There are many different ways to strength train. Some are looking to bulk up their biceps, some want to be able to rip through a phone book with their bare hands, and some just want to be able to move at all. Whatever the motivation, there numerous ways to reach the goal. Isometric exercising is one of them.
Isometric exercises are performed in a static position. This basically means they are done while the body is not moving. Planks and wall sits are two examples of isometric exercises that are common in many exercise routines. Almost any body part can be isometrically exercised; all that is needed is a wall, table or doorway that can be used as a stable force. If none of those are available the opposite arm or leg can be used, but that is a little trickier to master.
Isometric Strength Training
After an injury has occurred, or post operatively, isometric exercises can be the first step to recovery. These strength exercises are a good way to maintain muscle tone without stressing the joints surrounding that muscle. For example, after a total knee replacement, the joint may be immobilized for a short period of time, but doing isometric contractions with the quads and hamstrings can prevent excessive atrophying.
Target Specific Body Parts When Using Isometrics
The body can be broken into sections for static training the same way it can be for typical strength training. When training the core, use isometric abdominal exercises. A plank is one form, and there are many variations of planks that can be used. When focusing on the upper body, separate the parts into chest, back, neck, shoulder, upper arm, forearm, wrist, and hand. This will simplify the strength training and ensure each part gets the attention needed to ensure a proper technique is used. The lower body can separated into lower back, glutes, hamstrings, quads, calves, and foot.
Whether doing shoulder exercises, lower body or ab exercises, isometric training can be beneficial on many levels. Beginners can use isometrics to train the body to perform an exercise correctly and veteran gym rats can use them to promote muscle growth in a new fashion. This may be the change needed to overcome a plateau so weight loss and muscle gain can commence. For those wanting to retrain muscles for functional goals, isometrics are the perfect initial exercise. The muscles can begin to strengthen without compromising the condition that caused the strength deficit. At the end of the day, they are worth a shot. With all of the new exercise fads on the market the simplest ones may often be overlooked, but it may be the best one of all.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be used for diagnosis or to guide treatment without the opinion of a health professional. Any reader who is concerned about his or her health should contact a doctor for advice.