Isometric exercise is the practice of strengthening muscles through resistance, but it’s hardly a new idea. The word itself dates to the 1800s, but the practice of isometric exercise is probably thousands of years old. But perhaps it’s true that everything old becomes new again because isometrics are quickly becoming one of the hottest exercise trends of the year.
Isometric exercise has been a foundation of many exercises trends. Yoga and forms of pilates use isometrics to strengthen and tone muscles. Isometric exercise, also known as isometrics, is a type of strength training in which the joint angle and muscle length do not change during contraction. Isometrics are done in static positions, rather than being dynamic through a range of motion. Planking is a form of isometric exercise that has become ubiquitous in many workout programs. Now, it’s back to basics when it comes to isometrics. Forget the fancy names. This old exercise method is new again, and super trendy.
How It Works
Press the palms of your hands together, and push them against each other with as much force as you can muster while staying as still as possible. Count to 10. That’s isometrics. To perform it, you use resistance and force in your own body to work out specific muscles.
While you’re tensing your muscles, the natural tendency is to hold your breath, so remember to breathe! Stay aware of your breathing while you do your exercises. Breathing through this exercise can help deepen the exercise as well.
If you have a desk job or spend a lot of time sitting, sit upright on the edge of your chair and grasp the armrests or the edges of the seat pad. Next, pull your stomach up and in as far as possible. Think of pulling your belly button toward your spine. Hold that position for the count of five to ten, then release. Do five to eight repetitions.
What’s so great about isometrics? Not only can you perform these exercises without equipment or machinery, but you also don’t need a special place to do them. Isometrics also put very little stress on your joints while helping strengthen ligaments, tendons, and muscles. Isometrics can also be used to prevent disuse syndrome in a limb that has been immobilized by a cast following a fracture. Consult with your doctor before doing exercises if you are in physical recovery.
Full Body Workout
Isometrics isn’t the end-all answer to your fitness needs. An isometric workout doesn’t increase your heart rate or help you burn fat. It’s also not the most effective way you can build strength. Since the exercises are performed from a stationary position, you will only be strengthening muscles in one position. You have to perform a range of exercises to get a well-rounded strength workout.
Isometrics are a good way to squeeze a little strengthening and toning into a hectic day. Do them while you’re at a red light, waiting in line or sitting at your desk at work. Don’t use them as your only exercise, but do use them to get that little extra tone you’ve been looking for!