Do you often find yourself avoiding the strength workout you know you should be doing? You are not alone in this. Most people find it hard to squeeze an effective strength training routine into their hectic schedule.
However, it is possible to do isometric exercises at home with minimal or no equipment at all, even while you are busy taking care of other things at the same time.
As long as you have a few minutes or seconds to spare, you can squeeze in one exercise. Thus, over the course of a day, you will get in a full body workout.
Training with isometrics, however, is unbelievably difficult, even for individuals whose main job is to train for a living. Also known as static strength training, isometrics are contractions of a particular muscle group or muscle.
During the workout, the length of the muscle does not noticeably change, and the affected joint does not move. Isometric workouts are good for general strength conditioning and for maintaining muscle strength in a rehabilitative setting.
Unlike standard strength training, isometric workouts are done in a static position, which means that you can work out anywhere without needing special equipment or weights. In fact, you only need ten seconds to perform one isometric exercise.
To give you an idea of what a static strength exercise may look like, think about trying to open a window that is stuck, or trying to push against an immovable object, such as a signpost or wall. This will exercise your muscles even though you’re not moving the signpost, wall, or window.
Alexander Zass (photo), a famous strongman, credits much of his exceptional strength to his isometric workouts as a World War 1 prisoner. He would push on the chains and bars that held him captive and rapidly saw benefits.
Soon after, he started publicizing this workout method through his mail order courses.
If he was able to do it as a prisoner, there is no reason why you can’t incorporate isometrics into your regular workout regime. Even Arnold Schwarzenegger, winner of seven Mr. Olympia titles, credits his success to incorporating isometrics into his training repertoire.
Benefits of Isometrics
There are many benefits of isometric training, and they include all the major benefits of strength training and weight lifting.
Before I explain the benefits of isometrics, it might be useful to consider a few of the general benefits of regular training. Some of the general benefits include; increased lean muscle mass, increased weight loss, improved metabolism, lower cholesterol, and decreased risk of osteoporosis.
Isometrics provide all of those benefits while at the same time providing the following:
• Improved lactic acid tolerance
• Increased time under tension
• Create tension in an extreme motion range
• Hypertrophy without injury to the joints
• Better mind–muscle connection
• Increased strength in weak portions of a workout
• Safer than conventional workouts
• Radically improve conventional training
These are some of the tried and tested isometric exercises. However, you are not limited to these. I encourage you to get creative and attempt others as you go.
• Bulgarian Split Squat
This is the definition of a leg quivering, quad burning isometric workout. If you have never done this workout before, prepare yourself for a lot of glute shaping and a little pain.
The Bulgarian split squat trains each leg independently, and is an indispensable exercise for athletes. It is a variation of the conventional split squat. With the traditional version, both feet are on the floor, while the Bulgarian version is done with the rear foot off the ground.
While you are in the bottom position of this workout, you need to squeeze the glute of the leg that is on the workout bench. However, you will have a hard time maintaining an erect position with your upper body.
For better results, try increasing the difficulty by elevating your front leg. Benefits of the Bulgarian split squat include:
– It makes your leg muscles stronger and bigger
– It is an excellent fat burner
– It reduces the chance of injuries
– It gives you better abs
– It improves your jogging and running speed
– It is extremely safe
The most common and basic exercises for the human body, push ups do a tremendous job of defining your chest, triceps, abs, torso and shoulders. No matter where you are, you can perform push–ups, and best of all, you do not have to buy expensive equipment or pay anything. Of all workouts you can do, few are more effective than push–ups.
You can do pull–ups in one of two ways. The most basic is the hanging position. This method improves your grip strength and teaches your scapula how to position or pack itself down and back.
The second method, which is more difficult, comes from an isometric at the top of the movement when you are actually over the bar. While in this position, you should jam your elbows into your ribs and maintain an erect posture.
• Romanian Deadlift
The Romanian deadlift is the best leg workout for your hard–to–target hamstrings. However, after these isometrics, your hamstrings will be killing you the next day.
Fortunately, your gains in strength will more than make up for the pain.
Deadlifts are the best workouts to train the posterior chain, which consists of the muscles on the back of your body, such as the hamstrings, glutes, and lower back muscles.
Proper execution of Romanian deadlifts will improve your balance, strengthen your thigh muscles, and make your feet stronger.
This is where isometrics may be most effective. Most people use multiple muscles to complete core movements without contracting their abdominal muscles. For example, violently swinging your legs to complete hanging leg lifts.
This is such a waste. You need to try isometrics with hanging leg raises, wheel roll-outs, or even traditional crunches to get the best results.
You can perform these exercises in any number of ways; however, if it is your first time with isometrics, it would be best to incorporate them as finishers into your regular workout regime. Isometric exercises may look simple, but are actually quite demanding.
They can tax the muscular and nervous systems pretty heavily. However, if you master the methods and exercises outlined above, you will be able to build your strength and get rid of unwanted fat without even moving a muscle.