Dynamic tension is the name of a training system made popular by Charles Atlas, a physique star from yesteryear. Atlas, who was born in the late 1800's, used a smart advertising hook to capture the readerís attention (how to transform your body from a scrawny weakling into a powerful he-man) and then he sold them a system to build up the body. It was called one of the most successful and long-lasting advertising events of all time.
The system that Atlas sold was "dynamic tension", a workout which involved using the muscles of your own body working against other muscles in the body to provide the resistance.
Although primarily isometric in nature, the dynamic tension program went beyond to include isokinetic and isotonic as well as most action centered on the isometric.
Dynamic tension is able to build the body up to some degree, and those who practice it do gain some noticeable development. However, since the resistance is not unlimited (as it is with weight lifting) the capability for dynamic tension to reach the upper end of muscular development is limited.
Indeed, Charles Atlas had a great physique and won the title of "World's Most Perfectly Developed Man" but alas, the development didn't come solely from his dynamic tension approach. Atlas habitually lifted weights at the Brooklyn YMCA.
In his latter years Atlas turned to relying on his system alone to keep his body in shape and it worked, enabling him to look fantastic well into old age.
For more information go to
How to do Dynamic Tension exercises.
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