Isometric exercises involve isometric contraction. Muscle contraction can be classified into three types:
The muscle shortens as it works in a concentric movement, similar to the curling phase of a biceps curl. An eccentric movement, on the other hand, lengthens the muscles as it works, such as the lowering part of a biceps curl.
An isometric workout, on the other hand, demands you to exert muscle force without moving. In other words, the contraction must be held with no movement at the joint. Isometric contractions are classified into two types: those that demand you to hold a position isometrically and those that require you to push isometrically.
When you contract a muscle isometrically, you don’t move your limbs or lengthen or shorten your muscle fibers; the joint is called static. Even if you aren’t moving a muscle through its full range of motion, the fibers are still being stimulated and firing in response to the resistance.
The wall sit is a superb example of an isometric exercise. You squat and hold the position isometrically for 30 to 60 seconds before standing up.
In your daily tasks, you also conduct isometric contractions. For example, when you carry an object in front of you, such as two or three heavy textbooks, the weight of the books pulls downward. Instead of dropping the books, your hands and arms resist the downward motion with equal intensity. The biceps muscles can now contract isometrically.
Benefits of Isometric Exercises
Isometric exercises, when incorporated into an overall workout regimen, allow you to develop muscles, aid in injury rehabilitation, and maybe help prevent future problems.
- Target specific muscle groups: If you need to isolate a certain group of muscles, such as the quadriceps, an isometric action allows you to contract a specific muscle or muscle group.
- Use your own body weight and a sturdy platform for resistance: Unlike machine-assisted workouts, isometric actions simply require your own body weight, a stable surface to press against, and adequate space to do the exercise. However, as a kind of resistance, you can use dumbbells, barbells, or bands.
- Beneficial in the treatment of injuries: Isometric workouts help you gain strength without putting strain on your joints. As a result, isometric exercises are frequently prescribed as part of an injury recovery regimen.
- Some sports and activities may benefit from it: Static muscle strength is required for a range of sports, athletic activities, and fitness classes. Isometric or static muscle contraction is used in sports such as rock climbing, gymnastics, Judo, yoga, and Pilates.
Furthermore, sports and hobbies such as biking and golf necessitate grip strength, which is an isometric contraction.
- Isometric workouts do not need muscles to work concentrically or eccentrically, limiting the range of motion. As a result, you will not gain strength over the complete range of motion.
- It is possible that it will not be effective for entire body conditioning: Because isometric exercises are performed in a single position, you lose the ability to engage multiple muscle groups at the same time. You will need to perform many exercises if you wish to train more than one muscle group.
How to Do Isometric Exercises
Depending on the activity, you may need to utilize a wall, the floor, or another sort of resistance to hold the contraction. The idea is to locate something stable to push against.
For example, if you wish to exercise the chest muscles isometrically, press your hands together and hold this position for 10 to 30 seconds while the chest muscles contract.
Alternatively, you can get into a push-up position, lower your chest to the floor, and hold this contraction for 10 to 30 seconds.
When you use equipment like a dumbbell, barbell, or exercise band, the resistance becomes the item you’re gripping.
For example, if you’re doing an isometric biceps curl with an exercise band, you’ll start with your arms completely extended and at your sides.
Next, concentrically flex your biceps to bend your elbows until they are at a 90-degree angle and your forearms are parallel to the floor. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds, then lower your arms.
Example of Isometric Exercises
The simplest method to include isometric exercises into your general training program is, to begin with, one or two that require simply bodyweight and a sturdy surface as resistance. Here are seven steps to get you started:
Plank Hold: The plank hold targets the abdominals and other core muscles. It also recruits the glutes, shoulders, and arms.
Hollow Body Hold: The hollow body hold targets the abdominals, quads, hips, and adductor muscles
Several exercises can also be converted into isometric motions by maintaining the position rather than executing multiple repetitions.
A bodyweight squat, for example, can be converted to an isometric squat by simply holding the bottom or squat posture for 30 to 60 seconds. Similarly, a forward lunge in the 90-degree position can be held for 30 to 60 seconds.