Isometric Exercise

Isometric Exercise

Will Isometric Exercise Help Keep You Fit?

Isometric exercise woman

What if you could do an effective exercise anywhere you happen to be, in just a few seconds, and without any additional equipment? You can do exactly that with isometric exercise! These powerful exercises are designed to help you tone your muscles and gain strength without needing to participate in long, high-impact workouts. Isometric exercises can be utilized as part of other workouts, including HIIT workouts and strength training workouts.

Isometrics 101

Isometric exercise has been around since the 19th century. NASA has researched the use of isometrics in preventing muscle atrophy experienced by astronauts as a result of living in a zero gravity environment. Isometric exercises are classified as any exercise where the joint angle and muscle length do not change at any point during contraction. Essentially, that means exercises where you are in a static pose and engaging specific muscles, instead of moving and engaging a number of muscles through dynamic exercises.

The Benefits of Isometric Exercise

These exercises are also unique because you can practice them just about anywhere without the use of special equipment or weights. Keep up your fitness routine even when you travel, are at the office, or waiting in line at the DMV. Okay, maybe that last one would be kind of weird, but you really can do these exercises just about anywhere and in very little space.

  • Convenience – You can strength train at any time or place without special equipment.
  • Perfect for All Skill Levels – Because isometric exercises are not strenuous or high-impact, they are appropriate for people of all skill levels, including people who are recovering from injury, avid fitness enthusiasts and the elderly. They can also improve joint strength and balance, making them especially useful for older populations.
  • Improve Health – Studies have shown that isometric exercises can reduce blood pressure, improve mood, improve connective tissue and help increase confidence.
  • Get Specific – Isometric exercises allow you to focus on specific muscles and areas of your body, instead of more general workouts.
  • More Challenging – In some ways, isometric exercises can actually be more challenging than traditional exercises. Try holding a pushup at the top or bottom, and you will quickly discover how tricky it can be to perform certain exercises!

Isometric Exercises to Add to Your Workout

Isometric exercise man

  • Wall Sit – Walk to the wall and stand with your back against it. Place your feet in front of you and squat down against the wall, while keeping your feet shoulder-width apart. Place your head against the wall and hold the position until you feel the burn. Push against your heels to return to the starting position and repeat! This might be just the thing for the DMV ... or waiting in line at the movies.
  • Isometric Hang – Find a platform or bench underneath a pull-up bar. Grab the bar using an overhand grip and keep your hands a shoulder-width apart. Push your shoulder blades down and back while tensing your core and back. Slowly raise your feet off of the bench or platform and place them in front of you. Your body should be in the shape of a “C.” Squeeze your glutes and hold the position for as long as you can keep your body tense.
  • Single-Leg Stand – Stand up tall with your feet together. Slowly transfer your weight to one leg and extend the other in front of you, slightly off the floor. If you need to hold out your arms for balance, that’s fine! Bend the knee and hip of the leg touching the ground and focus on pressing all four corners of the foot into the floor. Keep the majority of the weight on the heel, and hold the position for as long as you can.

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If you'd like to learn more about adding isometric exercise to your fitness routine, and you'd like to discuss your goals with a professional, we work with hundreds of personal trainers and fitness coaches and we're happy to offer a referral to one that suits you. If you're looking for a great selection of fitness equipment and accessories, we carry the top brands to fit every goal and budget. And, for some great advice about equipment and accessories, don't forget to check out Tim's best-selling book, Fitness Equipment – A Shopper's Guide, available at Amazon and other online book sellers as well as in our store.

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