Iso Strength Chisel.
The standard protocol for this workout is simple and will be repeated throughout the full workout for each exercise: you will complete 10 repetitions, perform a 10 second isometric hold and repeat that cycle two more times without pause or rest. If a particular move is a “one-sided”, then you’ll complete one full set (10 Reps/10 Sec hold – three times) on one side, then repeat it on the other side.
Obviously just out of the gate, you may find that you are not able to keep tempo with Autumn and the cast or that you need to incorporate brief rests during the set. Know your limits, but don’t be afraid to go at your own pace and rest when needed. Safety is paramount and your goal is to work up to completing each set as prescribed. Remember, the maximum benefit comes from keeping the muscle under tension throughout the entire set.
The Sumo Squat likely takes it name from the sport of Sumo wrestling, Sumo’s perform a ritualistic movement in training called the “Shiko” where the leg is raised high in the air and stamped down in a wide stance. This movement was performed to ward off evil spirits as well as to train the lower body. By the time you get done with this workout, you may wish you’d warded off the evil spirits because you’re legs are going to be screaming.
Position your body with a wide stance, feet wider than hip width, toes pointed outward approximately 45 degrees, hands on hips. If you’re using dumbbells, hold them on your hips or in front of you. I prefer to do my sumo squats using kettlebells, and I vary my grip by either using a 2-handed grip holding the handle by the sides with the bell centered on my sternum or grasping the handle in an overhand grip and letting it hang naturally in front of me with arms relaxed. Squat down keeping your back posture upright, as you come down to parallel, your knees should align over your ankles. Depending on your core strength, you may find that balance is an issue, try to avoid rocking forward or backward as you progress through the movement. Keep your feet flat on the floor and push upward through your heels as you return to the starting position.
Remember to write down your results, weights used, rests taken and whether or not you maintained pace with the cast, these data points become your baseline and give you something to compare yourself against as you progress through the program. It’s not about being as good as the people in the DVD, it’s about being better than you were the day before.