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Isokinetic Exercise for Beginners

Exercises consisting of movements done at a constant speed within a set range are defined as isokinetic exercises. In this type of exercise, the speed of muscle contractions remain unchanged regardless of how much effort is exerted. Isokinetic exercises help train specific muscles to gain strength, endurance and elasticity by varying the load of resistance and the range of the movements performed. With a preset speed of contraction, muscles and joints will be allowed their full range of motion without the risk of injury. The safety and target specific qualities of isokinetic exercises make them ideal for clinical therapy, rehabilitation and professional athletic training purposes. However, very expensive equipment is needed to maintain speed, and these are normally not available to the general public.

For fitness training purposes, however, a few types of gym equipment do have speed control functions. Treadmills and cycling machines allow you to preset the speed of workout and can maintain the speed for the entire duration of training. Without programmable equipment, speed control will not be precise, but rough estimations can be done by synchronizing your movements with a time count. Here are 3 simple isokinetic exercises that beginners can try.

Brisk Walking on a Treadmill

Start by presetting the treadmill speed to a quick walking pace at about 4 miles per hour. Walk at this pace for 3 minutes. Manually increase the speed to around 4.5 miles per hour to a brisk walk, and continue at this pace for the rest of your workout. This exercise is a low impact, full body aerobics exercise that is great for beginners. If you want a more challenging exercise, carry a dumbbell in each hand when you walk, or increase the speed to a comfortable jogging pace.

Arms Lift with a Light Body Bar

This gentle exercise focuses the training on the muscle groups from the upper body, including your chest, shoulders, abs and arms. Start by standing straight with your feet firmly planted at hip distance apart. Hold the body bar securely in both hands with the bar resting against the front of your thighs. On a count to 5, lift your arms to raise the bar over your head while keeping the elbows straight. On the next count to 5, lower the arms and return to the starting position. Repeat this movement for 10 to 15 repetitions for each set, and do 2 to 3 sets. For beginners, you should always start with a very light bar, and gradually increase the load as you become more advanced.  

Simple Squat

This is a beginner level exercise that targets your abs and lower body muscles. Stand with your feet at hip distance apart, toes pointed forward and arms lifted straight in front of your shoulders. Count to 4 and sit back to a squat without moving your arms. Hold for 2 counts, and return to standing on the next count to 4. Repeat this exercise 10 to 15 times. To make it more challenging, do the exercise with a light dumbbell in each hand.

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