Episode 172: Matt Van Dyke and Max Schmarzo - Isometrics for Performance

This episodes guests are Matt Van Dyke form Van Dyke Strength.com and Max Schmarzo from Stronger by Science

Matt Van Dyke is the Associate Director of Applied Sports Science at the University of Texas. With the Longhorns, Matt is responsible for the complete oversight of the football team in regards to the management of training loads and recovery modalities implemented to each individual athlete in order to maximize performance and readiness. You can get his full Bio here.

Max is the Director of Sport Science and Research at Resilience Code, Chief Science Officer of Exsurgo Technologies and founder of StrongbyScience. He has written two books, "Applied Principles of Optimal Power Development" and "Isometrics for Performance".

On this episode the 3 of us discuss:

  • Matt and Max's background and influences 
  • We get into an indepth discussion around the guys book - Isometrics for Performance
  • I ask the guys - how much of an influence was Frans Bosch's work was on their book
  • I ask the guys to layout the different types of isometrics described in the book
  • I ask the guys about how isometrics can be used to improve local metabolite buffering within a target muscle 
  • I ask the guys about how they use isometrics with beginners
  • The guys talk about how isometrics are a powerful means to increase tendon robutness
  • I ask the guys - what do they think is the mechanism behind the performance benefits of long-duration isometrics?
  • I ask the guys to disccuss why an increase in catecholamine release from isometrics can be beneficial?
  • I ask the guys - how do they measure the actual work being done with isometric actions?
  • I ask the guys about the structural, neural, and metabolic adaptations from isometrics
  • Here the guys talk about some really interesting adaptation that isometrics can have on hypertrophy and tendon properties (i.e. tendon stiffness)
  • We get into an indepth discussion on isometrics and tendon adaptations
  • Here the guys talk about how isometrics seem to impact more of the tendon architecture vs tendon CSA (hypertrophy)
  • The guys also talk about about how isometrics can improve a tendons the rate of force moreso then its magnitude 
  • I ask the guys about isometrics beneficial use when dealing with pain and in early rehabilitation 
  • I ask the guys about using isometrics to re-educate the body to express maximal-voluntary-contractions (MVC)
  • The guys talk further about about how isometrics can improve the rate of force transmission (RFT) of tendon's moreso than the magnitude of force/ rate of force development (RFD)
  • We speak about how you could possibly use jump profling to determine if you should do more rate or magnitude contraction work on a given day
  • The guys talk about their use of APRE when prescribing the use isometrics
  • We speak about how elite athletes are superior at relaxing their muscles as well aa contracting them - Max claims he found research in translated Russian sport science book to support this claim
  • I ask the guys who have been their biggest influences 
  • I ask the guys to give their life advice to the listeners
  • I ask the guys, if they could invite 5 people to dinner, dead or alive, who would they invite and why?


This was an outstanding episode and I hope you all enjoy it as much as we did!

Stay Strong,



Show Notes:

Matts Website

Max's Website


Isometrics For Performance

Applied Principles of Optimal Power Development

Triphasic Team Sport Training Manual

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