What to Look for When Choosing a Fitness Program

Among the few silver linings of being stuck at home is the country’s sudden interest in working out and staying fit. It’s fuelled an already thriving occupation, which was projected to grow by 15% from 2019 to 2029. Yoga instructors, strength and conditioning coaches, and other fitness professionals have managed to stay busy over the past few months with their clients demanding more accessible workouts they can do at home. But with the rise of experts also comes a growing number of fitness programs to choose from. Picking the right one when there is a myriad of options can be overwhelming, especially when you don’t know what exactly to look for. We’ve come up with a list of questions that can help you choose the right training program for you:

Is the fitness instructor qualified?

As mentioned, the demand for qualified professionals in the health and fitness space is steadily increasing. Yet with so many “experts” out there how can you know who to follow? The best way is to take a look at their background. Look for degrees, diplomas, official fitness training courses, and work experience. It is also best to dispel preconceived notions of educational institutes and courses. Today, many instructors will have gotten their education and training online due to the increasing need for people to study in their own time through flexible courses. Those with an online degree in exercise science will study the same key foundations as a traditional course, including exercise prescription, strength and conditioning, and nutrition. You just need to check that the person offering the program has proof of their education, and research to see whether it is a reputable institute, degree, or course.

Does it align with your goals?

The goal setting process is the foundation of training of any kind. It can be something general like lose fat and build muscle, get stronger, improve athleticism, or a combination of all. You can also set more specific goals such as building muscle symmetry to avoid sports injury, which you can do with a range of isometric exercises. Maybe you want to get faster at running, build upper body strength or, more specifically, do 50 pull-ups in a row. Determining your goals, whether general or specific, helps to narrow down your choices of exercises you should be doing.

What kind of equipment and facilities does it require?

Not everyone has access to gyms, studios, and equipment. Keep this in mind when choosing a program or making your own as you might have to adjust your workouts to suit the tools available. For example, use resistance bands to replace weights or do sprints on the street or on a treadmill if the track is closed.

Will you be needing support?

Some people use their workout sessions as time for self-care and would like to be left alone. Some stay motivated with an accountability partner or a coach who can show them the ropes. Meanwhile, some people push harder in group workouts and attend classes that can keep them stimulated and competitive. It’s a personal preference. Consider how much support you will be needing because it can be a key factor to your success.

How will you measure progress?

A lot of people train for a competition or an event, which is what they use as a timeline for their program. Maybe you want to train for a road race in three months, a sports competition in three weeks, or an upcoming rock climbing trip with your friends in the summer. Those give you specific dates that you can build your training around. Even without these events, it’s still a good idea to find a program with a given timeline to check if you’re on track to reach your goals. Experts recommend measuring body fat percentage changes as well as cardiovascular endurance and strength rather than weight loss. After an eight-week program, track how these numbers have changed, or how much your sleep and food habits have changed which are also good measures of progress.

Is it enjoyable?

The last and most important question is: is it enjoyable? You need to consider how a training program will fit into your lifestyle — will it make you feel stressed or will it give you more energy? For it to be sustainable, exercise should never feel like a punishment. Another good way to check if a program is effective is if it genuinely gives you satisfaction from doing it and it improves the other aspects of your life.

Looking for a fitness program that works for you doesn’t have to be so complicated after all. A tool that ticks all of these boxes — and one that can help you get on the right track with your fitness goals — is Activ5. This isometric-based strength training device provides workouts designed by leading trainers, which are personalized to your fitness level and goals. As a portable and tech-enabled fitness tool, Activ5 is the perfect way to maintain motivation even with a busy schedule and measure sustainable progress over time.

Written by Anne Chinee Serene
Exclusive for products.activbody.com

Benefits of Isometric Training for Women

Although isometric exercise can be beneficial for everyone, there are some perks of this training method that can be particularly beneficial to women. Isometrics are great for improving strength and stability, which are essential in group exercise classes, like yoga, pilates and barre. On top of that, they can have a positive impact on the overall health and wellbeing of women, but that’s just the beginning! Here are even more ways isometric training can benefit women: 

Improve Strength & Stability

If you’ve ever taken a yoga or barre class, you’ve probably done isometric holds without even realizing it. Isometric holds involve contracting a muscle or muscle group and holding that contraction for an extended period of time. It may not be referred to as isometric holds by your instructor, but holding a pose in yoga, pilates or barre is exactly that. This type of training is extremely common in group classes of this nature and in order to improve your practice of these techniques, it takes an incredible amount of strength and stability, which can be achieved through continued use of isometric training both in and out of the studio. 
This brings us to our next point. If yoga, pilates and barre aren’t your thing, there are many other ways to implement isometrics into your training regimen that are just as beneficial to improving your strength and stability. Holding a plank, for example, is a popular full-body strengthening isometric exercise that is practiced by many, but even something as simple as holding an isometric calf raise or knee extension while in a seated position can have positive impacts to your strength and stability as well.

Relieve Pain

If you’re in pain, you’re probably willing to try whatever you can to relieve that pain and isometrics can be a great solution. Chronic pain, especially lower back pain, is extremely common among women and studies have shown that stabilization exercises, like isometrics, have been helpful in reducing that pain. Not only can they help find immediate relief to pain your experiencing, they can also have effects lasting as long as 9 months in some cases. Targeted isometric exercises work to activate and strengthen specific muscles, without aggravating the surrounding tissues, tendons and joints, which is why they are used a lot in rehabilitation settings. Isometrics are static holds, so they have much less wear and tear on the body than eccentric and concentric movements, ultimately resulting in less pain.

Aid in Weight Loss

With so many fad diets and exercise options out there, it’s hard to find a weight-loss program to buy into. This seems to be particularly challenging for women, as their biological makeup makes it a bit more difficult to shed pounds as quickly as men. Men typically have less body fat and more lean muscle than women, which in turn allows them to naturally burn more calories. Before you get discouraged, try incorporating isometrics into your training program. Isometrics have been proven to strengthen muscles, which helps the body burn more calories and lose more body fat. In fact, a study done by Dr. Jerrold Petrofsky proved that isometric exercise, paired with a healthy diet resulted in the average person losing 3.0 cm around their waist in just two weeks. That’s equivalent to one pant or dress size!

Help Reduce Risk of Disease

In the United States, heart disease is the cause of one in every four deaths in women and while this statistic may be a little shocking to some, we’re not here to scare you. Instead, we’re here to shed some light on ways to help reduce your risk of developing diseases like this. Studies have shown that isometric exercise is a natural remedy that can assist in lowering blood pressure, which is one of the leading causes of heart disease. Even simple handgrip exercises can lower the amount of pressure in your arteries and these types of exercises can be done virtually anywhere! We recommend reaching out to a healthcare professional to see if isometric exercise is right for you. 


Between rushing the kids to school, your job and having a social life, it’s no wonder many of us struggle to find the time to get a workout in, which brings us to our last point. Isometrics are a super convenient way to get a workout in anytime, anywhere. They require little to no equipment and even short increments of isometric exercise can be beneficial to your health. Whether you’re at your desk, on an airplane, sitting in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, or anything in between, anyone can incorporate this type of exercise into their daily routine. 

If you’re not sure where to start, one easy way to introduce isometric exercise into your daily routine is with the Activ5 device and mobile app. Designed for those short on time and seeking convenient exercises on-the-go, the Activ5 program can help you remain physical, all while keeping up with your hectic daily schedule. Plus, with Mother’s Day right around the corner, there’s no doubt that many of us are thinking of ways to treat the ladies in our life to something special, and the Activ5 is a gift that will keep on giving.

Isometric Shoulder Exercises: Activ5 Simple Daily Workout Series Part 3

Part 3 of the Simple Daily Workout series focuses on isometric shoulder exercises to strengthen your shoulder joints and improve your range of motion. Your shoulders are more susceptible to injury, because they have more range of motion than any other joint in your body.

Your shoulder joints are kept stable and functioning properly by muscles in your rotator cuff.  These muscles are key to the activities of your daily routine, such as house and yard work, shopping, playing with the kids, and of course sports.  Weaknesses in any rotator cuff muscles can cause instability and injury. Imagine a golf or baseball swing, tennis serve, or swimming without a healthy shoulder.

To be sure, you exercise your shoulder muscles with presses, rows, curls, and other isometric exercises, but we want you to focus your isometric holds on your shoulders to keep them strong, flexible, and stable.

Isometric Deltoid Exercises

The largest muscle in your shoulder muscle group is the deltoid, the triangular muscle that gives your shoulder its rounded shape. While some of these isometric shoulder exercises are named for other muscle groups, concentrate on your shoulder muscles with your isometric holds throughout the Active5 shoulder workout.

Single Arm Chest Press

This is like the traditional bench press, but you can do this seated or standing up.

Isometric Shoulder Exercises

  • Extend your left arm to the side with your elbow bent at 90 degrees
  • Place Activ5 with your right hand in front of your left fist
  • Press your left fist into Activ5, while squeezing your chest
  • Keep both elbows bent at 90-degrees.

Both of your arms should be parallel to the floor, with your elbows bent at 90 degrees. Repeat on your right side.

Standing Shoulder Press

This is similar to the traditional “military” press and can be done seated or standing.

Isometric Shoulder Exercises

  • Bend your left elbow by your side, fist up
  • Place Activ5 on top of your fist
  • Place your right palm on top of Activ5, keeping your arm at 90 degrees
  • Squeeze your left shoulder muscles as you press Activ5

Your right arm should be parallel to the floor. Let Activ5 engage your shoulder muscles. Repeat on your right side.

Side Bend Press

While this exercise works your core, you’ll feel it working your shoulders from the contact point all the way up the side of your neck.

Isometric Shoulder Exercises

  • Place Activ5 on your desk in front of your right arm
  • Place your right palm on Activ5
  • Bend sideways slightly to the right
  • Press Activ5 as you squeeze your oblique muscles

Push down with the heel of your palm using your triceps and obliques. Repeat on your right side.

Using Isometrics in Shoulder Rotation Exercises

Isometric shoulder rotation exercises can be both internal and external, referring to the placement of the muscle within and around your shoulder joint. These are commonly used in rehabilitation exercises.

Shoulder External Rotation

This is a common isometric shoulder exercises in shoulder rehab and has several variations.  

Isometric Shoulder Exercises

  • Place Activ5 above your left wrist with your right hand
  • Bend your left elbow to 90 degrees and rotate it slightly to the left
  • Press Activ5 with your left forearm and right palm
  • Focus on squeezing the back of your shoulder and upper back

Remember to keep your elbows bent at 90 degrees and press with your forearm against your right palm. Repeat on your right side.

Front Shoulder Raise

This simulates a popular free-weight or kettlebell exercise you’ve probably done a few times. It’s also one of the leading causes of shoulder injuries during a workout. Isometric shoulder exercises keep it safe.

Isometric Shoulder Exercises

  • With your right hand, place Activ5 above your left elbow
  • Cross and lift your arms away from your body
  • Press your left arm up and into Activ5, squeezing your chest and front shoulder
  • Keep your arms parallel to the ground

Press with your elbow and left palm and hold both arms parallel to the floor.  Repeat on your right side.


The hook is always fun and part of other workouts like our isometric arm workouts. Feel free to over indulge!

Isometric Shoulder Exercises

  • Make a fist with your left hand
  • Bend and bring your left elbow up, keep your forearm parallel to the ground.
  • Activ5 with your right hand in front of your left fist
  • Press Activ5 with your left fist and right palm

Keep both arms parallel to the floor. Press Activ5 between the heel of your palm and fist. Repeat on your right side.

Zen Chest Press

You can easily add some variety to this exercise by extending your arms out straight (Chest Fly) and then lowered (Lower Chest Fly). Each exercise will work a different area of your rotator cuff.

Isometric Shoulder Exercises

  • Hold Activ5 between both hands in prayer position with your elbows out
  • Lift your hands, so your palms are just above eye level
  • Press Activ5 with both palms by squeezing your chest muscles

Keep your elbows bent at 90 degrees and press with the heels of your palms.  

Rotator Cuff Tear Exercises and Shoulder Rehab Exercises

Shoulder injuries are one of the most common sports related injuries. Rehabbing a shoulder injury should be done under the care of your physician and licensed physical therapist. Activ5 is perfect for shoulder pain rehab, rotator cuff exercises after surgery, and general isometric shoulder exercises for physical therapy.

Chest Fly

If you are rehabbing from an injury, take it slowly and don’t push too hard. Again, all rehab should be done under professional supervision.

Shoulder Rehab Exercises

  • Hold Activ5 between both hands in prayer positions with your arms stretched out in front of you
  • Press both palms into Activ5 and squeeze your chest muscles

Straighten your back and pull your shoulders back to maximize the effectiveness of this exercise. Press with the heels of your palms. Vary this exercise with the lower chest fly.  

French Triceps Press

As with the hook, this exercise focuses on your arm muscles but it’s perfect for shoulder rehab too.

Shoulder Rehab Exercises

  • Bend and lift your left elbow to eye level
  • Make a fist with your left hand
  • Place Activ5 on the bottom of your left fist with your right palm
  • Press Activ5 with your left fist and right palm, as you squeeze your shoulder muscles

Like the chest fly, keep your back straight and shoulders back. Press Activ5 with the heels of your palms. Repeat on your right side.

Iso Knee Push-Up

If you’re rehabbing, make sure you can safely get up and down from the floor before attempting these isometric shoulder exercises.

Shoulder Pain

  • Begin on all fours with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart
  • Place Activ5 under your left palm
  • Bend your elbows to 90 degrees, so that you are in a half push-up position
  • Press Activ5 as you squeeze your chest, shoulder and core muscles
  • Keep your elbows out

Keep your elbows bent at 90 degrees and press with the heel of your left palm. Repeat on your right side.

Using Activ5 shoulder exercises for shoulder rehab and shoulder strengthening

We rely on our shoulders for more than we give them credit for. Just ask anyone who’s had a shoulder injury or deals with chronic shoulder pain. Thanks to Activ5’s zero-impact isometric workout, you can strengthen your shoulders as part of your full-body workout routine or safely rehab shoulder and other muscle related injuries. If you are doing shoulder exercises for rehab, be sure and share your Activ5 with your physical therapist.

Activ5 is the best isometric workout device you can find.  It’s portable, quick, and easy to use, so you can squeeze in short, full-body, low-impact workouts throughout your day, whether it’s at home, on the road, at the office, or wherever you happen to be.

Next, the Activ5 workout series focuses on isometric leg exercises. This series is the best isometric workout available and will strengthen and tighten your body, giving you the results you want faster than you thought possible. But it only works with the Activ5 portable fitness device and smartphone app. Get one today, and you will understand how powerful and effective isometric exercise can be.