The Benefits of Isometric Exercise


Isometric exercises like the kind enabled by Activ5 provide a number of benefits for everyone, from elite athletes to fitness newbies alike. Key benefits of isometrics include:

Measuring and Tracking Strength

Activ5 measures the strength of individual muscles with a precision that goes far beyond the “one-rep max” or incremental progress of weight training or other analog approaches. By engaging in quick isometric exercises focused on specific areas of the body, you can understand exactly how you are or are not progressing in building strength, isolate the areas that need work, and see your progress grow over time with granular, highly accurate data.

Building Muscle Symmetry

By measuring the strength of individual muscles and how they change over time, Activ5 an help isolate asymmetrical muscles and offer workouts to improve symmetry. Competitive athletes, for example, often develop strength asymmetrically by repeatedly engaging in activities that favor one set of muscles on one side of the body over the other. Consider a right-handed tennis player, for example, or a left-handed baseball pitcher, putting constant strain on a set of muscles on arm but not the other. Maintaining muscle symmetry is an important element of a well-balanced fitness regimen and can help reduce the risk of injury.

Injury Prevention

Activ5 is useful in injury prevention in a few different ways. Activating, or “turning on” certain muscles through isometric exercise is a highly effective warm-up or supplemental technique when engaging in rigorous exercise or strength-training and helps reduce the risk of injury. Perhaps more significantly, the trove of data the Activ5 app offers gives you a detailed and valuable view of the progress and effectiveness of your training efforts, helping you avoid overtaxing specific muscles and focus on building strength in key areas that will help improve overall fitness and avoid unnecessary injuries.

Recovering Muscle Mass and Building Endurance

Not only do high-performance athletes, from professional football players to aspiring Olympians, use Activ5 to supplement their workout, the device is also used by physical therapists all over the world to help their patients recover strength and agility in specific muscles groups. Isometric exercises can help reduce pain in injured muscles while building muscles mass and improving endurance, and the Activ5 is an ideal tool to assess, measure and track progress while recovering from injury.

Understanding the Science of Isometrics


Activ5 utilizes isometrics to act as a highly effective and versatile addition to any strength-training or exercise regimen. To really understand how Activ5 works, it’s helpful to review the foundational science behind muscle activity.

Three Types of Muscle Contractions

The human body is capable of three essential types of muscle contractions – concentric, eccentric and isometric. Concentric contractions occur when a muscle is activated and required to lift a load that is less than the tetanic tension it can generate. As a result, the muscle begins to shorten, and 100$ of muscle fibers are activated. Lifting a dumbbell when doing a bicep curl is a classic example of a concentric contraction.

Eccentric contractions, on the other hand, occur as a muscle is lengthening, and only around 40% of muscle fibers are activated. Lowering a dumbbell during a curl is an example of an eccentric contraction. Because eccentric contractions break down muscle cells, actions that lengthen muscles help enable hypertrophy, the increase in muscle size that many weightlifters crave.

Isometric contractions occur when a muscle is activated, but instead of shortening as in concentric contractions or lengthening as in eccentric contractions, the muscle is held at a constant length. A plank is an example of an isometric exercise, as are many yoga poses.

Overcoming and Yielding Isometrics

Isometric exercises work in two different ways. The first, called “overcoming isometrics”, occurs when you attempt to lift a unit of weight that is beyond your capacity – essentially attempting to move an immovable object with maximum effort. Overcoming isometrics allow you to recruit as many motor units and muscle fibers as possible, “turning on” the muscle for a temporary boost in strength. Overcoming isometrics are often used as part of what strength trainers call “contrast training” in order to improve muscle power.

The second kind of isometric exercise is called “yielding isometrics”, which involves maintaining a static hold in a certain position for a given period of time. Yielding isometrics can be used to help isolate specific muscles to improve muscle mass, either to strengthen a healthy muscle and ensure symmetry or as a physical therapy technique to build up recovering muscles after an injury.

Activ5 uses yielding isometrics to produce measurable results that can help transform your fitness regimen. Check out the following exercises for great examples of yielding isometrics at work:

Plank Crush

Begin on your elbows and knees. Place Activ5 underneath both palms. Straighten your legs, keeping them hip-width apart. Keep your back straight. Your body should form a straight line from your shoulders to your feet. Press Activ5 as you squeeze your core muscles.

Bicep Curl (L/R)

Hold Activ5 with your left palm. Lean forward at the waist and place your left elbow on the inside of your left knee. Place your right palm on top of Activ5 and squeeze. Keep both elbows bent at 90 degrees. Repeat on the other side.

French Triceps Press (L/R)

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.

Take Your Training Off the Bike: Why Isometrics Might Be The Secret Ingredient to Your Cycling Success


If you’ve landed on this article, chances are you frequent the cycle studio or spend a lot of your free time on a bike. Or, maybe this article caught your eye because you’re interested in picking up mountain biking or some other form of cycling as a hobby. In any case, we think it’s safe to assume you’re here because you want to step up your cycling game and we’re here to help you do just that. With National Bike to Work Day right around the corner (May 15th, to be exact), it got us thinking about all the ways isometrics can be beneficial to cyclists and we think they might just be the secret ingredient to your cycling success!

Iso-What-Trics?!
Before we dive in, let’s cover Isometrics 101, just in case you’re unfamiliar with the term. Isometric exercise involves contracting a muscle or muscle group and holding that contraction for an extended period of time. A plank or wall sit, for example, are extremely popular forms of isometric exercises. Isometrics are static movements and during them your muscles don’t lengthen and the surrounding joints around your muscles don’t move. They are an extremely powerful and effective form of exercise and they can be beneficial to almost anyone.

Isometrics + Cycling = A Match Made in Training Heaven
Now that we’ve covered the basics, we can get to the good stuff, and by that we mean all the reasons isometrics are useful to incorporate into a cyclist’s training regimen. Although isometric exercise is done completely off the bike, the results of this training method translate perfectly to your on-bike success. During isometrics, you can isolate and focus on building strength in the specific muscle groups used to propel your bike forward, like your quads, glutes and hamstrings. Increasing the endurance of these muscles can be especially beneficial when biking up a hill or through rough terrain. Without proper training of these leg muscles, it could result in muscle fatigue during your ride, ultimately making your time on the bike more of a struggle than it needs to be. Wall sits and glute bridges are perfect examples of isometric exercises that work these specific muscles. These types of exercises also work your stabilizer muscles, which are the muscles used to simply remain upright on a bike.

Another benefit of isometric exercise is that it can be used to treat and minimize injuries commonly related to cycling sports. Neck and back pain is extremely common simply due to the angle that your body rides at on a bike. In fact, this type of pain is reported by up to 60% of riders. Incorporating isometrics that strengthen the muscles associated with this pain into your training program can be crucial to avoiding these types of injuries altogether or causing further complications to existing injuries. Cervical isometrics focused on strengthening the neck and traps are great examples to start with.

Lastly, isometrics can also be used as a great warm up before a ride. A proper warm up is essential for minimizing risk of injury and increasing endurance in cyclists, yet it is often overlooked. Why? Maybe you’re pressed for time or just too eager to get on the bike that you decide to skip this step, but incorporating even a quick 5-minute isometric warm-up can contribute to a more successful ride on the bike. Isometrics are a great option because they are super intense, but for a short period of time, so they are an efficient way to warm-up your muscles so you can get to doing what you love most, biking. Plus, studies have also shown that warming up with isometrics results in muscles being able to endure more force until failure, which is crucial when it comes to an endurance based sport like cycling. 

How Activ5 Can Help
An overwhelming amount of evidence has proven that isometrics can be beneficial to cyclists and other athletes alike, and the Activ5 by Activbody is a device designed to facilitate this type of exercise in a way that is convenient, easy and fun. Paired with a smartphone app, the small and portable Activ5 device coaches you through quick isometric workouts that can be done virtually anywhere. That means whether you are on the trail, at the cycle studio or anywhere in between, the Activ5 will be there to help take your biking game to the next level.

Lupus Awareness Month: Top Exercises for People Living With Lupus


May is Lupus Awareness Month and as our tribute to this, we wanted to shed some light on ways people living with this auto-immune disease can get exercise and remain physically fit. According to the Lupus Foundation of America, more than 5 million people have a form of lupus, 90% of which are women. There are many symptoms that people may experience with lupus, such as pain, fatigue, hair loss, cognitive issues and physical impairments, so you can imagine that finding a means to stay physically fit can be a challenge for those struggling with this disease. However, the benefits of exercise for those struggling with lupus extend far beyond physical fitness, so it’s important to incorporate it into your daily routine when you have been diagnosed with this disease. 

Exercise can help extend life expectancy and reduce the fatigue that comes along with lupus. On top of that, it is also beneficial to mental health, as it can help decrease depression and anxiety, which is common in those suffering from a chronic illness. Exercise can also keep healthy bones strong, improve sleep and reduce the risk of developing other diseases and conditions, like high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and more. There are many forms of exercise that can be beneficial for those with lupus, but some science-backed fitness techniques stand out among the rest.

Stretching Exercises
If you struggle with lupus, even the thought of exercising can seem daunting, but stretching exercises can be a great way to ease into a new fitness regimen. Stretching improves your joint range of motion and increases circulation, which can be helpful for those with an autoimmune disease that attacks your body like lupus. It’s a gentle way to prepare the body for movement, whether it be a workout or just your daily activities.

Aerobic Exercise
Gentle aerobic exercise can be extremely beneficial for improving quality of life for those struggling with lupus. About 50% of people with lupus experience adverse effects on the lungs and respiratory system, like inflammation and difficulty breathing, but many studies have shown that low-impact aerobic exercise, like the elliptical, aquatics and dance, can improve cardiovascular health, without amplifying arterial stiffness, inflammation or oxidatives stress in those with the disease.

Isometrics
Isometric exercise involves contracting a muscle or muscle group and holding that contraction without any additional movement in the surrounding joints and tendons. Holding a yoga pose or a seated leg extension are perfect examples of this. Isometric exercise can be a great option for those with lupus because it is gentle and easy on the joints, so it won’t aggravate or increase existing pain that people might have as a result of this autoimmune disease. In fact, studies have even shown isometrics to improve functional ability and decrease pain in those suffering from joint pain. Isometrics are also one of the safest ways for people with lupus to increase strength because they don’t put stress on bones or joints that might be weak or fragile. As an added benefit, isometrics are also a super convenient way to work out, as they can be completed almost anywhere and require little to no equipment.

If you’ve been diagnosed with lupus and are interested in incorporating isometrics into your fitness journey, the Activ5 can be a great tool to utilize. Paired with its companion training app, the Activ5 coaches you through short isometric exercises, customized to your specific training level. It also keeps track of data like heart rate, strength and progress over time, so you can be confident that your isometric training is working for you. 

While the exercises listed above may be beneficial for those struggling with lupus, we always recommend consulting a medical professional first to find an exercise program that is appropriate for you.

Top 3 Techniques for Effective Off-Season Football Training


The NFL Draft is just a few days away and although NFL season doesn’t actually start until September, players across the nation are still hard at work preparing for the first kick-off of the year. Building an effective off-season training program is extremely important when it comes to injury prevention, building strength and ultimately having success on the field, and this goes for NFL players, all the way down to Pop Warner players. 

There is no doubt that every player’s off-season training program is different, but one thing all players can agree on is they want to build a training program that will have a positive and lasting impact on their performance. So if you’re ready to get serious about reaching your full potential on the field this season, try incorporating these tried-and-true techniques into your off-season training program. 

Metabolic Running
Metabolic conditioning can be applied to many different workouts, but what it really boils down to is developing structured patterns of work and pairing them with strategic rest periods that are designed to elicit a desired response from the body. For football players, this can be translated into a cardio-based training program focused on activating all of the muscles used in common movements on the field. Yes, many football players already incorporate running drills into their off-season training, but these are highly focused on conventional, straight-ahead running. This kind of training can be beneficial to players in some ways, but it completely disregards the muscle groups used in lateral or backwards movements, which are extremely common for players to do in football games. Not sure where to start? Check out this metabolic running program designed by strength and conditioning coach, Ben Peterson. It focuses on training all the muscles used in 360-degree movements.

Isometrics
Isometric exercise focuses on control, as opposed to traditional weight lifting that is more force-driven. Isometrics are a different kind of strength training, as they involve isolating muscle groups and contracting them for brief periods of time to increase strength and endurance. They also work to improve the stability and durability of muscles, which in turn can be instrumental in preventing injury or rehabilitation of an existing injury. Football is a contact sport that causes a lot of wear and tear on the body, so injury prevention is a key aspect that should be focused on in off-season football training. The benefits of isometrics are endless for football players, which is probably why teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers and Stanford University regularly incorporate them into their training programs.

Proper Nutrition
Now, we know having a healthy diet isn’t necessarily a “training technique”, but we would be remiss not to mention the impact nutrition has on your performance as an athlete. Having a poor diet will leave you with repercussions, no matter how hard you hit the gym in the off season, yet many players fail to take this into consideration when developing their training program. When developing an off-season nutrition plan, there are a few things we recommend taking into consideration. For one, muscles need an adequate amount of calories to grow and recover. Not just any calories, though. Athletes should focus on eating carbohydrate-rich foods, like whole grains, vegetables and rice, along with lean proteins and healthy fats. It’s worth noting, though, that the amount of calories you need to intake depends largely on the amount and type of exercise you are doing, as well as your total body weight. Here’s a chart that can be used to easily determine your caloric needs based on these factors. 

Another thing to take into consideration as a high-performance athlete is the amount of the three main macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, and fats) you are eating each day. Each of these macronutrients play a key role in your performance and health, so it’s important to get an appropriate amount each day. This study suggests 5-8 grams per kilogram of carbohydrates per day for athletes undertaking 2-3 hours of intense exercise, 5-6 times per week. It also suggests that competitive athletes require 1.5-2 grams per kilogram of protein and 30% of their total caloric intake of healthy fats per day for optimal results in muscle mass growth, fat burning and overall performance. 

While this article has barely skimmed the surface of what it takes to become a successful football player in the off-season, it is definitely a great starting point. On-field success truly is accomplished through effective and strategic off-season training and the three techniques discussed above are crucial for muscle gains, fast-twitch responses, athletic endurance and everything in between.

Help Increase Your Immunity with Easy Isometric Exercises


In the face of an unprecedented global pandemic, we are all concerned about taking steps to increase our chances of avoiding illness and staying healthy. No magic bullet exists, of course, and it’s important to point out that the best way to reduce the risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus is to limit contact with others through social distancing. That said, experts believe that regular exercise can help strengthen the immune system, potentially fortifying our defenses in the face of an increasingly serious threat to our collective health and well-being.

The Connection Between Exercise and the Immune System

In a May, 2019 study published by The Journal of Sport and Health Science, researchers from Appalachian State University presented evidence to support “a clear inverse relationship between moderate exercise and illness risk” as well as the ability of habitual exercise to improve immune regulation. A number of other studies have pointed out a connection between lifelong exercise and a healthy immune system, and the long-term health benefits of regular fitness have long been established by medical professionals.

Getting Fit Five Minutes at a Time

If you don’t already have a regular exercise routine in place, this may seem like a daunting time to set one up. Gyms across the country are closing temporarily and it’s hardly the best moment to run out to your local sporting goods store to stock up on equipment. Luckily, it’s easier than you may think to start implementing exercise into your daily life right away.

The Activ5 portable strength training device offers a series of personalized 5-minute workouts that you can easily complete without leaving home. All you need to get started is the Acitv5 device and a smartphone or tablet. The Activ5 app will guide you through the set-up process and let you choose from hundreds of simple exercises and workouts focused on specific muscle groups. Here are a few easy workouts to get you started:

Isometric Exercises

Standing Zen Chest Press

Hold Activ5 between both hands in prayer position with your elbows out, bent at 90 degrees

Lift your hands so your palms are just above eye level

Press Activ5 with both palms by squeezing your chest muscles

Keep your feet firmly on the ground

Plank Crush

Plank Crush

Begin on your elbows and knees

Place Activ5 underneath both palms

Straighten your legs, keeping them hip-width apart

Keep your back straight

Your body should form a straight line from your shoulders to your feet

Press Activ5 as you squeeze your core muscles

Clamshell

While seated, place Activ5 sideways between both heels

Straighten back and pull shoulders back

Press Activ5 with both feels as you squeeze your outer thighs

Be sure to keep your toes on the ground

It May be the End of the Gym as You Know It… but You can Still Feel Fine


The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting us all in a million big and small ways, and it doesn’t look like things will get back to normal anytime soon. We are all being called upon to do our part to “flatten the curve” and reduce the spread of the virus through social distancing. While this is undeniably the right thing to do, isolating ourselves (and our kids!)  in our homes can make it difficult to engage in many of the routines and activities we use to keep ourselves healthy physically, psychologically and emotionally, making it even harder to get through the day-to-day challenges we’re all facing.

Gym Withdrawal

For many of us, going to the gym on a regular basis is a key part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, whether through strength training, yoga classes, cardio workouts or countless other activities. Over 60 million people in the United States alone reportedly have active gym memberships, with total annual gym visits topping 6 billion. It can be extremely difficult to suddenly, albeit temporarily, lose access to the very hub of your fitness lifestyle during such trying times, and there will surely be no shortage of people experiencing real gym withdrawal in the days and weeks to come. If you’re among that group, we have a few ideas to help you keep your sanity and maintain your fitness routine when you can’t get to the gym.

Get Outside and Move Around

Obviously, if you have the resources, space and inclination to build a home gym with the kind of top-of-the-line equipment you’d find at your local fitness center, you probably don’t need much advice right now. For the rest of us, it’s important to create a fitness routine that takes advantage of the resources you *do* have at your disposal. One of those resources, assuming the weather cooperates, is the Great Outdoors. There’s no prohibition against getting outside and taking a walk, run or bike ride, as long as you can avoid crowded areas and stay six feet away from your neighbors. You may have been running on a treadmill or riding a stationary bike for so long that you forgot all about the old-fashioned techniques our ancestors used, but there’s no time like the present to rediscover the ancient art of analog cardio. Stay calm, breathe in some fresh air and get moving!

Stay Inside and Build Strength

Another resource you have at your disposal is, well…your own body. By engaging in isometric exercises that don’t require weights or expensive equipment, you can build, grow and maintain strength in the comfort of your own home. That’s where the Activ5 device comes into play. Activ5 uses hundreds of unique workouts, exercises and games to build and grow strength in every area of the body, and all that’s required is a small portable device, an app on your phone or tablet, and your time. Think of Activ5 as a portable strength trainer built for the era of social distancing. Though it may not fully take the place of the actual trainer you’re used to seeing at the gym, it does offer a highly customized series of workouts and exercises that will help you reach your specific goals while taking into account your current fitness level, age, lifestyle and many other factors.

Stick to the Routine

Whatever fitness methods you choose to replace regular gym visits, it’s important to set up a routine and stick with it. Without the help and structure provided by a trainer, a regular set of classes or a group of workout buddies, it can be difficult to maintain a normal exercise schedule when everything else around you seems completely abnormal. But your body, mind and soul will be better off in the long run if you can continue to make fitness a regular part of your daily routine, and you’ll be raring to go once those gym doors open back up.

5 Essential Isometric Exercises For Getting Faster and Stronger


When it comes to building strength and speed, isometrics might not be the first thing that comes to mind, however, continued research has shown that incorporating low-impact, high-intensity isometric workouts into your training program can actually have a dramatic impact on improving performance as an athlete. 

So what’s the hype all about with isometric training? 

Isometric holds are valuable for many reasons. They’re practical because they result in less soreness than concentric and eccentric movements, which is key for athletes that need to perform on a daily basis. On top of that, isometrics also activate key muscle groups by putting athletes at near-maximum or maximum contractions, and are a safe means to test max strength for muscles and movements, but above all they’re convenient and can complement an already existing training program. So if isometrics are so beneficial, why haven’t all athletes incorporated them into their fitness routines? 

Well for one, it’s traditionally been hard to track progress and motivate athletes with isometrics, so coaches have shied away from adding them into their training programs. Other criticisms of this training method have been that it’s not engaging or “fun” enough for athletes, but what if there was a tool that put all these criticisms to rest? (Spoiler alert: there is and it’s called the Activ5).

5 Isometric Exercises for Increasing Speed & Strength:

1. Plank Crush: A strong core is a basic requirement for improving running skills and the plank is one of the most effective isometric exercises to accomplish that. 

For this exercise, begin on your elbows and knees. Place the Activ5 under both palms and straighten your legs, keeping them hip-width apart. Keep your back straight. Your body should form a straight line from your shoulder to your feet. Press the Activ5 as you squeeze your core muscles.

Plank Crush

2. Side Plank: We like to think of the side plank as a better version of oblique ab crunches. They work the core and back muscles, which again, are crucial for increasing speed and strength.

To begin the side plank, lie on your left side, resting on your forearm. Keep your elbow directly below your shoulder. Place the Activ5 directly below your right hip bone and lift your hips off the ground by contracting your core. Keep your back flat and your body in straight line. Press the Activ5 as you squeeze your core muscles. Repeat on the opposite side.

Side Plank

3. Wall Squat: Squats are one of the most effective exercises out there when it comes to sprinting and building speed. They improve stability and strength all while working to prevent injury. 

Start with your back against the wall and place the Activ5 under your left heel. Slide down the wall into a squat position. Reach your arms in front of you so they are parallel to the floor. Press your left heel into the Activ5 while squeezing your left quad. Repeat on the opposite leg.

Wall Squat

4. Single Leg Bridge: A great exercise for posterior chain development, which some say is the secret to speed

To perform this exercise, lay on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the ground hip-width apart. Place the Activ5 under your left heel and lift your right leg off the ground, keeping your right knee slightly bent. Press the Activ5 into the floor, as you squeeze your left glute to lift your hips off the ground. Repeat on the opposite leg.

Single Leg Bridge

5. Kickback Lunge: Isometric lunges stimulate the quads, hamstrings and hips — all muscles crucial in accelerating speed

For the Kickback Lunge, you’ll start by placing the Activ5 under the ball of your left foot. Lunge forward with your right leg, keeping your torso upright and hands in prayer position. Squeeze the ball of your left foot down and back into the Activ5 while squeezing your left glute. Repeat on the opposite leg.

Kickback Lunge

The Activ5 smart isometric training device and its companion training app let you get simple, powerful and effective workouts in that are customized to your specific goals. Used in tandem with your already existing training routine, there are hundreds of exercises that can be done with the Activ5 to test strength and increase speed. Check it out here.

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. 

Convenience

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.

Avoid Common Baseball Injuries


When we think of contact sports, baseball and softball don’t typically come to mind. However, throughout the course of practice and games, players are subject to a wide variety of injuries, such as pulled muscles, strained joints, twisted ankles, and even broken bones. Here are some of the most common baseball injuries and how you can help avoid them.

The Most Common Baseball Injuries

The most common injuries in baseball and softball are joint related – elbows, shoulders, and knees. And the position you play is also a contributor. For instance, a pitcher may be more likely to injure an elbow or shoulder, but a catcher is more likely to injure a knee. The most common baseball injuries include:

Rotator Cuff Tears: The rotator cuff is a network of 4 muscles / tendons that keep your arm in your shoulder socket. This joint also happens to have the most range-of-motion of any joint in your body. Over time these tendons wear down and eventually result in a tear. This is why pitchers are often limited in the number of games they pitch and how many pitches they throw.

UCL Injuries: The ulnar collateral ligament is a stabilizer in your elbow and gets injured with repetitive throwing motions.

Knee Injuries (ACL and MCL): Running bases is a recipe for knee disaster. A sudden stop while sprinting, landing on a flexed knee, sliding into base, or twisting a knee after planting a foot – all of these can cause serious knee injuries.

Muscle sprains and strains are also common baseball injuries and can usually be treated with rest, ice, compression and elevation. And both pitching and batting can put pressure on the lower back. This can develop into a condition call spondylolysis, which is a fracture to one of the vertebrae.

The Worst Baseball Injuries

Some of the worst baseball injuries are accidental and can keep a player off the field for an entire season or in some extreme cases the player may never play baseball again. These injuries tend to be broken bones and/or multiple concussions.

Fielding collisions: Two (or more) players going for the same ball can be disastrous. With their eyes on the ball, they may not see the impending collision and run full speed into one another.
Hitting the wall: There’s a lot of glory when you make a great catch but try and avoid running into the outfield wall or infield fence. Not much glory in going to the emergency room. Fortunately, most youth baseball fields have padding on the fences to avoid injury.

Getting hit with a pitch: Sure, it was an “accident!” We’d like to think so in youth baseball, but regardless of the intent, getting hit with a pitch is painful and potentially deadly.

Tommy John: This is a UCL injury that requires the dreaded “Tommy John” surgery. Often, pitchers will never recover from this kind of surgery, effectively ending their careers.

Some of the worst baseball injuries can be avoided by wearing protective gear and making sure you’re aware of the other players around you. And if you crowd home plate when you’re batting, you’re just inviting a pitcher to throw it closer to you than you may want. Play smart and play fair, and you shouldn’t have to worry about these kinds of injuries.

Exercises to Avoid Shoulder Injury

Aside from accidental injuries, there’s a lot you can do to avoid injuries related to the regular play of the game. The right kind of exercises can focus on the muscle groups you use most in baseball. Since your shoulder is one of the easiest joints to injure, we’ll show you some exercises that can help keep it strong, stable, and flexible. We prefer isometric shoulder exercises, because they’re zero impact and you can do them anywhere, anytime. These exercises are best done with the Activ5 strength training device.

Front Shoulder Raise

Isometric Shoulder Exercises

  • With your right arm bent 90 degrees, extend your elbow straight from your body. Your forearm should be directly in front of your chest
  • Place your left palm on top of your right elbow. Both arms will be bent 90 degrees
  • Press your right arm up into your left palm
  • Keep your arms parallel to the ground

Repeat with your left arm.

Shoulder External Rotation

Isometric Shoulder Exercises

  • Bend your left elbow by your side to 90 degrees
  • Reach your right arm over and place your right palm on the outside of your left forearm
  • Press your palm against your forearm, squeezing both shoulders and upper back

Repeat with your right arm.

Shoulder Press

Isometric Shoulder Exercises

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

Repeat on the right side.

Hold each isometric exercise for as long as you can. Rest for a minute. Then repeat two or three times.

French Tricep Press

isometric tricep exercises

  • Bend and lift your left elbow to eye level
  • Make a fist with your left hand
  • Place your right palm over your left fist
  • Press your left fist and right palm together, as you squeeze your shoulder muscles

Repeat with your right arm.

Avoid Baseball Injuries with Activ5

Whether you prefer baseball or softball, you risk getting injured whenever you play. The best way to avoid common baseball injuries is to stretch and warm up before playing, being aware of the other players on the field, and wearing protective equipment. And since fatigue is a key factor in baseball injuries, make sure you have a regular workout routine that strengthens muscles, increases flexibility, and improves endurance.

To help you in your training and workout routine, we recommend the Activ5 portable training device and coaching app. Activ5 has over 100 gym-based exercises that can improve your batting, pitching, throwing and base-running. Activ5 makes workouts fun, tracks your progress on a sophisticated smartphone app, and even functions as a game controller. Even the Pittsburgh Steelers are using it!