What I Love About Isometric Exercises

Isometric exercises are unique strength training exercises because, unlike calisthenics and weight lifting, you don’t actually move your muscles. Rather, you gain strength by contracting your muscles very tightly for a given amount of time. Pressing the palms of your hands together is a perfect example. Another example is standing inside a doorframe and them pushing out. Martial artists like Bruce Lee and body builders like Charles Atlas were known for practicing these kinds of exercises.

When combined with plyometric exercises, isometrics are an incredible strength training exercise routine for athletes, martial artists, and fitness enthusiasts because they workout many muscle groups and lead to functional strength.

Benefits Of Isometric Exercises:

1. The more stress you place on a muscle, the faster it grows. Isometrics places all stress entirely on the muscle fibers and recruit more muscle than typical eccentric/concentric muscle movements. This means that the constant pressure on the muscle promotes greater strength and muscle growth. Because you eliminate the momentum of typical “up” and “down” movements, there have been recorded strength increases of up to 40{ab94462a053a2ab588073f1ce95eb9eb90ee27f61c6d82493022c3820c6de4c9} using isometric strength training exercise.

2. Muscle contractions held for a prolonged time, maximize the effectiveness of your workout. Again, since momentum is the enemy of an effective strength training workout, isometric exercises are ideal, especially when contracting intensely (at 80{ab94462a053a2ab588073f1ce95eb9eb90ee27f61c6d82493022c3820c6de4c9} of capacity or more) for 15 or more seconds.

3. One factor that isometric exercises are criticized for is not building strength throughout an entire range of motion. The truth is that isometric exercises done at awkward angles can dramatically increase the strength, and even carry over to other movements. An example would be doing a bench press and holding the bar an inch above your chest for 15 seconds. In addition, doing “dynamic strength” motions where the muscles are tensed and slowly moved, or doing slow reps while lifting weights eliminates this problem. Additionally, you can do isometrics at multiple angles for the same exercise. The strength increase will be quite significant.

4. Isometric contractions build muscle mass. One experiment found an average muscle size improvement of 12{ab94462a053a2ab588073f1ce95eb9eb90ee27f61c6d82493022c3820c6de4c9} for heavy isometric training and 5{ab94462a053a2ab588073f1ce95eb9eb90ee27f61c6d82493022c3820c6de4c9} with isometric training using weights a training period of 10 weeks.

5. Of course, another great benefit isometric exercise is that it is easy to learn, can be done anywhere, and doesn’t require fancy equipment or expensive gym memberships!

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