Isometric exercises are exercises where your muscles get contracted without moving adjacent joints. Isometric exercises are beneficial for strengthening your physical endurance and posture. These exercises also stabilize your muscles.
Types Of Muscle Contraction
There are primarily two types of muscle contraction and they are isotonic and isometric.
This type of contraction occurs when muscles become shorter or longer against resistance, but the tension remains the same.
On the other hand, this type of contraction happens when tension surges but the muscle remains at a constant length.
During isometric exercises, your joints will remain still, and the muscles will not change shape or size. Most people can usually hold isometric contractions only for a few seconds or minutes.
Since you are holding your muscle contraction, hence this allows the muscle tissue to get filled up with blood and creates metabolic stress on the muscle. This will enhance your strength and endurance. You can easily perform this type of exercise without any equipment. You can incorporate these exercises into your weight lifting exercises.
Some Benefits of Isometric Exercises
Let’s take a look at some of the prime benefits of isometric exercises.
- These exercises are beneficial for activating various muscle fibers at once
- You can perform these exercises with good form as compared to other dynamic movements, such as squats
- These are even useful for people who are suffering from injuries or medical conditions that confine movement. A study was conducted in 2012 and revealed that isometric exercises are beneficial for people with osteoarthritis.
- Several medical studies have also claimed that isometric exercise training is effective in reducing blood pressure.
- Another study was performed in 2015 and according to it; these exercises will uplift your muscle stability and thereby, help you to hold your weight over longer periods.
- Many experts also believe that isometric exercises will give you relief from lower back pain, osteoarthritis, and neck pain.
Let’s take a look at some of the isometric exercise examples
1. Wall Sit
This simple and comfortable exercise enhances your muscle endurance in the thighs without hurting your lower back muscles. To make a wall sit,
- You need to stand around 2 feet in front of a wall and separate your feet shoulder-width
- Gently bend down into a sitting position and rest your back flat against the wall
- Bend down your knees (to a 90-degree angle) like sitting on a chair
- Hold this position as much as you are comfortable.
2. Side Plank
This is an amazing exercise that engages the oblique that you find on the sides of your midsection. You just only need a yoga mat to perform this exercise. This workout is ideal for your oblique, spinal stabilizers, quadriceps, glutes, serratus anterior, shoulder stabilizers, and hip abductors. To perform a side plank,
- First, you need to lie down with your legs straight. Now, keep your hips, knees, and feet weighted.
- Bending your left elbow, try to place your forearm on the ground under your shoulder.
- Push your left forearm into the ground and lift your torso and hips above the ground.
- Tightly hold your core and make a straight line from head to heel
- Now, raise your right arm straight into the air, or put it by your side.
- Hold for 10 seconds for this posture. Then, switch sides.
3. Low Squat
A low squat is another example of isometric exercise. This is ideal for muscles like the quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings. You can perform this exercise without any equipment.
- Stand with your feet and make your hip-width apart
- Keep your hands straight out in front of you
- Now, gently push your hips back into a sitting position and bend your knees
- Continue to bend down until your butt is slightly below knee level. If you can’t go down further, then lower your thighs until they are parallel with the floor.
- Now, wait for 10 seconds and return to the original position
- Perform this isometric contraction exercise 4 to 5 times
4. Glute Bridge
This exercise is ideal for those who want to enhance the strength of their backside. Your yoga mat will be sufficient for this exercise. This exercise is ideal for hamstring, glutes, and core muscles. To perform this posture,
- You need to lie down with your knees bent and keep your arms by your sides.
- Keep your heels around 12–16 inches from your butt
- Now, pressing your heels, brace your core.
- By squeezing your glutes, push your pelvis upwards. Ensure that your ribs don’t flicker during this movement.
- Keep your tailbone slightly placed, your abdominals engaged, and your feet flat on the floor.
- You start feeling fatigued in your glutes and hamstrings
- Hold for 30 seconds and do it 3-5 times
This exercise builds your core strength. No equipment is needed to perform this posture. This exercise works for muscles like abdominals and hip flexors.
- Lie down on your bottom with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
- Now, straighten your legs to take your feet off the floor and make a“V” shape with your body and legs.
- To make the exercise convenient, you can keep your arms by your side or you may reach them straight overhead to make it harder.
- Keep your back straight and don’t round your shoulders.
- Breathe slowly through the exercise.
- If you can’t hold for long on your straight-leg position, you can bend your knees to lengthen your back and now, try to engage more with your abdominals
- Wait for 15 seconds or as much as possible for you
- Perform it 2-3 times
The Bottom Line
Isometric exercises make your muscles tense without moving surrounding joints. If you want to build muscle endurance, then these will be ideal for you. Isometric exercises are also beneficial and suitable for people who are suffering from injuries and other medical conditions. Try to include isometric stretching exercises into your daily regime to enhance your muscle performance.