Just like the Tire Training Exercises, Isometric workouts are another form of strength training exercises, which uses the muscle contractions to enhance strength and endurance. Isometric exercises are mostly low intensity static exercises in which the joint angle and muscle length don’t change much. Resistance in isometric workouts is mostly provided by the person’s own body weight along with occasional use of free weights.
The history of isometric workout is thousands of years old and mention of isometric exercise such as static holds has been seen in ancient yoga and martial arts. Bruce Lee, the master of martial arts himself used to practice these forms of workouts to improve his strength, stamina and control. Presently, isometric workout routine holds an important place in bodybuilding and it is soaring in popularity because of its flexibility and easy approach.
Benefits of Isometric Exercises
Isometric exercises involve the contraction of a specific set of muscles that are effective enough to increase muscle strength and stability. There are several benefits of practicing isometric exercises and being a form of low intensity workout it can be done by almost anyone.
Take Minimal Time – The isometric exercises can be completed in minimal time and require no equipment at all. It uses the weight of the body for strength training.
Improve Flexibility – Regular practice of isometric exercises enhances overall flexibility of the body, thereby minimizing the risk of injuries and strains.
Increase Strength – Isometric workouts are great for boosting strength and lean muscle mass because it is the only form of training that activates almost all the motor units at the same time.
Ideal for Recovery from Injury or Arthritis – Being static and low intensity exercises, isometric workouts are ideal for a person who has suffered injury or is affected by arthritis. Isometric exercise help in stabilizing the particular set of injured muscles and speeds up the recovery process.
10 Best Isometric Exercises to Include in the Isometric Workout Routine
Isometric exercises require very less equipment and can be done at any place and during any time of the day. These exercises help in maintaining strength and it includes strength training exercises for promoting muscle growth through maximum voluntary contraction.
Single and Double Toes
Isometric exercises are included in the best workout programs. These workouts are not only challenging, but also effective in activating all the motor units of the body. The single and double toes move is effective in working and strengthening the ankles, hips, knees and core. Stand straight with feet near to each other.
Now breathe in and go up on your toes as high as you can, hold this pose for a count of 30 seconds to 1 minute and return to the starting position. You can upsurge the difficulty level of this exercise by going up on one toe at a time.
The warrior pose is one of the best isometric exercises that is very close to yoga. This exercise improves overall balance of the body, increases flexibility and enhances the strength of legs, hips, groins and shoulders. Stand straight with your feet slightly apart, now lower your body to a lunge by moving your left foot backward and bending your right leg from the knee.
Keep the left foot straight stretched in the back and slowly lower your body, raise your arms to your sides and keep them in a straight line with the shoulders. Hold this position for 1 minute and return to the starting position. Repeat on the other side.
The wall sitting is one of the most popular isometric workouts that improve the strength and stamina in the lower part of the body, especially the claves, glutes and quadriceps. In addition, it also helps in strengthening the hamstring muscle. Stand upright with your back touching a wall. Now raise your hands straight in front of you and squat down until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
Keep your chest up and core involved at all times and don’t lean forward. Hold this posture for a count of 30 seconds to 1 minute and return to the starting position. Repeat this move 20 to 30 times.
Push Up Hold
The best isometric workout is push up hold that helps in complete conditioning of the upper body – right from the pectoral muscles to the deltoids and triceps. It also helps in toning the chest, shoulders, back muscles and arms. Begin in the plank pose and push your torso up with the help of your arms keeping your core engaged and squeeze your glutes, quads and adductors.
Hold the pose for 5 to 6 seconds at the top then slowly lower your body and hold it at the middle position for 5 to 6 seconds and again hold the pose at the bottom position for 5 to 6 seconds. Repeat the push ups 10 to 15 times at a stretch by pausing at the top, middle and bottom every time.
Pull Up Hold
The pull up hold and push up hold are two important parts of any isometric workout routine. It is a fundamental upper body workout that promotes muscle growth by triggering the release of growth hormones. It specifically targets the back muscles and biceps. Stand under a strong bar that you can grip comfortably. Your palms should be placed shoulder width apart and facing away from you.
Now begin with the dead hang where your arms will be fully extended and your core engaged. Now pull your body up using your upper body muscles and continue to pull up till your chin moves over the bar, hold for 5 to 8 seconds at the top, now move down and hold for another 5 to 8 seconds at the bottom. Hold the entire pose for 30 seconds and repeat again.
Side planks are the easiest of isometric workouts that helps in toning and strengthening the hands, forearms and knees. It targets the obliques, glutes, quadriceps, abductors and hamstrings. Begin by lying on your right side and your upper body resting on the right forearm and your left arm resting at your side.
Now lift your hips from the floor by keeping your core engaged and maintaining the body in a straight line. Hold this stance for a count of 30 seconds to 1 minute and return to the starting position. Repeat the same on the other side. Replicate this move 30 times on each side.
Scapular Wall Hold
The scapular wall hold is a common isometric workout that is included in many workout routines. It helps in working the important muscles of the back and reduces the risk of injuries and strains. Stand straight with your back touching a wall. Move a few inches forward and touch your elbows to the walls by bending them at 90 degrees angle.
Now lean back on the wall while pressing your chest out, but don’t let your back touch the wall. Rest your head on the wall and pinch your shoulder blades back and down while squeezing your glutes and keeping your core engage. Count till 30 seconds and come back to the starting position. Repeat it 10 to 15 times at a stretch.
The Glute Bridge is one of the best workouts that help in improving the flexibility of the pelvis and lower body. It also helps in stabilizing the core muscles and hips and firms the glutes. In addition, it helps to prevent lower back pain and muscle strain. Lie on the mat and bend your knees.
Place your feet on the ground and lift up your torso from the ground as high as you can so that it creates a straight line from the head to the knees. Keep your core involved and squeeze your glutes. Hold your weight on the heels and do not go up on the toes. Hold the pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute and return to the starting position. Repeat this move 10 to 20 times on a stretch.
The bull dog pose is a common and easy to do isometric workout that helps in relaxing and strengthening the pelvic, core muscles, hips and shoulders. It is a low-intensity full-body workout to stretch all the important muscles. Begin on your hands and knees. Your hands should be directly underneath your shoulders and knees should be under the hips.
Now tuck in your toes and raise yourself up on your hands and toes so that the knees lift up from the ground, but don’t arch your back. Keep the core engaged and feel the tension build in your quads. Wait for 30 seconds to 1 minute and return to the starting position. Repeat this exercise 10 to 15 times at a stretch.
The split squat is often included in various fitness routines as a part of cardio or stretching exercise. This isometric workout works several muscle groups at the same time and is an effective whole body workout. It specifically targets the quadriceps, glutes, butt and lower back.
Stand straight and bring the right foot forward in a wide stance and sink down by bending your right knee so that the left knee is almost touching the ground, wait for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Now raise yourself up and bring your left leg forward and again sink down by bending your left knee so that your right knee almost touches the ground. Repeat this move with alternate feet 20 to 30 times.
So, include these isometric workouts in your workout plan and practice it as a warm up training for at least 3 to 4 times a every week. These exercises will improve your core strength and speed up the recovery process.