What are isometric exercises?

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Personal/Fitness Training Blog

When you are performing isometric exercises, the length of the muscle you are exercising and the angle of the affected joint does not change.

Because isometric exercises are done in one fixed position, they’ll only improve strength in that particular position. If you want to improve your entire body’s strength, you would have to do various different isometric exercises. They also don’t improve speed or athletic performance.

There are three types of isometric exercises:

  1. Presses
  2. Pulls
  3. Holds

When are isometric exercises efficient?

Some people might think that going to the gym would be a more efficient use of their exercise time because you can do exercises that work out various different muscles at the same time. But, in some cases, isometric exercises are the better option.

Here’s why.

  1. Injury

When you have an injury, say for instance your rotator cuff is injured, isometric exercises can be recommended to help you stabilise your shoulder to maintain strength while you are recovering.

  1. Arthritis

Someone who has arthritis might also turn to isometric training. Using their muscles to move a joint through its full range of motion can aggravate arthritis. As they perform isometric exercises, however, their strength can improve and they can move on to try other types of strength training. This could help reduce pain and improve their physical functioning.

  1. Blood pressure

Isometric exercises can also help lower your blood pressure. It is important to exercise at a lower level of intensity, though, as high levels of intensity can cause dramatic increases in your blood pressure.

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The benefits of isometric exercises

Health problems or not, isometric exercises can still contribute to your health. Here’s how:

  1. Age-related muscle loss

As you grow older, you will lose muscle mass as well as mobility and flexibility. Your body isn’t able to digest amino acids as quickly as it used to, which can also slow down the time it takes for your muscles to recover. This makes physical exercises much more difficult.

Because isometric exercises build muscle strength and endurance it is a great way to keep or regain your muscle strength, endurance and mobility as you age.

  1. Muscle activation

Isometric exercises provide you with the highest amount of muscle activation. This is when your muscle recruits motor units. The more motor units you can recruit, the stronger your muscles will be.

Studies have shown that intense isometric exercises utilise about 95% of your muscles. Over time, your muscle will permanently used as much of its mass as possible when engaged in physical activity.

  1. Muscle rehab

Isometric exercises can drastically reduce the recovery time of muscles. For your muscles to grow back bigger and stronger you need to train them back to health after injury. It is a great way to rehabilitate your muscles without placing too much strain on them.

Isometric exercises improve your body’s ability to apply power from a static position to maintain a position for a period of time and to prepare your body to perform immediately after power movements.

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