Using Isometric Exercises to Supplement Fitness Routines
Learn how to sneak in isometric exercises throughout the day to add to workout goals. These exercises take little time and can be fit into one’s day.
According to Every Woman’s Guide to Personal Power by Wendie Pett (Bronze Bow Publishing, 2004), isometric exercise “strengthens a particular muscle by tightening it, holding it, and then relaxing.” In effect, these exercises offer spot training, working a specific muscle. Isometric workouts avoid removing the joints in a repetitive action.
As Pett suggests, isometric exercise can be an option for individuals with arthritis or painful joints which still want to maintain muscle tissue. These exercises can also be incorporated throughout the day by anyone pressed for time to fit in a workout. Isometrics won’t develop sculpted muscles; however, they can supplement an exerciser’s workout plan.
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How to Do Isometrics
The following exercises use maximum intensity, either by contracting the muscle or pressing against an immovable object for ten or more seconds. Because power can be increased as muscle strength develops, isometric exercises can provide a constant challenge. The practices are from Wendie Pett’s book.
Isometric Shoulder Workout
Stand in a doorway with the palms flat against the door frame at shoulder height. Press out against the door frame for at least ten seconds.
Stand in a doorway with the end of the hands pushed against the door frame. Curl the fingers into a loose fist. Push against the door frame with the end of the hand and wrist.
Core Strength and Stretch Exercise
Lie face down on a chair or stool with the body held straight. Clasp hands behind the neck. Bend head and feet upward in a concise movement and hold.
Upper Back Exercises
Bend elbows and hold hands directly in front of the chest. Hold one hand, so it faces the floor and the other hand, so it faces the ceiling—Curl’s fingers and interlock. Slowly pull outward to maximum contraction. Change hand position.
Repeat the earlier move; only keep the hands overhead. Clasp fingers, with one hand facing up and the other facing down while pulling outward. Change hand position.
Stand and lean forward. Clasp hands behind the knees. Pull-on the legs as if trying to lift the legs with the arms. Use the upper back and shoulders to avoid stressing the lower back.
Thigh Toning Exercise
Stand with feet nearly two feet from the wall. Lower the body into a squat with the thighs parallel to the floor—the back presses against the wall. Do one repetition, holding for as long as possible.
Exercisers can use these activities to inspire other isometric exercises that they can incorporate throughout their day. Try pressing against a wall or kitchen counter in a push-up movement to work the chest, abdominals, and back. Press the flats of the palms against the underside of a table and lift.