Looking to lose weight? Try our FREE Calorie Counter »  |  Log In
Articles Fitness Nutrition

Understanding Isometric Exercises

Isometric exercises have become increasingly popular, because they have been proven to be effective in helping people maintain and achieve a fit and healthy body. Isometric is a term that is made up of 2 words, namely, "iso" and "metric," which mean "equal" and "length," respectively. As the term suggests, isometric exercises refer to exercises that are performed without altering the length of muscles. They require you to tense your muscles without actually moving any part of your body. These exercises are widely practiced by fitness enthusiasts because they can be used to strengthen specific muscle groups in the body.

Isometric Exercises Explained

There are 3 different types of muscles in the body: slow, intermediate and fast twitch fibers. These fibers are intermingled in most of the muscles that are found in the body. The slow twitch muscles do not tire easily, and they have the ability to undergo extensive isometric contractions. Non-postural muscles in the arms and the legs have higher concentrations of fast twitch muscles, and they are capable of generating more power in a shorter period of time.

In order to maximize the effectiveness of isometric exercises, you need to develop a good understanding of the characteristics of different muscle groups in the body, so that you will be able to select the right exercise routines. Isometric exercises should not be practiced in isolation; they should be complemented with other forms to make up a complete exercise routine. When targeting a certain muscle group, you should also exercise the corresponding joints to improve muscle strength.

Benefits of Isometric Exercises

Isometric exercises are popular among fitness enthusiasts for several reasons. They can be conveniently performed any time and anywhere, whether you're at home, in your workplace or even when you're driving. Another advantage of isometric exercises is that they can be done without the use of expensive equipment. They are effective for sculpting and strengthening the body, and they pose very little health threat to the body. Isometric exercises can also be used for improving a person's appearance, especially when they're applied to the face and the neck. After doing facial isometric exercises, you will find that your face will become firmer and more elastic.

Disadvantages of Isometric Exercises

Isometric exercises don't generate as much blood flow as isotonic exercises, and this results in a decrease in muscular endurance, and static contractions can also cause muscles to respond at a slower pace. Many people fail to maintain an isometric exercise plan on a regular basis because it's not an enjoyable form of exercise. Also, it has been proven that isometric exercises can contribute to higher blood pressure, and they can lead to inconsistent heartbeat and blood vessel damage. Those who are suffering from high blood pressure or heart disease should not practice isometric exercises.

Muscle contractions during isometric exercises can create more force than contractions that are achieved by lifting weights. Although they are effective in raising muscle tension, they don't alter the length of muscles. As such, they are mostly used for the purpose of rehabilitation.

Article Comments