Isometric exercises consist of movements that involve isometric contraction. There are three different types of muscle contraction, including:
Concentric movements involve the muscle shortening as it works, i.e., the curling phase of bicep curls. Eccentric actions lengthen the muscles as they work, i.e., the lowering stage of bicep curls.
Isometric exercises require us to exert muscle force without moving! Basically, we have to hold the contraction without any movement of our joints.
There are two types of isometric contractions.
- One requires us to hold positions isometrically.
- The second one requires us to push isometrically.
When we contract our muscles isometrically, we don’t move our limbs, lengthen, or shorten our muscle fibers. The joining is considered static. Even when we’re not moving muscles through their range of motion, the fibers are still activated and firing in response to the resistance.
The wall sit is an excellent example of an isometric exercise. After the squat, we hold the position isometrically for 30 to 60 seconds before we stand.
Top 4 Benefits of Isometric Exercises
Incorporating isometric exercises into our regular workout routine allows us to strengthen our muscles. They can assist in injury recovery and potentially prevent future injuries.
- Targeting Specific Muscle Groups: Isometric exercises are excellent in situations when we want to focus on one specific group of muscles. This is because these movements allow those muscles to contract without any other muscles being involved.
- Improves Performance in Some Sports: A variety of fitness classes, physical activities, and sports require static muscle strength. Rock climbing, Judo, yoga, and gymnastic require static muscle contraction or isometrics.
- No Special Equipment Necessary: All we need to do isometric exercises is our body weight, a sturdy and stable surface to press our weight against, and the space to comfortably perform the moves. You can add barbells, bands, or dumbbells as a form of resistance!
One of the easiest ways to include isometric exercises into a workout routine is to incorporate a couple of movements that only require a stable surface for resistance and our body weight. The list below includes several basic isometric exercises to get started with.
- Wall Sit: This movement works the glutes, quads, and calf muscles. While the hamstrings benefit from the exercise, they play a lesser role.
- Plank Holds: Plank holds target our core muscles, including our abdominal. Our shoulders, arms, and glutes also get a bit of work.
- Side Planks: This is a variation of the traditional plank. Side planks work our glutes, obliques, and shoulders.
- Hollow Body Hold: Our abs, hips, quads, and adductor muscles are targeted with this isometric exercise.
- Glute Bridges: Glute bridges target our abs, hamstrings, and of course, our gluteal muscles.
- Calf Raise Hold: Our coleus and gastrocnemius, calf muscles, do all the work and reap the benefits of this move.
- We can turn several exercises into isometrics by holding the position instead of using multiple reps.
Isometric exercises are excellent for many workouts and rehabilitation facility programs. They generally require minimal space, no equipment is necessary, and they’re easy exercises to perform in various settings.