Do you want to build strength without any fancy equipment or a gym membership? Do you want to improve flexibility while barely moving your muscles? Do you want to get an intense workout that’s completely and utterly low impact? These scenarios may seem too good to be true, but they are not, thanks to the power of isometric training.
Although at first it may sound like an advanced fitness term, isometric exercise is actually a simple and effective form of strength training that allows you to build and maintain strength all while barely moving a muscle. If you’ve never heard the term “isometrics,” you’re probably a little confused, so let’s jump right in and clarify everything you need to know about isometrics.
What is isometric exercise?
Isometric exercise refers to the contraction of one specific muscle or muscle group at a time. It relies on resistance, rather than weights like traditional exercise. When performing an isometric contraction, your muscles don’t noticeably bend or move.
For example, when you push your hands together forcefully and hold steady in this position, you’ll probably start to feel those arm muscles working. That’s an isometric contraction! And if you’ve ever done a plank or a wall sit, you’ve tried isometrics without even knowing it.
Check out this article for more examples of isometric exercises you may already be doing: https://activbody.com/isometric-exercise-examples/
Isometric Exercise Benefits
Aside from convenience, isometric exercise actually brings a ton of real benefits. Isometrics are a low-impact form of exercise and reduce your risk of injury while training, and can even be used to rehabilitate an already-injured muscle without causing further strain.
Because isometrics target each muscle group, you get more activation out of each move. Isometric training actually uses more of your muscle’s power than traditional weight lifting, meaning you can do less exercise for more strength-building. It also can help lower blood pressure, decrease back and shoulder pain, and even improve your flexibility.
Who should do isometric training?
The best part about isometrics is that anyone can do them! Because of how many benefits they provide, isometric exercise is great for just about everyone. If you’re brand new to the fitness world, isometrics can be the perfect entry point for you to nail down perfect form and strengthen your body quickly and easily without being overwhelmed or intimidated by the gym. The purpose of isometric exercise is to build and maintain strength in a low-impact way, making it perfect for seniors and older adults.
Even if you’re an Olympic-level athlete, isometrics can still be super helpful to improve your skills. Whether you run, swim, rock climb, or play team sports like basketball and football, isometric exercise will help to focus in on the essential muscles you need to perform your best. In fact, you’re probably already practicing isometric contractions in your sport.
Scheduling Isometric Workouts
Similar to traditional exercise, dedicated isometric training should be done around 3-4 times per week. However, you can also incorporate isometrics into your life in a lot of other ways. Whether it’s holding your weights at one part of the movement during a conventional lifting session, or doing some isometric contractions as you watch your favorite tv show – you can do these powerful exercises no matter where you are.
The Activ5 smart training device makes isometrics even easier by giving you a portable way to work out. When paired with the app for iOS or Android, you get access to data like calories burned and heart rate in real time, and even log your progress over time. And with access to tons of pre-designed workouts, it’s easy to try out isometrics and see how this low-impact exercise can make a big impact on your strength.