Studies around the world have continuously found benefits to isometric strength training. Isometric exercises are exercises in which your muscles do not shorten or lengthen during contraction and are proven to engage more muscle fibers and build strength up to 66% faster than lifting weights. At Bullworker, we find using 7-10 second isometric holds using 60%-80% effort is optimal for isometric exercises. This type of contraction allows you to rapidly increase strength while maintaining a safe exercise protocol.
One benefit to isometric strength training techniques is they require little to no movement of your joints yet are still effective methods to build strength. Many doctors and physical therapists encourage isometric strength training for the exceptional development it has for strengthening tendons and ligaments. Therefore, doctors and physical therapists emphasize isometric strength training as part of their patient’s rehabilitation programs. Little joint movement creates a safer exercise to help muscles build without re-injury. This lack of movement in the joints helps people with arthritis perform effective exercises for strength training with minimal pain unlike lifting weights which can cause joint pain.
Isometrics are More Common than You Think
I am positive you have engaged in isometric exercises in some way, shape, or form. Planks and wall sits are two primary examples of isometric exercises that do not use any equipment. You can also perform isometric exercises with free weights, dumbbells, resistance bands, and Bullworker fitness equipment.
Isometric strength training is a scientifically proven tool that you can use as a stand-alone training program and/or add to an existing eccentric or concentric strength training program. It is beneficial to engage in different workouts and “trick” your muscles, so they have the opportunity to adapt to new types of exercises. Avoid plateaus by adding isometrics to your repertoire of strength training, rehabilitation, and physical therapy routines. You will notice amazing results immediately.
In this article, we will highlight our top 5 benefits of isometric exercises. Bullworker fitness equipment is designed for isometric strength training and we feel this knowledge is important for choosing the most appropriate exercise for your body.
5 Benefits to Isometric Strength Training
#1: They Are Safe
Low-impact isometric exercises give you the benefits of exercise without jarring your body and putting stress or damage on other areas like your joints. Isometrics are one of the safest training techniques because you do not have to lift heavy weight or move with high intensity, rather you control the resistance and you control the results.
People that are “healthy” but feel pain from exercising with heavy equipment will find you can use isometrics to work specific muscles without the pain. Example: engaging in squats with free weights can cause pain in the knee joints and lower back from the overload of weight or incorrect form. A simple solution and replacement exercise would be isometric wall sits that can reduce discomfort due to the static hold rather than weight overload and constant movement.
#2: Convenience (little to no equipment necessary)
Working out at home can be tough if you do not have appropriate equipment or space. Not with isometrics! All you need is your body weight or an immovable object, and education on how isometric exercises work. Here are few examples of isometric exercises to get you started.
1. Isometric wall sit.
2. Isometric lunge.
4. Yoga poses like the side plank.
5. Isometric push up.
Bullworker fitness equipment allows for a much wider range of isometric exercises using customized springs and body weight resistance training. We offer a diverse product line to help people go deeper into their isometric strength training program.
#3: Improve Strength and Flexibility
A recent study compared the level of muscle activation during isometric, concentric, and eccentric muscle exercises. The findings were impressive showing that you can activate over 5% more motor units and muscle fibers during a maximal isometric exercise compared to either a maximal eccentric (lowering) or maximal concentric (lifting) exercise; the results showed 95.2% muscle activation for isometric exercises compared to 88.3% muscle activation for the eccentric and 89.7% muscle activation for the concentric movement.
What do all of those numbers mean? It means isometric exercises are a more efficient and effective form to building strength and activating your muscle motor units giving you better results in less time.
In addition to isometric exercise being an effective way to improve your strength, isometrics is also a great way to improve your performance, avoid plateaus, and improve your flexibility and range of motion.
There are a significant amount of yoga (and Pilates) positions that are designed to improve strength and flexibility simultaneously by utilizing isometric exercises in the pose or shape. This type of training deepens your stretching and a full range of motion which can help relieve tension and pain.
#4: Happy and Healthy Heart
Isometric exercises can reduce blood pressure and lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and increase good cholesterol (HDL) creating space for a happy and healthy heart.
Cardiovascular health is a key piece to your body functioning properly, decreasing the risk of other health issues, and elevates your physical ability and capacity. Adding isometric exercises to your routine can be beneficial for your daily performance as well as can be an alternative to medication or solving other health issues.
#5: Successful Recovery
Suffering from joint pain, arthritis, or a lingering injury?
Improve your strength and joint health and avoid pain by engaging in isometric exercises.
Rehabilitation and physical therapy programs utilize isometric exercises often to help people recover from injuries. One reason medical professionals like this technique is because patients are able to engage in isometrics to strengthen their muscles without moving their joints. This helps rehabilitate the appropriate strength and muscle growth prior to stretching and contracting the muscle which can lead to further injury. After effectively training, range of motion and flexibility should return in the injured muscles giving you a successful recovery.
There are many more benefits to isometric strength training, but we wanted to highlight a few to get you started. The value of isometric exercises makes your fitness and health simple to accomplish.
Isometrics are safe, convenient, effective, and healing.
Keep your muscles and joints healthy, your heart happy, and your performance sharp and enhanced by utilizing isometric exercises. Try these exercises with Bullworker fitness equipment and really see amazing results. We hope you find this information helpful and beneficial in getting started on your isometric journey! Please leave your questions and comments below and Happy Training!