Make the most of your workout!
An isometric exercise is a great way to build strength, mass and stamina. What is it? Isometric Exercise is defined as “Exercise performed by the exertion of effort against a resistance that strengthens and tones the muscle without changing the length of the muscle fibers.” (The American Heritage® Stedman’s Medical Dictionary). In laymen’s terms, this means there’s no movement as in standard exercises.
Yoga uses isometrics extensively; other examples would be holding a weight in a contracted bicep curl for a short period of time, holding a squat, or, pushing an immoveable object (like simulating pushing a door). What’s great about isometric exercises is you can get a big result using only your body weight (think – workout for travel!).
Here are some great isometric exercises to try:
1) “Work-in” – Following a regular set of 10-12 bicep curls, end with a 15 second hold of the bicep curl contraction (at the mid-point or 90 degree angle). You can try this with nearly any exercise.
2) Body weight squat hold – With feet about 2” apart, sink into a squat (this is a “chair pose” in yoga) and hold for 30 seconds – repeat.
3) Shoulder isometric hold with elastic band – grab an elastic band with both hands, so that the band is lose when arms are at your sides. Raise arms, straight out, to chest height – then pull the band out with both arms as far as you can, and hold for 15 seconds. Repeat 3 times.
Other benefits of isometric exercises:
Caution! Isometrics cause a spike in blood pressure, so they are not recommended for those with high blood pressure.