The opening statement, "...are taking up a no-sweat, no-pain system of muscle building," is somewhat misleading. If one performed the IC exercises with "no-sweat, no-pain," he would most likely maintain his present level of strength and endurance. To build up muscles usually requires heavy resistance to increase strength, many repetitions of a light resistance to increase endurance. Either type of exercise (isometric or isotonic) to build up muscle has one sweating and, usually, is a bit uncomfortable to perform. Also, Dr. Karpovich's statement, "Isometric contraction will not build up endurance and stamina," needs to be qualified to be correct.
JAMES M. SAWYERS
"There is nothing new under the sun." Sixty-odd years ago I saw Sandow—or was it George Hackenschmidt, the "Russian Lion"—flip a coin over with one of his abdominal muscles while lying on his back. If that wasn't a demonstration of isometric contraction, what was it? My unuttered slogan for the past several years has been, "You can keep in shape in a phone booth."
JOSEPH P. McENERY
Great Barrington, Mass.
The one person directly responsible for developing the theory and basic research that has led to broad use of this exercise concept is Dr. Erich A. M�ller, M.D., of the Max Planck Institute of Work Physiology, Dortmund, Germany. Dr. M�ller first began experimenting with this exercise concept about 1952, and publications of his work appeared in Arbeitsphysiologie. In 1957 it was published as "The Regulation of Muscular Strength," in the Journal of Physical and Mental Rehabilitation, March-April issue. This was the first English translation of all of his work. From this stem all of the concepts that we read about in this country today.
KARL K. KLEIN
My own first experience with isometric exercising in general was as an instructor in the British army 20 years ago, and no equipment was used or needed to obtain substantial results. It is our experience that true isometric exercising derives its major purpose and worth from the fact that no equipment is necessary, or even desirable; that it can be done anywhere, without undue fatigue or strain; and that the contractions leading to balanced muscular development are obtained merely by holding the body itself in various simple postures, each for a few seconds.
You may be interested to know that some of us in the Marine Corps were working with isometric exercises as early as 1958. The original research which popularized this form of conditioning was done by Dr. Erich A. M�ller, M.D., of Dortmund, Germany. The late Charles H. McCloy, Ph.D., of Iowa University, one of this country's foremost physiologists, became interested in Dr. M�ller's work and did a considerable amount of the original research on it in the U.S., especially at Parris Island Marine Base.
Additionally, we are developing an isometric program for grade school children in response to the national plea from the President's Council on Youth Fitness. This photo illustrates one of a series of movements we are working with here at Camp Pendleton. Lieut. John Terpak, former University of Pennsylvania halfback, is performing the squat movement for strengthening the legs (as I look on).
GEORGE E. OTTOT