OK mathematically speaking power is both:




So in theory: either you get a dumbbell from point A to point B incredibly fast or hold always the dumbbell in point B, the power output should be equal. Assuming distance is the same, either you lift a dumbbell of 20kg in 0.5 seconds from point A to B, like in a front raise, or you just hold the front raise position with the dumbbell of 20kg for 5 seconds in a still position, the power output does not change.

But thats just theory, what about practice... Do static holds build power?

  • Well, idk where you're getting your math from, but work is the integral of force applied over a distance. Statics holds don't have a distance component so I'd say probably no
    – E.Aigle
    Feb 15 '21 at 13:15
  • I like Rippetoe’s definition of strength which is: the ability to produce force against an external resistance. And his definition for power is strength displayed quickly. Think about that... The ability to produce force against an external resistance.... Quickly.
    – Frank
    Mar 1 '21 at 11:03
  • Gymnast do static holds all the times and they are super strong .....
    – Liiuc
    Apr 23 '21 at 9:24
  • In one word : gravity
    – Jimbot
    Apr 24 '21 at 7:13

The physics definition of power is:

(1) power = change in work / change in time


(2) work = force * displacement
(3) force = mass * acceleration
(4) acceleration = change in velocity / change in time = displacement / change in time ^ 2

altogether we can get,

(5) power = (force * displacement) / change in time
(6) power = (mass * displacement ^ 2) / (change in time ^ 3)

Your first definition of Power is incorrect. Power is not equal to Work by Velocity. In that case we'd be left with displacement cancelling out and having Force * Time (which is an impulse); you might be thinking of Power is equal to Force * Velocity.

Formula (6) is extremely broken down so we can get to the fundamental units but from that we can see that we can increase power in three different ways, from least to most important:

  1. Increase the weight being moved;
  2. Increase the distance between Point A and Point B;
  3. Decrease the amount of time it takes to get from Point A to Point B.

[...] but that's just theory, what about practice... do static holds build power?

From the above theory, we note three things; power = 0 when weight = 0, when the distance moved = 0, or when the change in time is very large. In practice, I believe this to be true. When an athlete needs to increase their power or wants to build more explosive power we are almost always referring to it as moving things quickly and with force. So, with that definition, and the above, no, static holds do not build power.

Static holds will build strength; they will develop grip strength, muscular endurance, and mental endurance but they will not improve your ability to move weight quickly from Point A to Point B.


I think you are asking if isometric movement can contribute to muscle development. The awnser to that is yes, Some exercises like planking (abs) or wall sit(legs) are isometric exercies that can be very effective. Most of the time however there are simply better alternatives;

The short version is that you can train your muscles with: concentric, isometric and eccentric movements. There are examples of isometric exercises that can be very usefull, especially when you train everyday. You will not stimulate your muscle enough if you repeat the same exercies too often, so in this regard it could be a very nice adition to your routine.

For most cases however, controlled mechanical movements (concentric+eccentric) are the way to go. Putting stres on your muscles wil always imply the risk of injury and from this point of view isometric exercises are usually not worth it combined with the fact that it's very hard to stimulate certain musclegroups effectively using this aproach.

The front raise example that you describe is not advisable because it would put too much stress on your shoulderjoints and would most likely result in injury. It would be better to make slow controlled movements starting paralel from your body, and ending slightly above your head (or above it in case of FRTTR). While isometric training isn't very efective, it would be great to make sure you stop for a brief moment at the beginning and end of the exercise to make sure there is no momentum. The last, and perhaps the most important, part of the exercise is the eccentric phase, where you move the weight back to the starting poition. If you do this slowly and controlled you will gain allot more for you effort.

I hope this helps you distinguishing between the different trainingmethods.

Regards from Holland


Power has many definitions, which one are you using?

If you're using the physics definitions, then static holds are not work at all. So obviously not. If you get under a bar that's welded to a frame, then push with all your might, nothing will happen. You'll tire yourself out, possibly get in a decent workout, probably get stronger, but you've done less "work" than a kid picking up a lollipop.

I propose that's not a useful definition of "work" for an exercise context.

Assuming that you mean "will I get stronger in an explosive manner using static holds", then, yes, but not much. If you want to get stronger at explosive movements, do explosive movements. If you want to get stronger at holding things in place, do that. There's some carryover to everything you do, but if you have a specific goal, practice doing that thing.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.