If you have ever been to a yoga or pilates class, or generally know what yoga or pilates looks like. Then you would have a basic idea about what isometric exercises are. I have met quite a few people who roll their eyes at yoga when you express how tired you are at the end of a class. Once they try yoga or pilates class, however, they get a better idea of the power of isometric workouts for strength training and full body conditioning.

What Is An Isometric Exercise Program

Isometric exercises are exercises which work the muscles without flowing through a range of motion. The muscles remain in a static contraction and demand the muscle to use tension while in a posture without movement.  When practising exercise the body is strengthened by contracting the muscles, there are three ways that the muscle groups can be contracted.

  1. Concentric contraction means that your muscles are shortening during the posture.
  2. Eccentric involves the lengthening of the muscle
  3. Isometric is when the muscle neither lengths or shortens

While following your isometric fitness program, you will notice that different postures target different areas of your body. Thus you can engineer the results that you would like to have by practising certain postures more than others. An isometric workout can be great for bodybuilders, powerlifters, for rehabilitation, for toned bodies and overall muscular strength.

Hold as you squat and feel the burn
Paused Squats make perfect isometric ab postures. Photo Source: Unsplash

What Are The Benefits Of Isometric Exercise

Everyone is talking about cardio and even weight training but how about Isometrics? This method can be advantageous and can help you to improve your exercise program, your muscle and strength routine and also your overall health.

The benefits for this exercise method are proof enough that you should consider adding isometrics into your routine.

  1. As you get older, you lose muscle tone, the ability to digest essential amino acids and flexibility. But isometric exercises with regular practice can allow you to maintain your muscle strength. In fact, isometric exercises are a necessary kind of strength training for an older person who would like to stay healthy and mobile and for everyone else who would want to avoid muscular decline.
  2. If you have or have had damaged muscles in your lifetime, this method can help you to rehabilitate your Reducing the time for full recovery of your muscles. While it may seem like a good idea to just sit and rest, healing muscles you would like to recover stronger should be trained back into full health. Isometrics are great at this because they don’t put too much strain on your muscles and joints.
  3. Isometric exercise gives you the most significant amount of muscle activation which is what allows you to build stronger muscles. It also programs the muscle to work up to its maximum potential.
  4. Whether you want big bulking muscles or small toned ones, isometric workouts focus on strengthening the muscle from the inside out. The longer that you are able to tense the muscle is the more significant that your muscle growth will be. The more repetitions that you make is, the stronger that your muscles will become. So you really can shape your workout to suit the outcome that you desire.
  5. If you are short on time but really want to work out, you should try isometrics as you get great results in a very short space of time. When compared to cardiovascular exercise, weight lifting or bodyweight exercises, Isometrics shine through as having a big return for very little time commitment.
  6. Hooray! You can do these exercise anywhere because the only thing that is required is you. No equipment required.
  7. Another reason that this type of exercise also saves you time is that it targets all of the major muscle groups in your body. This is the true king of full body All you need to do is hold your pose while pushing against an immovable object which most of the time will be a wall or the floor.
  8. If the above wasn’t enough to convince you, isometric training is also a kind of resistance training. In certain positions, your body acts as a weight with gravity which adds When you remember to incorporate them this will improve the flexibility of your body.
  9. This one is not exclusive to isometric exercises, and all types of exercise can claim this. Here goes! Practising this workout will fill you with endorphins. Endorphins are the happy chemical which helps you get rid of depression, stress and sadness.
Plank engages the core
Advanced plank pose is the ultimate isometric ab exercise. Photo Source: Unsplash

What Are The Disadvantages Of Isometric Exercise

Of course, there are always two sides to every story and while the benefits certainly far outshine the disadvantages. It is worth looking at the weaknesses of Isometric exercise.

  1. When you compare isotonic exercises like weight lifting with isometrics. Isotonic exercises always win, as they help you to gain a full range of strength and also supports maintained strength. Isometric workouts tend to strengthen the muscle based on one angle only.
  2. Isometrics do put some stress on your arteries and your heart. Which makes this potentially unsafe for people with heart conditions or high blood pressure.

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How To Do An Isometric Exercise Workout?

If you work out regularly, then you probably know something about how to put a workout routine together. But as you know isometric workouts require holds with no movement.

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The Rules To Ace Any Isometric Workouts:

  1. Keeping your muscles active for the duration of the posture is essential, so squeeze your muscles tightly.
  2. You must remember to breathe, it is a good idea to take deep breaths. Breathe in slowly to the count of 5 and breathe out slowly to the count of 5. This ensures your muscles are getting the oxygen they need in between holds.
  3. Your form is everything in isometrics, make sure to take your time to focus on your form and getting the posture just right.
  4. Don’t just use isometrics as your only workout. For good health make sure to be practising a variety of exercise types. All exercises have value and can help you come closer to your ideal body and achieve your fitness goals.

Example Of Isometric Shoulder Exercises

Having strong shoulders is essential if you hope to have good quality mobility in the arms. This can help you with everything from carrying the heavy shopping home to lifting weights.

Shoulder raises are a tremendous isometric exercise to include in your fitness workout. To make sure that your shoulders remain flexible and have full mobility. You should incorporate shoulder holds into your daily routine.

How Do I Do The Shoulder Raise?

  1. Standing upright with your feet facing the direction that you are facing and together.
  2. Become aware of your shoulders and let your shoulders relax fully.
  3. If you need to shrug them to release any tension, do so.
  4. Without bending your arms or elbows, raise your shoulders to your ears and hold for 10-15 seconds
  5. Bring them back down again slowly and stopping in the resting posture.
  6. Relax for a few seconds and then repeat.

Shoulder Raises Best Practice Is:

  1. To make it more challenging hold dumbbells in each hand.
  2. Look straight ahead and level your head on your neck.
  3. Stand up straight in a well-balanced
  4. Arms and legs should be straight.
  5. You should be balanced on both legs equally.
Workout anywhere no equipment is needed
Side bends make great isometric shoulder exercises. Photo Source: Unsplash

Example Of Isometrics For Ab Exercises

Having a flat and toned stomach with a 6 pack is the goal of most bodybuilders. When working on your abdominal area, you need a powerful but easy workout to give maximum results. The plank is one of these exercises, which comes from yoga but is actually an isometric posture.

The plank can tone the entire body and doesn’t neglect the abs. This exercise is famous for good reason, and it is one thing that you can find incorporated into many workout routines despite the kind of workout. Yogi’s practice this posture, as well as athletes or bodybuilders, do.

How Do I Do The Plank?

  1. Get down to the floor.
  2. Assume the push-up position.
  3. Tighten your abs, your belly button should be pulled back towards your spine, your limbs and torso should be straight and firmly planted.
  4. Hold the pose for 10 seconds and then

Plank Best Practice Is:

  • Stabilise the surfaces of supporting areas (the feet and the hands).
  • It is necessary to stretch the legs and raise up off your arms. Don’t slouch.
  • Your body should be as straight as a plank of wood, you bottom sinking in or sticking out.
  • It is necessary to get into and out of this posture slowly.

If you want to know more about how to implement isometric exercises into your workout routine. Contact a personal trainer or gym instructor who will guide you, on how to build your perfect method to achieve the result that you are looking for.

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Ava is a dedicated world traveller, motivated to see, explore and experience the world and culture first hand. She has followed her dream of travel to over 80 countries worldwide and also excitedly pursues her other hobbies of yoga, painting, and photography.