Strength comes in many forms. While the amount of weight on the bar is important, training relative strength is just as important for overall health and longevity.
How do you improve relative strength? Start with these basic bodyweight isometric holds.
1. Bent-Arm False Grip Hold
Think you have a strong upper body? This exercise will humble even the strongest lifters. It builds tremendous upper body strength, especially in the forearms and biceps. If you’ve never trained false-grip strength, start. If you struggle to perform the false grip holds, scale back and master chin-over-bar holds first.
2. Ring Support Hold
If you’re competent in strict push-ups and strict dips, progress to ring support holds. The rings’ unstable nature presents a challenge, but the instability also forces all of your stabilizer muscles to switch on, improving strength. Keep the rings tight to your hips with your thumbs pointing straight ahead or, ideally, externally rotated. If you’re new to rings, start with ring push-up holds.
3. L-Sit Hold
This is one of the best exercises to improve relative strength and also to strengthen the anterior chain. Proper L-sits are extremely challenging and require a fair amount of requisite strength. However, you can easily modify this exercise by performing the L-sit on an elevated surface with bent knees.
4. Chest-Facing-Wall Handstand Hold
Most people should start with their chest on the ground and walk their feet up the wall to the handstand. Keep your legs straight and together with your hands stacked directly under your shoulders. A proper handstand hold strengthens the shoulders, traps, triceps, and wrists and improves scapular strength and control.