What Is Isometric Exercise & How To Do Isometric Exercise? - FAQs
It is good to know about Isometric exercises and ways to avoid any risks involved in this form of exercise. How can one know about the principle involved in Isometrics? How many times and how long should it be taken up? Who should avoid this exercise? It is now easy to get all the information and clear any myths about Isometric exercises. Find answers to the most common questions about Isometric exercise in this article.
Watch here how to do isometric exercises:
What is Isometric Exercise?
Exercise involving contractions of muscles without actual movement in them are called Isometric exercises. This uses resistance of any immovable object, such as wall or plank to contract the muscles. Holding muscles for a certain duration will build tension in the muscles and bone joints , which will result in strengthening them.
“Isometric exercise is defined as contraction resulting from tension developed in muscles without any change in length.”
Example of Isometric exercise: Using the wall to push yourself. This is the simplest form of Isometric exercise. The wall provides necessary resistance and hence tension is developed in the joints of hands and elbows. One can practice this at home. Alternatively, a door frame can be used instead of a wall.
How is Isometric exercise different from dynamic exercise or weightlifting?
Isometric exercises will focus on strengthening the joints and muscles whereas dynamic workouts will affect the whole body. This form of workout is more preferred over dynamic workout, by people who do not have access to gyms or equipments. While weight lifting is the best to build a good body for a body builder, many people cannot spare time for weight training. For such people, isometric exercises present a good option for maintaining a healthy body.
Why is this preferred?
Isometric workouts will maximize strength near joint angles. This does not need one to work out more vigorously tiring themselves, but can be done at ease with any object that offers resistance. Hence this is being opted by more people. There's no need for special equipments, although equipments can enhance the results of Isometric exercises.
What does it do?
Isometric workout gives a person the much needed flexibility and strength, when he or she is involved in work that includes fast body movements. For example Gymnasts will need to have fast reflexes and this needs strong joints and muscles. With a fast paced life, many injuries sustained may be due to lack of flexibility and stiffness in the joints. One can avoid all such discomforts by deploying Isometric exercises coupled with light range of body motion exercises.
What Can I use for Isometric Workout?
One can use many props during workout.
As mentioned earlier, wall is the most commonly used prop. One can use many other types of equipment for the same. Using weights like dumbbells is one aspect that boosts cardiovascular activity thus strengthening heart.
One can also use a simple door frame to work out. Just hold your hands by your side and press yourself hard onto the door frame. Do this 5 to 10 times.
A plank used for Isometric exercise will engage most of the muscles when working out for abdominal muscles. This can be used to strengthen abs and spine.
One can simply do Isometric squats to work out all muscles of legs and thighs.
Method: Just stand erect with your back to the wall pressing it hard. Give a gap of shoulder length in between the legs. Slide down with your back still pressing the wall. Make your thighs parallel to the floor, taking care that knees do not cross the toes. Hold onto this position for a while. Repeat for at-least 2 or 3 times.
Isometric exercise to improve calf muscles can be included in your exercise regimen.
Method: In this work out, one has to stand on one foot near a wall. This wall must be used for balancing purposes alone and not to lean or press. Slowly shift your balance on to your toes taking care not to hurt yourself. When you experience contractions and not pain, you can hold on to it for a specific amount of time. Do the same for other feet. Repeat whole exercise at least twice.
How well can I use Planks for Isometric exercises?
Planks can be used to strengthen stomach muscles as well as abs and chest. There are various types of planks for each. One can use the full plank for stomach muscle strengthening. The other types include moving side plank and a leg plank.
1. a. For strong abs, one can use a side plank and position oneself on their elbow with one foot ahead of other and resting all body weight on the elbow. Other hand must be on the hips. Body must not be touching the plank yet.
b. Slowly lower yourself, in a way that only hips touch the plank and you feel contractions in the leg near the plank. One has to hold on to this position as long as they can, taking care that there is no pain in any part of the body. However you can feel the muscles being stretched out during this procedure.
2. If one has already mastered this they can proceed to next level of difficulty by stacking one feet over the other.
3. One can also choose to apply variations for these by using hand instead of elbows. One must keep in mind that there is no pain associated in this exercise. If at any point during the work out a person is experiencing pain, it is better to stop doing it and consult an expert.
4. Other variation in Plank exercise is to balance all weight on toes and elbows, initially. Then slowly raising one leg to feel the contractions in the pelvis region, hold on to it and then repeat with other leg.
5. This form of plank exercise helps one in core stabilization thus relieving one of back aches due to inactivity and wrong postures.
Can I use weights along with Isometric workout?
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Isometric exercise can be combined with weight training methods to get best results. For example, consider Isometric shoulder raises, using weights. Here, isometric techniques are coupled with weights.
One has to hold dumbbells in both hands and lift each arm to shoulder length, taking care that shoulders are parallel to floor. One can hold this posture for about 30 seconds and repeat it twice or thrice to strengthen shoulder muscles and joints.
How long should I do an Isometric exercise?
Isometric exercises need not be done for hours together. One has to increase the level of intensity with each technique to attain good results. Generally one can hold on to the postures for a minute or even up to five minutes. One must hold on to peak contractions for at-least 2 seconds though five seconds is better. Doing this exercise daily will give more flexibility to your joints.
How many times do I have to work out to attain good results?
When doing a particular isometric exercise, one has to repeat it three to ten times. This really works the muscles, joints and gives good results.
What are functional Isometrics?
Isometric exercise that uses weight training devices to enhance results is called functional Isometrics.
What are the best Isometric exercises that can be performed easily?
These exercises can be done on all the muscles of a body. But best exercises concentrates on most important needs like shoulder joints, elbows, etc.
Contracting shoulder muscles: It is better to do this one standing.
Right fist must be clenched firmly with left hand holding right wrist very firmly.
Push the right hand upwards and at the same time resist it with left hand. Hold the tension between 2 to 5 seconds.
Repeat this procedure for the other hand.
Biceps -Curl: Stand in a pose as is to show off your biceps, by bending your right arm at elbow.
Hold your right arm with left and contract your muscles as intensely as possible. Hold on the intense tension phase for 2 seconds.
Repeat this procedure for the other arm.
Do I have to warm up before pursuing Isometric exercises?
One should not perform Isometric workouts without warming up. Stretching exercises will help one loosen out the muscles and hence give more stability when doing these exercises. This also means a good workout and it's better to do stretching exercises for at-least 5 minutes.
How to use body weight for performing Isometric exercise?
One can use body weight to their advantage when performing these exercises. For example pushups, wall pushups or pull-ups are techniques of using body weight. Simple body weight isometric techniques are explained as under:
Push Ups: Improves flexibility in upper body, chest, arms and shoulder girdle.
Method: Lie down on floor and take support only from legs and arms. Do not let the knees touch the ground.
Slowly raise yourself by straightening elbows, and hold onto this posture for single moment.
Lower yourself slowly to the initial position wherein chest is close to the ground.
Wall Push-ups: Builds strength and Muscles in the chest and triceps. This is best for beginners who are unable to do body pushups.
Method: Stand erect in front of a wall about 2 or 4 feet away.
Then lean towards wall and place hands with palms touching the wall.
Push yourself into standing position by making use of hands.
Can I perform Isometric exercise with equipments?
Functional isometrics does not involve only weight training but also other equipments. They can be used in conjunction with Isometric postures. Main aim is to pause holding the tension building up in the muscles and one can easily use equipments for the same.
Who should not perform this exercise?
People with high blood pressure must take advice from a health expert before opting for Isometric Exercises. This method aids in increasing blood pressure and hence it's recommended to avoid this if you have a history of high blood pressure.
Are there any cons associated with this method of exercise?
The only con is that, it cannot be completely relied on for an exercise schedule as it's considered to be a part of an exercise regime. Isometric exercises are a good way to maintain health without having to work out hard, which is an advantageous prospect. It's important to consult an expert for any clarifications or advices regarding the exercises mentioned above or any type of work-out for that matter.
Isometric Exercises Video:
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