By VAHVA Fitness on September 23, 2019
Can you hold this for just 90 seconds? Find out how strong you are and whether you have weaknesses in your body.
The SECRET that produces the results is not the weight, it's not the number of repetitions but time under tension (TUT, the time your muscles are under load)
The problem with many heavy lifts and advanced exercises is that they often can only be done for 1 to 5 repetitions which makes the time under tension very short.
Moreover, in order to do that, the person often has to utilize more the unrelated body mechanics than the targeted muscles to do the exercise.
For example, you swing from the hips when you do the bicep curls. Or you use the initial explosion in handstand push ups to do the repetition and then lower yourself with very short time under tension.
In most cases we would not even consider many of these hard lifts and advanced exercises proper strength training.
Why? Because they rely more on learning how to use the unrelated body mechanics to perform the exercise and the goal is external (X amount of weight, X distance, X repetitions) – you are not really concerned of fully stimulating and training the muscles.
Most training people do is actually skill training, not strength training. The difference is subtle and not all black and white but it all has to do with your focus.
Moreover, skill training is not bad, it's necessary to get good at certain movements but we would not consider it proper strength training.
With proper strength training, the whole focus is on strengthening the body. Forget about the repetitions and forget about the weight – we just want to stimulate the target muscles the best way possible for maximal growth.
Your body doesn't care how impressive it is to do 20 pull ups and show that on social media. It doesn't really care about the weight either, in fact, it only cares about the time under tension and intensity of effort.
Heavy weights increase the intensity of effort but often ruin the time under tension in the targeted muscles in their full range of motion. You need both for optimal results.
Light weights used right can produce more or the same resistance as the heavier weights as long as it is targeted resistance. This is why using light weights with a good form actually produces better results than using heavy weights with a poor form.
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.
However, if you cannot comfortably hold this exercise for 90 seconds you have no business doing anything harder than this!
The problem in the mainstream fitness and training in general is that people are always in a hurry to do the hardest possible thing. Somehow it is thought that the hard equals results but it's not like that.
The "basics" produce the most results even at advanced stages and in the beginning they are especially important.
This is just 90 seconds. You need to hold a posture like this for minimum of 60 seconds to really start to see where you are strong and where you are weak.
The cat hold is a very special movement and will target the body in surprising ways. From the outside it looks like a plank with different leg positioning but this leg positioning changes everything.
Over the course of 90 seconds, the common area where people often feel this is in their abdominals. If you start to feel this in the core only after 5-15 seconds, your core is not as strong you may think.
Another area where people often have weakness is their knees. Some people actually feel knee pain doing this movement. If you do, stop the exercise.
The cat hold is not actually bad for your knees – it's a sign that you have severe weakness in your quadriceps and your muscles can't support your bodyweight properly. You need to start doing some serious training for the quads.
Finally, an area where you may feel tension is your shoulders, especially if you do the exercise correctly with the slightly protracted shoulder girdle.
You may also feel the movement in your neck because most people aren't used to holding their head in this position for long periods of time. Your toes can also get tired.
Moreover, if your muscles and body start to shake a lot, it's also a sign of weakness. If you feel very strong burning sensations in your body, this is also a sign of weakness.
Ideally, this movement should be fairly comfortable to hold for 90 seconds with little to no shakiness.
If you are just starting out, there's no shame in being weak. This is how you get strong.
Focus on doing this exercise a couple of times per week for 15-30 seconds per set for 3 to 10 per set per workout. Eventually you will master the exercise.
If you have been training for a while and this hold surprised you, you may need to rethink your training. You may need to forget the heavy lifts and "advanced" skills for a while and just focus on the basics where all the gains are made anyway.
This is just 90 seconds. 90 seconds is nothing.
In order to reveal the weaknesses and dig deep into your body, you need strength training like this. Training like this has far stronger impact on your posture and structural balance than any other type of training.
Long holds like this can fundamentally change your body structure for better in ways the low rep ranges are fundamentally not capable of doing.
When we traveled the world and studied various ancient methods of strengthening, they completely shattered and expanded our view on strength training.
What the mainstream fitness considers true is not actually entirely true. For example, Qigong is over 4000 years old and the ancient masters would laugh at many things the modern scientific training considers 100% true.
If you want to learn more, check out our 100% free mobility class below. It has nearly 400 five star reviews and it's one of the best rated classes online.
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