Isometric exercises are generally performed with one goal in mind – to build strength. As a result of the focus on one muscle at a time, many people ask, “Are isometric moves truly reliable for building strength?”
For many people, these moves are great. But for some, the perks of these exercises don’t seem really clear. Whether you’re doing wall sits or planks, your ultimate purpose should be strength training for the particular muscles involved. And since joints don’t move when you engage in isometric exercises, you’ll need to learn how to stay focused.
So, the essence of isometric moves is to maintain a static hold which affects one muscle at a time. To get an all-round experience, you’ll have to work one muscle after the other. This way, your muscles can learn to be stable in specific spots and contract at the same time.
This post takes you through the benefits of isometric exercises and how these moves help in building strength – both physically and mentally. Also, you’ll learn the various isometric exercises you can engage in to boost your endurance levels and achieve greater results with your typical workout routine.
What Makes Isometric Exercises Necessary?
Isometrics has a long history which many men in the early 1970s can relate with. However, not many people appreciated the idea of keeping a position and repeating that action. It made sense that muscles required movement to grow bigger and stronger.
Despite this, many fitness experts and scientists have tried to explain the several advantages of engaging in isometric exercises. From injury recovery, building strength to lowering blood pressure, isometric moves are reputed to improve physical performance.
In fact, MedlinePlus states that isometric exercises have a positive influence on strength training (also known as anaerobic exercise) in that muscles and bones are strengthened. Equally, this study found a connection between various isometric exercises and the strengthening of local bones in a bid to correct distal tibial stress fractures.
Benefits of Isometric Training
Applying isometric exercises to major health issues underlines the importance of these moves in correcting bone concerns. Nonetheless, the key advantages of isometric moves are as follows:
- Isometric moves are great for strengthening the shoulder after injuries which disrupt your ability to move your shoulders with ease. Therapists believe that isometric exercises are ideal for the recovery of a certain muscle or a group of muscles. More than this, several knee injuries can be fixed by merely squeezing your quads at specific angles without moving your joints. Whether you bend or straighten your knees for 10-30 seconds, you won’t be adding any weight to complicate the pain. Instead, the static holds and contractions will provide some relief for the affected areas on the long run.
- Also, arthritis can be managed with isometric exercises. Arthritis comes with so much difficulty and pain which make it difficult for a person to move joints. However, performing isometric training will improve their strength for actual muscles. Overtime, a person with arthritis can add other forms of isometric moves to their recovery routine to improve the function of the affected muscles.
- By building tension in a particular muscle, you learn to bear the pain you feel and concentrate on growing that muscle. Such static holds don’t lengthen or reduce muscles. Instead, they force you to discipline your body so that a specific muscle or groups of muscles are strengthened during the few minutes of staying still.
- Besides building endurance, isometric exercises have a mental impact. As a result of your ability to hold firm and ignore your body’s cry to take a break, your mind learns to concentrate on the moment. After gaining mental awareness of the impact of isometric exercises, you can gradually increase the time you spend in a specific pose. In addition, you raise your lactic acid tolerance and experience that burning feeling in your muscles. No doubt, this is a confirmation that you’re doing all right.
- Isometric moves are equally one of the best warm-ups for workout routines. Of course, these exercises shouldn’t be done in isolation since they would be too intense for a whole workout. But you can make them the first part of your exercise program to prepare your muscles for tougher moves. Likewise, you can add planks, for instance, to the end of your workouts to introduce the perfect sensation that comes with a higher level of the lactic compound.
- Another basic influence of isometrics is posture repair. Many times, work keeps us busy at our desks for a long time. Such long sits could hurt our lower back or neck. For one, if you’re looking to protect your trunk from getting out of shape, you’ll need to engage in isometric moves such as squats, planks, and deadlifts.
Practical Advice Needed for Isometric Training
For many men who perform isometric exercises, this training comes quite easy. Usually, all you need to do is stay still in a single position and breathe in deeply.
You also want to time yourself to determine how long you can hold a position for. However, if you’re new to these moves, you might want to learn the best ways to do isometric moves.
Also, it’s important that you get used to the specific isometric training which affects the muscles you’re most interested in. If you’re focusing on your core muscles or lower back muscles, you should isolate exercises which are designed to add pressure to these areas.
Another key thing you mustn’t ignore is the ability to concentrate. Staying focused while you hold a static move is essential to doing these moves right. Your mind needs to be in connection with your body as you hold a wall sit or exert a group of muscles.
Such mind-body connection is aimed at empowering you to manage the exhaustion that you typically should feel when you engage in this form of strength training. While some fitness experts disregard the link between the mind and the muscles, it’s true that isometric exercises are perfect for gaining control over your weaker muscles and feeling more in control of any muscle group, irrespective of where you are.
So, in essence, keep the following in mind:
- Stay relaxed while holding a move
- Breathe deeply and ensure that you feel the contraction of your diaphragm
- Intentionally contract the muscle you’re interested in as you hold a position
- Use a timer for accuracy (half a minute to begin)
- Increase your timing for a position as you feel a higher level of strength and endurance.
Most Effective Types of Isometric Moves
- Body Holds are perfect for core muscles. They target your core strength and stability. And you don’t need weights to do them. Simply sit on the floor with your knees bent and your arms raised above your head. Try holding this position for 15-30 minutes, depending on how well your body takes it. You should feel the contractions in your upper and lower back muscles.
- Overhead Holds are better for working your shoulder muscles (anterior and posterior). Usually, you’ll need a weight (try the kettlebell or dumbbell) for a start. Feel free to switch its place as you get better with holding this position. Basically, this isometric move involves standing upright with your arms (which are holding the weights) above your head. Keep your arms raised high and apart and lift one of your legs alternatively as you repeat this in five rounds. Each round should take roughly half a minute.
- Wall Sits are excellent for building strength around your thighs. The goal is essentially to work your glutes, hamstrings, and quads. Best part – you don’t need any weights for this exercise. Stand against a solid wall with some space behind you so that when you bend, you’ll achieve the sitting position you normally have when you sit in a chair. Remain like this for 10-20 seconds and repeat the hold five times.
- Before you engage in any of the isometric exercises described above, consider speaking with your physician to ascertain that these moves are good for you.
- Also, individuals with heart-related problems should avoid doing moves which require deep or heavy breathing as they could raise blood pressure.
- You don’t necessarily need weights when practicing isometrics. You merely have to lean your weight against a surface or an object that provides maximum support for the duration you need (a minute or less).
The Bottom Line
Overall, it’s obvious that isometric exercises go a long way in helping you build strength, gain muscle-mind connection, recover from injuries, fix your posture, and burn calories. On the long run, your reason for engaging in these moves is closely linked to the benefits you’re interested in.
So if your goal is to build strength, always remember to begin your workouts with planks, leg raises or wall sits. And if it’s any of the other reasons, relax, squeeze, and feel that muscle contract! Isometrics might be reputed as ancient moves; yet, they still work a lot of magic today.
To enjoy an additional strength supply, grab a bottle of Nitrocut Pre-Workout Supplement. You’re sure to enjoy a higher level of energy as you work those muscles.