How to Work Out Effectively During Your Lunch Break


Staying fit and healthy is of the utmost importance. Not only does it improve your mood and strengthen your muscles, but it’s a well-known fact that physical activity boosts your immune system. However, not everyone has the luxury of time for a lengthy gym session. Even a work-from-home setup can be extremely demanding. This is why we need to take every opportunity to relax, and squeezing in a workout during lunch might just do the trick.

How does exercise benefit work?

Not only will your immunity get a healthy boost, your work productivity might see some significant gains, too. According to experts from Harvard University, exercise has a positive impact on your cognitive abilities. These include better memory, concentration, learning ability, and creativity.

And although some people prefer exercising before or after work, a lunchtime sweat session might be more beneficial for workplace productivity. In fact, Gala Bingo states that exercise can help you beat the afternoon slump — or that sluggish feeling that usually hits you between 1PM and 3PM. A quick cardio session can help counter those effects, such as headaches, fatigue, and mood swings, all of which affect your ability to work productively.

So, here’s how you can maximize your workouts at lunch:

Dress for success

Sleeping in your exercise clothes is one useful trick that many fitness enthusiasts swear by. Getting dressed truly is half the battle and putting on your workout gear the night before, or even laying them out, can help you find the motivation you need.

But you might not want to wake up all sweaty in your leggings. Instead, you can opt to get dressed in exercise gear after your morning shower. Preparing your equipment ahead of time is another hack, but make sure to display your gear where you can see it. This way, you won’t forget about your lunchtime workout.

Plan ahead and prepare

Scheduling your routine ahead of time is another key to success. You can use a calendar to schedule your workout plan for the week. It can be something like this:

• Monday – HIIT
• Tuesday – 45-minute yoga
• Wednesday – Rest
• Thursday – 30-minute cardio
• Friday – Isometric exercises

Writing down these goals can keep you motivated. And if you’re having a hard time, you can always sign up for an app to plan your workouts for you. All you have to do is to put in the actual work.

When in doubt, try HIIT

A lot of people don’t have access to equipment right now. But there’s no reason to worry, because body weight exercises will always be available to you. To make squats and push-ups even more effective, incorporate them into your high intensity interval training or HIIT.

Studies show that 20-minute HIIT routines can burn more calories than steady-state workouts, like running on a treadmill. And that’s perfect, given the limited amount of time that you have! But don’t be fooled by the short session — HIIT will definitely get your heart pumping.

Or, try desk exercises

Desk exercises can give you a quick energy boost on days when you just can’t get away from work even to eat lunch. For instance, you can try doing sideways rows using Activ5 and work on your upper body strength. For a lower body exercise, you can work on pistol squats without leaving your chair.

Another example of a desk routine is chair yoga. Simple moves like seated cat and cow or sideway stretches can help you release tension along your spine. It’s perfect for people who are always hunched over their computer for work.

Meal prep your lunch

Preparing your meals over the weekend or even in the morning can free up some time to work out during lunch. You can simply enjoy your food later at your desk when you get back to work.

But while a lunch break workout may just be the boost that you need, there’s no reason that you should be limiting yourself to this period. You can always adjust and work out in the morning or in the evening — the important thing is that you’re getting a healthy amount of exercise no matter the time of day.

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.

Reduce Low Back Pain with Quick Isometric Back Exercises


How to Reduce Low Back Pain with Quick Isometric Workouts

Low back pain is an affliction that is linked to weakened core muscles and musculoskeletal integrity in and around the spinal column. A variety of diagnoses including arthritis, spinal stenosis and endometriosis, cause the conditions leading to low back pain.  An extensive 2014 study suggested that isometric back exercise aids those suffering from low back pain to build core stability for a better quality of life.

Accessible and convenient, quick isometric back exercises and workouts build core muscles and increase vitality. It is ideal for people recovering from back injuries, those who suffer from low back pain, and for busy professionals who spend a lot of time sitting. If your schedule doesn’t allow for long workouts, there is a simple solution that will set you on a track to improving your quality of life.

Moreover, recent innovations in the exercise tech sector have revolutionized isometric exercise in such a way that you can engage in fun, quick workouts while monitoring your activity and documenting your progress.

Self-administer Physical Therapy

Broken bones, strained ligaments and sprained joints all require healing time. During this period, tissue in and around the injury is subject to atrophy. Isometrics can build muscle strength without the discomfort of high-impact activities like running and weight lifting. For example, low back pain from a herniated disc means that the region needs to be eased back into condition. With a doctor’s approval, you can expedite the process with quick workouts that engage the lower back muscles for intervals ranging from five to sixty seconds.

For example, isometric Yoga poses, including the Locust, the Bird-Dog, and the Superman, reduce low back pain. Yes, these are all forms of isometric back exercises! The muscle contraction should be intense enough to be felt but not so much that it causes pain. Repeat these exercises several times throughout the week to gradually build muscle strength. 

Stabilize for Back Pain Relief

The musculoskeletal advantages of isometric exercise also improves core stabilization, which reduces stress on the lower back. Low back pain is often the result of atrophied muscles from an overly sedentary lifestyle.  A recently published study demonstrates that isometric exercise is an excellent solution while providing additional benefits. A panel of 39 female subjects suffering from lower back pain underwent a four-week workout program, resulting in unanimous reports of reduced pain and increased vitality. What’s more, the health improvements lasted for nine months after the official exercise program ended. Quick isometric workouts builds muscle strength around your core, leading to an improved quality of life.

Reduce Low Back Pain from Sitting Too Much

Recent medical research has revealed that regularly sitting down for extended periods contributes to bad posture and low back pain. If sitting for long periods is unavoidable in your job, you don’t have to take it sitting down, so to speak. While at the wheel, behind a desk, or at a computer screen, you can perform isometrics without disrupting your routine. These include abdominal and pelvic floor contractions, among other exercises.  Additionally, as exercising increases circulation, you also benefit from improved mental clarity and enhanced energy.

isometric exercises for lumbar spineIsometric Back Exercises

It can be tough to find appropriate back exercises that help you to become more flexible and strengthen your muscles, without causing injury. Particularly if you a;ready have pre-existing back conditions. But, when you try the isometric back exercises that we have sourced for you through the Activ5 app, it’s a whole new world of opportunity. From lat pull-downs to seated rows, you can use the principles of isometric exercise for back strength.

The Isometric Revolution

Activbody has innovated a way for those interested in isometrics to experience it in a fun, engaging and connected way. The Activ5 device is an isometric exercise device that connects your movements with a smartphone app.  It coaches you through quick workouts while tracking and measuring your levels and progress. With Activ5 as your coach, you can build muscle strength, reduce low back pain, and enjoy an enhanced quality of life.

Sources:

https://draxe.com/isometric-exercises/

http://ptjournal.apta.org/content/85/7/676

http://www.dynamicpt.com/library_treatments_56/

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/expert-answers/sitting/faq-20058005

https://www.zvab.com/9780990606109/0990606104/plp

http://articles.latimes.com/2013/may/25/health/la-he-dont-sit-20130525

http://www.cheatsheet.com/health-fitness/6-exercises-you-can-do-while-sitting-at-your-desk.html/?a=viewall

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/258252724_Effects_of_Stabilization_Exercises_on_Health-Related_Quality_of_Life_in_Women_With_Chronic_Low_Back_Pain

http://www.healthline.com/symptom/low-back-pain

http://www.livestrong.com/article/106461-isometric-exercises-lower-back/

http://www.dianelee.ca/article-training-deep-core-muscles.php

Flowers Again? 5 Things You Can Do to Make Your Mom Love You Even More


It sounds like a question on Family Feud – what are the most common Mother’s Day gifts? According to Forbes.com and based upon the billions of dollars we spend on Mother’s Day presents. the number one gift is… A meal out. Could be brunch, lunch or dinner, but nearly 4 in 10 of you did just that.

But, this answer is kind of misleading. Seriously, how many of you would take your mom out to lunch or dinner and NOT give her something else? Say…jewelry, flowers, a card, or a gift card to her favorite store? Of course, you do! She’s your mom. (By the way, those last four gifts are 2 thru 5 on the Forbes most-popular-gift list.)

5 Tips to Make Your Mom Love You Even More

Well, we have a few ideas, so you can mix it up a bit and make her REALLY happy:

  1. A meal together: NO, this is different! Avoid the The Cheesecake Factory (and calories) this year and do something unique. Make her a favorite meal from her childhood. Don’t cook? Pick up a delicious meal and bring it to her house. If it’s a wonderful day outside, have a picnic. The point is to do something memorable. Take a few photos and you can make a scrapbook as a follow-up give (major bonus points).
  1. Make a scrapbook (you saw this coming): You’ve had a smartphone for years. Pick out the best photos, print them, and make your mom a scrapbook. Sprinkle in some old photos and include some handwritten quotes or a poem or two about moms. If you really want to make it special, have you and your siblings come up with the 55 (or her age) things we love about mom. Write these all over the book. You’ll be surprised how many you come up with when you start reminiscing.

Not creative? Try using the Internet and copy something.

  1. A cool, recurring gift: Get her something she’ll continue to get throughout the year to remind her to keep you in the will. Just make sure it’s something cool and on-point with things she likes to eat, wear, or do. If you’re truly a great child, you will make her a recurring gift. Now THAT’S a boss move.
  1. Something Unique: On the other hand, if you’re really lazy and just don’t care that much about Mother’s Day, at least get her something unique from Etsy or Uncommon Goods.
  1. The Activ5 portable workout device: The best thing you can give your mom this year is something that’s good for her. An Activ5 device and app for her phone has all of the above gifts all “wrapped” into one. First, you’re going to take her out to lunch anyway. Don’t cheap out on your mom; give her this too!

Second, it’s cool and recurring, because she exercises with it every day. Third, it’s going to give you ongoing photo opportunities for a scrapbook as your mom loses weight, becomes more active, and generally enjoys life more, as she uses her Activ5 to get in better shape.

Why is Activ5 the Perfect Mother’s Day Gift?

Any mom can benefit from it: Whether your mom is super active, could lose a few pounds, or maybe has a health condition, Activ5 will help her:

  • Get stronger
  • Lose weight
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Improve stamina

Gets her exercising: The CDC suggest that 80% of moms don’t get their recommended amount of exercise. Activ5 is just the thing to get her going again. Why?

  • It’s an easy to use fitness gadget
  • It calibrates to her fitness and strength levels
  • It’s safe for seniors, thanks to isometric exercises
  • The workouts are fast

But, maybe the best reason you should get an Activ5 portable workout device for your mom is that it says “I love you” better than a bouquet of flowers or a bunch of chocolate strawberries. Tell your mom that exercising is the best way to live a longer, healthier, and more productive life. We love you, mom!

Do Yoga Exercises and Isometrics Help ADHD?


Isometric Yoga for ADHD Helps Relieve Symptoms

ADHD is a condition that can cause difficulties with focus and hyperactivity. Thus, asking a person to perform isometric and yoga exercises to help their ADHD may seem akin to unleashing a bull in a china shop. Ironically, the practice of holding yoga poses is a panacea for people who struggle with stillness and focus and can provide an opportunity for its practitioners to retrain their brains and in doing so relieve their ADHD symptoms.

Is Yoga Isometric: Isometrics, Balance and Yoga Pose Basics

Yoga incorporates both isotonic and isometric contractions. Isotonic refers to muscle in motion and occurs when you change your body position from one yoga pose to the next. Isometric contractions are those that hold yoga poses in place. They are static, with no movement, change in muscle length or joint angle. In fact, isometric exercises, such as those in yoga positions, are a low-impact exercise that provides a full-body workout.

Furthermore, yoga exercises take isometrics one step further to incorporate balance, engaging the vestibular system of the brain. Children, particularly those with ADHD, are often drawn to play that promotes balance (swings, skateboards, balancing activities or those that involve directional-change movement), seeking stimulation as their brains develop. However, holding a yoga pose requires focus, unlike sitting on a playground swing, and provides ADHD sufferers extra opportunity for neurological growth.

How Yoga and Isometric Exercise Helps ADHD

adhd diet and exercise

Yoga teaches concentration. Any type of isometric exercise requires attention to form, and yoga is no exception. Yoga Exercises teach body position awareness, which requires the development of focusing skills.

Improve Body Control. As you develop more body awareness through yoga practice, you gain more control over your movements and as a result, an increased ability to maintain stillness.

Deep breathing is beneficial. Controlled yoga breathing reduces the anxiety that is common in ADHD, as well as ameliorating irritability and inducing calmness.

Meditation improves executive function. Executive function is higher-level thinking. It’s often deficient in ADHD, and it’s a key component of being  organized and  paying attention. Meditation is the practice of increasing awareness of your own thoughts and therefore improves your executive functioning abilities.

Yoga exercises can be done in a class setting or as a home workout. It incorporates simple exercises that build muscle strength, improve stamina, and provides a way for you to get toned and more energetic. Therefore, it’s an effective ADHD management tool for both adults and children, and it’s worth trying if you haven’t yet done so. Classes focused on yoga for beginners can provide ADHD relief almost immediately. 

Applying These Lessons

Find out how to incorporate concentration exercises for adhd adults or children using the Activ5 fitness app for either workout routines or games that include isometric exercise. This how-to-video will show you everything you how to overcome concentration issues and expend energy like you would with isometric yoga or other adhd fitness strategies.

Sources:

http://kolpinstitute.org/preparation/exercise/

http://www.additudemag.com/adhdblogs/27/10006.html

http://www.yogajournal.com/article/lifestyle/focusing-on-a-d-d/

http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1983-32882014000200012

http://www.healthyenergy.net.au/blog/isometric-exercise-how-yoga-completes-your-fitness-training/

http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/How_does_mindfulness_help_control_behavior

5 Steps to Incorporate Yoga into Your Life


More and more people are turning to yoga to become healthier both physically and mentally. Yoga can have many health benefits including improving your muscle strength and tone, increasing your flexibility, protecting your spine and increasing your energy, vitality and mindfulness. 

Of course, starting and maintaining a new habit or routine can be difficult. Behavioral scientists suggest that the best way to create new habits is to start small and build on success.  To help you get started we’ve pulled together five different ways you can incorporate yoga into your daily life right now.

Yoga Stretches at the Office

You’ve probably never imagined lifting weights at the office, but you can easily do yoga while at work. In fact, you don’t even have to bring a yoga mat along. You can perform Chaturanga, plank, upward-facing dog and several other yoga poses right at your office desk.

Take a Community Class

When you hear the words “community class,” you likely envision nighttime lectures focused on gaining a technical degree. As it turns out, though, there are also yoga community classes offered nationally.

Many studios, in fact, offer at least one free weekly class. Once you get involved and meet other participants, you’ll be more inclined to make it a normal part of your routine, if for nothing more than the social benefits.

Practice Yogic Breaths

If you’ve ever been to a yoga class, you’ve undoubtedly heard the words “breathe consciously.” While yogic poses may be the most recognizable aspect of yoga, conscious breathing is also central to the practice.

Whether sitting at your desk or waiting in line at a convenience store, consciously controlling your breathing and taking deep breaths will calm your body and mind. This will also help you master the breathing techniques used with poses regardless of where you are.

Work with What You Have

Everyone wants to feel like they’re progressing in their yogic journey by constantly learning and incorporating new poses. Don’t let this drive slow you down. If you only have five minutes, refrain from wasting that time looking up “how-tos.” Use the ones you’ve already memorized and learn new yoga poses when you have more time.

Download Apps that Incorporate Yoga

Mobile apps  will allow you to incorporate yoga into your new routine at a moment’s notice. Instead of downloading an app that only focuses on yoga, however, get a more rounded app.

The Activ5 app, for instance, has five-minute yoga-themed workouts that track your results and personalize your routine. It also uses gamification, so you’re more likely to develop a new routine just to stay competitive. Activ5 also provides other five-minute isometric workouts, which will help you to build a more comprehensive fitness routine.

From increased flexibility to improved cardiovascular health, yoga comes with numerous benefits. Once you start incorporating yoga into your life, you’ll wonder why it took you so long to get involved in the first place.

Top 10 Isometric Exercise Benefits


Top 10 Isometric Exercise Benefits

Isometric exercises are proven to help build muscle, strength, balance and range of motion. Other isometric exercise benefits include stress reduction, improved mental health, assistance with yoga exercises and injury avoidance. Here are some of the specific isometric exercise benefits.

Lowers Blood Pressure

•             Isometrics have been proven to reduce systolic blood pressure better than aerobic and resistance training in some studies. – Mayo Clinic

Aids in Weight Loss

•             Isometric exercise benefits include reducing both body fat and weight. In a test group, some subjects lost as much as 22 pounds over a 4-week period. – Journal of Applied Research

Saves You Time

•             Using isometric exercise for 6 minutes would be the equivalent muscle work of 30 to 35 minutes on a commercial weight lifting equipment. – Journal of Applied Research

Reduce Overall Pain

•             Older adults experience significant reduction in pain subsequent to several different intensities and durations of isometric contractions. – Official Journal of the American College of Sports Medicine

Reduce Back Pain

•             Isometrics reduces pain and increases vitality among women with low back pain, with effects lasting at least 9 months. –  Journal of Physical Activity and Health

Improve Range of Motion

•             Regular isometric exercises have been shown to significantly improve range of motion. – Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research

Quit Bad Habits (Smoking)

•             Brief isometric exercise provides immediate relief in the desire to smoke. –Human Psychopharmacology Journal

Get Stronger and Bigger Muscles

•             Isometric exercise is associated with an increase in muscle bulk, upper and lower body strength, increase in bone density, and a decrease in bone fractures. – The Journal of Clinical Hypertension

 Benefits Over Aerobic Exercise

•             Stretching and aerobic exercising alone have proven to be a less effective form of training than isometric strength training. -Journal American Medical Association (JAMA)

Improve Stamina

•             Isometric strength training can have beneficial effects on performance during endurance events. -European Journal of Applied Physiology

Isometrics Can Improve Range of Motion


How Isometrics Improve Range of Motion

A sure-fire way to break through a strength plateau is to increase your range of motion. One of the most overlooked and underrated methods to do that is through isometric training. First discovered in the 1950s by researchers Hettinger and Muller, isometrics is where your joint angle and muscle length stay the same during muscle contraction. In essence, your muscles are working but you aren’t actually moving. Although you’re performing little to no movement, isometric training has been proven to increase muscular endurance, strength, and flexibility with surprising effectiveness. But one of the most interesting aspects of isometric exercise is its ability to increase range of motion. Why is this important, you ask? Let us count the ways:

By Increasing Flexibility

Regular isometric exercise significantly improves flexibility which, in turn, contributes to a better range of motion. In Barbosa et al., a resistance training program implemented for elderly women resulted in a significant increase in flexibility. In other words, resistance training without stretching itself increases flexibility all on its own. This result has massive implications for the rehabilitation and physical conditioning of our bodies as we approach the senior stages of life. A further study by Houssein Mohammadi Sanavi et al. found that hamstring muscles of the males in the test group were significantly improved after a six-week program combining isometric contraction with passive stretching. Yet, surprisingly, not only was flexibility increased but also the strength and endurance of the hamstring muscle. Which brings us to our next point…

By Improving Physical Performance

Put simply, isometric exercises will not only increase your flexibility but also make you stronger. A single daily isometric exercise at two-thirds maximum effort for six seconds increases strength by a whopping five percent each week. More curiously, research further revealed that static strength continued to improve even after the conclusion of a program. Not bad results for a week of rest. In Thépaut-Mathieu et al., it was also discovered that subjects had an improvement of muscle contraction at specific training angles that was greater than at other angles (not trained with isometric exercises). So you can be pretty darn confident that isometric exercises will increase flexibility, improve stamina, and produce muscles that are more adaptable, stronger and durable.

By Decreasing Risk of Injury

As flexibility increases and physical performance improves, athletic range of motion is a natural byproduct. You’ll gain a greater sense of coordination and be more able to bend, twist, and avoid injury due to your increased ease of motion. Moreover, since isometric exercise also increases muscular endurance and strength, you’ll be combating early fatigue. And we all know that fatigue is one of the biggest causes of injury whether due to decrease of mental capacity or simply because of clumsy limbs.

How Do I Start Isometrics?

Isometric exercises are straightforward and require no equipment, but it’s sometimes tricky to know where to start. If you’re looking for a bit of guidance, Activ5 is a fantastic way to easily incorporate isometric exercises into a busy fitness schedule. It pairs with your smartphone and coaches you through a full-body strength training workout. It makes integration of an isometric program a no-brainer. You can measure your strength level, gamify your workouts, and track your progress with ease.  That leaves you to just concentrate on your results – and sweating it out, of course!

Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11834101

https://breakingmuscle.com/learn/working-at-a-stand-still-how-to-do-isometric-training

http://jap.physiology.org/content/64/4/1500

http://www.imedpub.com/articles/the-effects-of-maximum-voluntary-isometric-contraction-durations-in-pnf-training-on-muscle-performance.pdf

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15462615

The Benefits of Isometric Exercise and Portable Fitness Devices


For those who wish to continue their weight training while on the move, it can be difficult without the aid of a home gym. But with discipline and the use of a fitness device to track your heart rate and calories burned, the simplicity of location allows for an established routine. In turn, you can more effectively generate muscle growth. If you find yourself in this situation or working from home, you should consider isometric exercises because you can do them anywhere.

Isometric Exercise Tips

Gym memberships provide weight machines for the most common muscle exercises: concentric and eccentric contractions. With these, muscles shorten through lifting loads or lengthen through lowering loads. The third contraction, isometric, occurs through steady muscle tension (think the “planking” challenge). Without challenging the muscle to change its length, the body can activate multiple muscle groups simultaneously. Two-thirds of a person’s maximum effort performed for six second sets can increase strength by 5% over a period of ten weeks.

You can practice isometric exercise by using your body weight in exercises such as the squat, lunge, and push-up. Instead of completing a full-rep for these, pause halfway through your range of motion. This will work your agonist muscles as well as your antagonist muscles.

With a bench press and squat, you don’t need a load on a bar for your variations. Set the movement of the pins to the mid-range, and where a sticking point may occur, place a second set of pins. For power racks, set the pins at the next height. This exercise is also useful for a deadlift. Simply place more weight than usual for your one-rep and hold for six to eight seconds.

For additional convenience and coaching, consider a portable fitness device. It can track your progress and provide the necessary resistance to increase your strength and endurance.