Isometric Exercises - Are You Doing Them?
Isometric exercises are performed when the muscle length remains the same for the whole period of time that you perform the exercise. They involve the tensing of the muscle without ever actually moving it. In other words you are simply flexing a muscle as hard as you can. An isometric exercise could be holding one particular pose such as a squat with your muscles engaged and it could also be pushing against a non-moving object such as a wall.
Isometric exercises are an awesome way to train as they do not add stress to the joints and are often used in rehabilitation and strength work, plus most can be done without any equipment and with little time! A complete bonus if you want to train at home.
The plank is a core isometric exercise and is probably the most popular isometric exercise as it is extremely effective at working the abdominal and lower back muscles. Holding a squat is another that is regularly used in fitness classes!
One of the best things about isometric exercises is that they help to improve muscle strength and muscle size. Part of the reason as to why isometric exercises are vital for strengthening muscles is because of the increased tension that your muscles experience. During isometric training the body is able to recruit almost all of its motor units. Motor units are comprised of a motor neuron and skeletal muscle fibres—groups of motor units that work together to coordinate the contractions of a single muscle, helping to build strength in movements that require large muscle contractions.
Give some of the following isometric exercises a shot, add them to your workout or complete them on their own at home or in the garden:
Find a wall and squat down until your knees are at 90 degrees and your thighs are parallel to the floor. Get your back flat against the wall. Hold this position for as long as possible, embrace the pain as your quads start to burn! Rest for 2 mins and then repeat 2-3 more times.
From the plank starting position of the push up, lower yourself until you are about halfway to the floor. Hold this position for 20-30 seconds, than rest for 1 minute and repeat 3-5 times.
From the lunge starting position, lower yourself until your knee is about halfway to the floor. Hold this position for 30-60 seconds, than rest for 1 minute and repeat 3-5 times.
Hold a straight arm plank or a plank on your forearms and once you have a straight back, squeezing your bum muscles and keeping your hips from dropping or bum from rising in the air, hold a plank for 20-60 seconds. Rest for 1 minute and repeat 3-5 times.