VAHVA Fitness

Test Your BACK Strength and Mobility (Hold for 90 SECONDS)

By VAHVA Fitness on May 9, 2020

Can you hold this for just 90 seconds? Test your BACK STRENGTH and MOBILITY with this isometric hold.
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We are huge fans of isometrics and use them a lot in our training. Isometrics have produced extraordinary results with ourselves and our students.


Repetitions of course have their place (both slow tempo and fast tempo) but the isometrics have many unique benefits and advantages over doing repetitions.


For example, the repetitions are very easy to do wrong. Almost everyone has a tendency to manipulate their body mechanics and primarily use the prime movers of the body to generate force.


This leads to the problem that the smaller muscles are not properly developed and the area which is supposed to be targeted is not trained thoroughly for its full potential and capacity.


With isometrics, there is room for error but not as much. You just hold the posture for time and let the burning sensations do the work. 


It's still possible to do the isometrics wrong but with isometrics most people will be training the correct muscles in a much better fashion than they normally would.


Isometric training is also one of the safest ways to train because you are not moving at all which leads to a tiny chance of injuring your joints or tendons. This makes it optimal for fixing nagging pains and injuries as well (alongside with slow tempo training).


Since the correct muscles are easier to target with the isometrics and the tension is constant, this also leads to higher time under tension (TUT) – TUT is the most important attribute when it comes to developing strength or growing muscle.


The better you can target the right muscles and the longer you can keep them under tension, the better results you will get in both strength and size. This makes the isometric exercises special but it's also why slow tempo training is so effective.


With fast repetitions (the most commonly done style of training), the time under tension tends to be very short, the muscles are not targeted precisely and lots of unrelated body mechanics are used.


This is why the typical training tends to be hit & miss for the vast majority of people. Some people get lucky and train their body properly whereas other people do a lot of things wrong and as a result get bad results.


Isometrics and slow tempo training as we do in Athlete 20XX are the most bulletproof and methodological approaches to get results with ANY person because it leaves the least room for error.

Other 90 seconds challenges:

Test your Shoulder Strength (HOLD THIS FOR 90 SECONDS)

Test your HIP MOBILITY (Can you do this for 90 seconds?)

Test your CORE Strength (Can you do this for 90 seconds?)

Hold the exercise below for 90 Seconds.

A lot of people may think that this is only for endurance but 90 seconds is still in the realm of general strength training. 


30 seconds is often considered ideal for strength, 60 ideal for muscle growth. In reality, they all develop strength. Especially the 90 seconds hold.


Long isometric holds ensure you are properly activating the correct muscles and that they are activated under resistance for sufficient amount of time (time under tension).


To truly develop the structure of the body and dig deep into the body, you need slow controlled repetitions or controlled isometric holds like this.


The 90 Second Back Arch Hold

Test Your BACK Strength and Mobility (Hold for 90 SECONDS)
  • Extend from your back until your chest is above the floor.
  • Keep your arms on the side or behind the body, do not let them rest on your body or on the floor.
  • Keep the neck neutral.
  • The thighs can slightly touch the floor but otherwise should be floating in air.
  • The isometric hold is supposed to be a hold - avoid all unnecessary movement.

You have probably held this position or done this type of exercise at some point in your life whether it was a physical education class, sports or martial arts.


And you probably didn't like it. In fact, very few people like this exercise. Yet, it's a superb exercise to strengthen your entire posterior chain.


You are training the entire length of the erector spinae by holding this position. Even your glutes and hamstrings are firing up not to mention your upper back muscles.


For a lot of people this is excruciating and it feels like the back muscles are going to explode. For many, holding your arms up next to your head is surprisingly strenuous as well.


These are only signs of weakness that have to be taken care of. Eventually, holding this position should become very comfortable.


It starts with practice and doing easier exercises to strengthen the posterior chain. If you have difficulty breathing, placing a small blanket under your stomach can help a lot.


We cover similar exercises in our Athlete 20XX but we will go a lot deeper than this.

Simple and Easy is Rarely Simple and Easy

Test Your BACK Strength and Mobility (Hold for 90 SECONDS)

A lot of people, especially those who have been training for a while, probably shake their heads and do not give this exercise even a try. It's so simple and doesn't involve lifting heavy weights so why bother?

Yet, the same people often have difficulty holding this for 90 seconds and lack both mobility and strength in the arch. This arch hold is one of the most fundamental body alignments to master, especially in today's age where people have hunched over postures.


If you like this one, please check out the other 90 second challenges to test the other areas of your body. These are all very fundamental and basic level strength standards we consider essential for posture, mobility and strength.


To get started in training, Movement 20XX is the best program because it covers all the fundamentals of training and movement. For more advanced trainees, Athlete 20XX is the absolute best.


Just combining these two programs will lead to a very well-rounded, strong, muscular and athletic physique. Warrior 20XX and Morning Routine 20XX will merely finish the product that is you.


You can find all of our programs here.


Stay strong.

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