What is the Isometric Seal Row?


By Connor White, Excessive Efficiency

The Isometric Seal Row (ISR) is a multi-joint isometric check athletes carry out mendacity susceptible on an elevated bench with a barbell locked into place under them, as pictured under. We use this check in our evaluation as a measure of upper-body absolute energy. It’s distinctive in our evaluation as a result of the check makes use of ForceHooks to measure output fairly than the twin power plate setup in our lower-body assessments.

(To examine the remainder of our evaluation sequence, try our evaluation overview weblog, and to study extra about how we examined ForceHooks learn our validation weblog.)

Why we use the ISR

Multi-joint isometric exams (MJITs) present quite a few advantages over different maximal power testing strategies, for our particular wants and athlete inhabitants. Amongst these advantages, the principle strengths are decrease harm danger and fewer technical lifting talent required to execute the check.

Once we have been deciding what to incorporate in our energy evaluation, we in contrast the ISR to different maximal isometric testing choices, corresponding to an isometric bench press. We wished a check that match a number of standards. First, the check wanted to be simply standardizable with dependable information in order that outcomes may be in contrast throughout all athletes that assess.

Subsequent, the check wanted to suit inside our athletes’ regular evaluation week, which usually consists of our full energy evaluation in addition to at the very least one excessive intent throwing session. Amongst different standards, we wished a check that utilized a excessive output pull or press in order that we’d have the ability to get as shut as doable to every athlete’s maximal upper-body power manufacturing in a single check.

The ultimate standards narrowed our search to a horizontal row or press, and whereas each a susceptible/seal row and a bench/ground press match the primary standards, the press failed the second standards (check topics reported considerably extra soreness from the urgent actions than from the row).

Our Protocol

1. Athlete lays on seal row bench face down, with the barbell immediately under the underside of their chest.

2. To find out the bar peak, the athlete makes a 90° angle on the elbow whereas gripping the barbell with arms immediately under the elbows.

3. Coach performs an audible buzzer countdown with three quick beeps and one three-second beep signifying the beginning and length of the pull. This lets the athlete know what to anticipate throughout the trials. This is identical protocol as our IMTP.

4. The athlete is instructed to:

a. “Grip the barbell, however don’t create any stress till the timer reaches go.”

b. “On the depend of the buzzer, pull your self to the bar as rapidly and with as a lot power as doable, as if you’re making an attempt to tug your self by the bench.”

5. Have the athlete carry out two warmup/familiarization trials, first at 60% RPE after which 75% RPE.

6. The athlete performs three trials at most effort with one-minute relaxation between (any trials displaying an unsteady baseline, countermovement on the onset of the rep, or peak power achieved on the very finish of the trouble indicating a yanking movement are discarded).

7. If the third trial is greater than 100N increased than the primary or second trial, the athlete performs a fourth trial.

Whereas familiarization advantages are minimal in an MJIT, we nonetheless need a number of reps earlier than any max effort trials in order that the athlete can get snug with the check in addition to conversant in the protocols and buzzer. The reps at 60 and 75% seem like efficient for familiarization and preparation, as most athletes see their greatest efficiency within the first two maximal trials.

Why we do it this manner

In any standardized check, controlling as many variables outdoors of the variable that’s being examined is crucial to make sure reliable information. This is the reason we measure joint angles to find out bar peak for every athlete, as we don’t need athletes of various limb lengths to have any benefits or disadvantages. We selected 90° after testing a number of elbow angles as a result of athletes reported little to no soreness at that angle, seemingly because of the decrease output than increased joint angles, and it was additionally rapidly standardizable.

There may be a point of error within the measurement because of the distinction between an athlete’s positioning between slack (measuring), partially tense (warm-up/familiarization reps), and totally tense (maximal reps). If an athlete’s angle seems considerably modified throughout the warm-up reps we are able to re-measure, however as soon as they’re at 100% bar peak ought to stay fixed. 

Whereas familiarization advantages are minimal in an MJIT, we nonetheless need a number of reps earlier than any max effort trials in order that the athlete can get snug with the check in addition to conversant in the protocols and buzzer. The reps at 60 and 75% seem like efficient for familiarization and preparation, as most athletes see their greatest efficiency within the first two maximal trials.

What metrics matter

Within the ISR we primarily take a look at two metrics: Peak Power (PF) and Relative Peak Power (RPF). For those who recall from the IMTP, we usually use Web Peak Power as our measure of absolute energy, however on this case, there is no such thing as a body weight on the dynamometer so Web Peak Power=Peak Power. Peak Power from the ISR provides us a metric for absolute upper-body energy, basically an image of how a lot power the athlete can probably exert utilizing their (posterior) higher physique.

Dividing the PF by the athlete’s body weight offers RPF, and offers extra perception by telling us whether or not an athlete is powerful for his or her dimension. As with RPF within the IMTP, this quantity is particularly vital for athletes who’ve an emphasis on their physique weight of their present coaching part. For instance, an athlete trying so as to add muscle mass would need to see their RPF keep and even enhance as they achieve weight, indicating that the newfound mass is definitely serving to them exert extra power. On the alternative aspect, an athlete seeking to drop some pounds would need to see at the very least a proportional enhance of their RPF, indicating that the misplaced weight didn’t value them energy.

On condition that the bar is mounted on each ends to a ForceHook, we’re accumulating information from each hooks to ultimately analyze athlete higher physique asymmetries. At this level, a higher pattern dimension and a radical evaluation are each needed to find out what constitutes a big or actionable asymmetry.

The large takeaway

The ISR utilizing ForceHooks provides us an upper-body maximal energy check that may be simply applied with athletes of all coaching ages. The check reveals a reasonable optimistic correlation to athlete talent outcomes (pitch pace and bat pace), and can quickly be included into a brand new model of our predicted velocity metric.



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