What are isometrics?
“Isometrics” comes from two Greek words, “iso” meaning equal and “metria” meaning measure. Put them together “isometria” and you have equality of measure or equal length. Isometric exercise is the technique engaging your muscles without movement.
Train your muscles in only seconds using isometric strength training techniques, proven to activate more muscle fibers and build strength up to 66% faster than traditional weight lifting.
Now that you know how simple exercise can be – like you do not even have to move simple – let’s look at some benefits of isometric exercise and make your life easier by accomplishing your fitness goals quicker.
20 Benefits of Isometric Exercise
#1 – Effectiveness
The most important benefit is the foundational proof that isometrics are proven to be effective for strength training. Okay now we know they work and work well for building strength, let’s dig into deeper benefits of isometric exercise.
#2 – Save Your Time
Studies show isometrics can strengthen your muscles in as little as 7 seconds per muscle group. In return, you have the strength and time to do the things you enjoy.
#3 – Safe
Isometric exercise is one of the safest strength training techniques you can do. Why? Because, you do not have to lift heavy weight or move / burst with high intensity, rather you control the resistance and you control the results. You have immediate response to your body’s needs.
#4 – Low Impact
A huge benefit of isometric exercise is the low impact isometrics have on your body. Low impact exercise gives you the benefits of exercise without jarring your body and putting stress or damage on other areas like your joints.
#5 – Strengthen Your Connective Tissue (Tendons and Ligaments)
Tendons and ligaments are the parts of your body which hold everything together. The stronger your connective tissue is, the stronger you will be. In addition, the stronger your tendons and ligaments are the less likely your are to be injured.
#6 – Reduced Risk of Injury
Stronger connective tissue and muscles make your body more able to perform and respond to life’s surprises. Many injuries come from surprising slips, falls, or exertion. Isometrics give you the benefit of being able to better respond when accidents may happen or you exert intense movements reducing your risk of injury.
#7 – Improved Flexibility
Another benefit of isometric exercise is improving your flexibility. When you exercise through your entire range of motion, your muscles start to enhance their range of motion.
#8 – Convenience
A beautiful aspect of isometric strength training techniques is you can perform isometric exercises anywhere and with little to no equipment.
#9 – Muscle Coordination and Balance
Isometrics cause your neurotransmitter receptors to fire and communicate with your muscles to engage. When you neurotransmitters receptors fire you are improving your connectivity and coordination throughout your body. In addition, your balance is improved as you become more in control of your body and learn to equalize forces enhancing your muscle and body control.
#10 – Improved Posture
A benefit of isometric exercise and important focus is to concentrate on your form. When performing isometrics you have the luxury to ensure good postural habits due to lack of movement. Generally it is difficult to maintain good posture throughout your day because your postural muscles are weak. Isometric exercise trains your muscles to hold your posture throughout your day, muscle memory.
#11 – Fat Loss
Isometric exercise burns calories and boosts your metabolism aiding in fat loss.
#12 – Reduce Blood Pressure
A benefit to your isometric strength training is the correlation to reducing blood pressure over time.
#13 – Lower Cholesterol
Isometric exercise has shown the ability to reduce your bad cholesterol (LDL) and help with your good cholesterol (HDL).
#14 – Bone Density
Osteoporosis, for most people, is when our bone density starts to decrease in our mid 20’s. Isometric exercise gives you the benefit of combatting this phenomenon resulting in stronger bones which are less prone to fractures.
#15 – Joint Improvement
Isometric exercises do not require movement or impact on your joints which allows for your body to focus on strengthening and improving your joints rather than stress them.
#16 – Arthritis
Your joints remain still during isometric exercise which helps to reduce or eliminate pain caused by arthritis during exercise.
#17 – Rehabilitation
Doctors and physical therapists around the world use the benefits of isometrics for helping you recover from injury. Isometric strength training can be used for preventing surgery by effectively strengthening you to a full recovery, pre surgery to ensure a successful surgery and recovery, and post-surgery for rehabilitation.
#18 – Enhance Performance
The stronger your body, the more you can perform, plain and simple, isometrics are the most effective method to build strength.
#19 – Overcome Plateaus
Plateaus can occur because you are not strong enough in one particular area or joint angle. Isometrics gives you the benefit of focusing on your weakest point in the movement which will help you push or pull passed your troubled areas. In addition, your tendons and ligaments are better strengthened during isometric exercise than with traditional isotonic lifting which helps you overcome plateaus as well.
#20 – Better Breathing
Controlling your breath is critical during isometric exercise. Training your breath during exercise helps translate to proper breathing habits during your daily life which in return gives you many benefits like, posture, stamina, body performance and recovery, and stress relief.
The benefits of isometric exercise is plentiful and though many claim isometric strength training techniques will not help you build muscle mass, recent studies are finding various methods of isometric exercise do indeed help build you muscle’s size. More on this to come in the next part of the series.
Enjoy the Benefits of this 8 Minute Isometric Routine (No Equipment)
When following this routine, focus on Intentional Flexation – the active engagement and concentrated flexing of your targeted muscles – and breathing deeply and steadily using your diaphragm.
This isometric routine will start each exercise with a 7 second isometric hold and finish with a 5 second pulse. Your finishing pulse should be a controlled movement and only move +/- 3 inches. Follow the below exercises as a circuit. A superset is performing each exercise consecutively without a break in between. Listen to your body, if you need a break at any point please take one. Ensure you are drinking water and well hydrated.
Plank (High, Medium, Low)
Start in a pushup position with your hands actively gripping the ground. Keep your back straight, shoulders back, elbows slightly bent, and engage your core. You will perform the 7 second isometric hold followed by a 5 second pulse of +/- 3 inches up and down.
Start in a pushup position with your hands actively gripping the ground. Keep your back straight, shoulders back, elbows bent around 90 degrees, and engage your core. You will perform the 7 second isometric hold followed by the 5 second pulse of +/- 3 inches up and down.
Start in a pushup position and lower until your chest is barely off the ground with your hands actively gripping the ground and elbows near your side. Keep your back straight, shoulders back, and engage your core. You will perform the 7 second isometric hold followed by a 5 second pulse of +/- 3 inches up and down.
Place your forearms parallel to each other in front of you on your mat or ground, spread your fingers to actively grip the ground, keep your back straight, and tighten your core and glutes. After your 7 second isometric hold pulse forward and backward +/- 3 inches.
Place your forearm or hand on the ground with your chest perpendicular to the ground and opposite arm extended towards the sky. Engage your core and keep your hips up. Hold for a 7 second isometric hold and pulse your hips +/- 3 inches up and down. For max benefits of this isometric exercise, ensure you do both sides.
Find a secure structure and place your back flat against the structure. Bend your knees until your thighs are parallel to the ground and maintain this posture for a 7 second isometric hold. Finish by pulsing +/- 3 inches up and down for 5 seconds.
Spread your feet shoulder width apart and bend at your knees until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Ensure you keep your core engaged, back straight, knees behind your toes, and arms up. Hold this pose for a 7 second isometric hold and then pulse for 5 seconds +/- 3 inches up and down.
Split Squat (Crescent Lunge)
Step one leg in front of you and bend your knees until your thigh is parallel to the ground or as deep as you can, keep your knee behind your toes, and hover your back knee just above the ground. Maintain this pose for a 7 second isometric hold and finish with a 5 second pulse +/- 3 inches up and down. For max benefits of this isometric exercise, ensure you do both sides.
Calf Raise (Straight, Out, In)
Stand on your tip of your toes with your feet parallel to each other shoulder width apart for 7 seconds. Finish with a 5 second pulse without letting your heels touch the ground.
Stand on your tip toes with your toes pointed inward toward each other shoulder width apart for 7 seconds. Finish with a 5 second pulse without letting your heels touch the ground.
Stand on your tip of your toes with your toes facing outwards shoulder width apart for 7 seconds. Finish with a 5 second pulse without letting your heels touch the ground.
Bridge Hip Thrust
Lie flat on your back with your shoulders square to the ground. Bend your knees to bring your feet flat on the ground just in front of your hands about hip width apart. Lift up with your legs as high as you can and focus on engaging your glutes. Hold this pose for a 7 second isometric hold and finish with a 5 second pulse +/- 3 inches up and down.
Grab a secure structure that allows you to hang (feet off the ground), keep your shoulders down and active, engage your core, and hold for 7 seconds. Finish with +/- 3 inches of pulsing up and down for 5 seconds.
Continue to hang from your secure structure lift your feet out in front of you trying to get your legs parallel to the ground and hold for 7 seconds. Finish with a 5 second pulse lifting and lowering your legs +/- 3 inches.
Neck (Front, Back, Sides)
Place your hand on your right side of your temple/head and resist as you push into your hand engaging your neck muscles for a 7 second hold.
Alternate by placing your left hand on your left side of your temple/head and resist as you push into your hand engaging your neck muscles for a 7 second hold.
Place your hand(s) on the back of your head and resist as you push into your hand engaging your neck muscles for a 7 second hold.
Place your hand(s) on your forehead and resist as you push into your hand engaging your neck muscles for a 7 second hold.
Prayer Pose (Chest Press)
Place your palms together in front of your chest, keep your elbows parallel to the ground, and press against each hand for a 7 second isometric hold.
Reposition your hands to be in front of your right shoulder, palms against each other, elbows parallel to the ground, and press against each hand for a 7 second isometric hold.
Reposition your hands to be in front of your left shoulder, palms against each other, elbows parallel to the ground, and press against each hand for a 7 second isometric hold.
We hope you enjoyed this quick isometric exercise and see the benefits. Please share with your friends and family and leave your questions and comments below!
*Always consult with your physician prior to engaging in physical activity
Try this total body isometric workout with Bullworker for a more intense option: