Training for the “Broken” - Complementary Training
Training for the “Broken”

Training for the “Broken”

So after writing down the Riding the Wave, a blog entry on cyclic nature of the training process, I decided to take a break from heavy lifting, grinding out and chasing PRs and obsessing with progressive overload. My SI (Sacro Iliac) joint started to nag me again, as well as my left shoulder. Nothing special, just a sign that I was overdoing something. Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing too. 

In the recent years there seems to be a certain pattern emerging from my training. I start easy, build up, start chasing and grinding PRs and then I get injured or burned out. So, this time to prevent this from happening I decided to take a week or two from that type of work and mindset and get back to the basics, enjoy & play a little and work on imbalances, mobility, stability, technique and anatomic adaptation.

A discussion on Monkey Island made me think about utilizing ISO Holds (Isometric Holds) as a method of achieving my goals for this transition period.  

In that particular thread you can find links to the studies supporting to a degree my idea that ISO Holds can help rehabilitation, because scar and injured issues utilize lactate as a form of fuel for repair (and in blood occlusion happening in ISO Holds there is going to be plenty of it, and plenty of it in extreme stretches) .  Besides, ISO Holds can work wonders for technique in the extreme ranges (bottom) and they are not so taxing and also work wonders for flexibility. So, I decided to give it a try, again.

The workouts are fairly random, because I don’t want to fixate over the minutiae  (I am obsessed with the details and sometimes this make me burnout once in a while), but rather go in the gym and lift (or pose if you think more about it, since with ISO Holds you are not lifting). Workouts can be full body or upper/lower, but I love full body better for this purpose and period.

Anyway, even if the workouts are basically full body, I will classify the exercises on upper/lower/core topology.    


Back Squat. You can keep it parallel or let the fatigue drift you ass to grass. Work on the strong arch, knee positions, upper body tightness  and weight balance (you can play and shift the weight from heel to forefoot and see how it feels). Also, a loop band can be used around the knees to help activate the glutes and hip rotators.

Good morning. Same as with back squats. Work on posture, arch and balance. Great for improving hamstring flexibility and low back awareness.

Split squats. I love these. You can do them regular, rear leg elevated, front leg elevated or both legs on the benches (to gain more ROM).

Glute Bridges.  Put a band around the knees, lift and hold. Great for the butt and hip rotatores.

The next exercises I found great to be included in this phase. They are done with slow tempo and maybe a short iso hold at the end position (1-3sec hold). These are small muscles often neglected when chasing the PRs.

Clams and hip abduction. Lie on the ground, put a band around your knees and do sets of 10-15reps.

Hip flexion. Can be done seated (Sahrman Hip Flexion) or with a band attached to a immobile object while lying down.

Hip PNF diagonals.  This stuff helped me when I had sport hernia symptoms. I do them lying down, with the core braced (flat back), then lifting one leg at a time in diagonal patter without moving my core. Great for abs too.

Calves. I love to do single leg eccentrics with slow lowering phase (around 5 secs). This helped me with my tendon issues every time I did them.

VMO. Can be done with the band wrapped around the knee, or like a Peterson Step Down. Maybe some controlled eccentrics if you had tendon issues in the knees in the history.

A lot of stretching.   A lot! Hip flexion, hip rotators, quads, hams, calves. A lot


Push up. Get into a perfect push up position (normal or leg elevated, later with weight vest), pull yourself to the ground and hold. Work on posture and arms/shoulder position.

Declined row. Get under the bar, pull yourself  up and squeeze the shoulder blades and hold.  You can also do chest supported DB row and hold. Also, barbell rows can be used here too.

Pull-up/chin-up  hold.  Touch the bar with the chest, squeeze and hold. This is tougher than you think.

Bench press.  Work on technique and thingness of the shoulder blades. Can be done with DBs too.

Chest Flys.  Great for stretching the pecs, especially if you combine with the rows.

The next exercises I found great to be included in this phase. They are done with slow tempo and maybe a short iso hold at the end position (1-3sec hold). These are small muscles often neglected when chasing the PRs.

External rotation. A lot of external rotations, and Ws for the lower trap.

YTWLs. A lot of this stuff.

Rowing. A lot of rowing variations.

Delt Flys. I plan doing some delt flys in scapular place or maybe L-flys. Progress to DB Overhead press. Maybe wall slides before all this if your shoulders are “broken”.

A lot of stretching.   A lot! Did I say a lot? I was playing with the jump stretch bands stretching. You can find some stuff by Dave Tate on this here.


Side bridges. Do them. Use weight west to progress or play with legs (lift the top leg for count of 5, lift the bottom leg for count of 5).

Pallof press.  Can done in squat position or even split squat position.

Hip flexion.  Hanging hip flexion or on the dip station. Lift above 90 degrees and hold.

Various exercises for the low back.  I use some exercises from corrective gymnastics as we call them here in Europe.

Each ISO hold is done for 30-60sec utilizing barbell or even bodyweight only and progressing from there. Work on the posture and relax. 3-5 sets can be utilized with short rest (around 1 min).

Before or after I will do some steady state or variable (fartlek) running or cycling. No brainer. Love to be outside because of nice weather and change in the environment (can’t stand to be inside the gym all the freaking time). Maybe I should do the stuff outside on grass barefoot like a real Paleo Man (this was a joke).

It’s Monday. The soccer season is over. I am giving my brain and body a little rest for a week. Going to train.

I am a physical preparation coach from Belgrade, Serbia, grew up in Pula, Croatia (which I consider my home town). I was involved in physical preparation of professional, amateur and recreational athletes of various ages in sports such as basketball, soccer, volleyball, martial arts and tennis. Read More »