What is your idea of a good workout? Jumping extra hard to burn some extra calories? Well, then perhaps you haven’t heard of isometric exercises, the no-movement exercise which works just fine to strengthen your muscles, shed the excess fat and just get toned.
Yes, you can tone your muscles without moving the muscles! Sounds intriguing! No wonder it has gained popularity in the recent years. Gaining muscles without moving a muscle! This interesting form of training is known as isometric exercise and has gained much popularity in the recent times. Quite the lazy person’s way of losing weight right? So, now you can officially bid goodbye to those grueling sessions at the gym and try some great isometric workouts to tone up and slim down.
Let’s get down to the basics of isometrics exercises. Suppose you join your hands in a prayer position and squeeze it hard to tense up your muscles. You will feel it not only in your hands but also your chest and arms, yet you haven’t moved a single muscle. That’s right you have successfully completed an isometric exercise. Do you finish up your workouts with a plank sometimes? Then, you already have started doing isometric exercises. When you do barre exercises, you actually do isometric exercises.
So just take a break from your regular gym routine and concentrate on muscles instead, with isometric exercises. The best part of these exercises is that you really do not need any equipment to nail these workouts. Your body-weight will do and it is a happy break from your mundane routine.
A Few Rules to follow while you do Isometric Workouts:
Basically, there are three rules to get your isometric workout right every time. Read more to find out,
- Squeeze it tight- Yes, every time you have to squeeze it really tight as you are not moving your muscles much you have to compensate by squeezing them hard. This is also known as maximal voluntary contraction.
- Take a deep breath- When you do these workouts you tend to forget focussing on your breath. Breathing should be effortless and from your lower belly and it should grow bigger when you breathe it in. Place your left thumb on your belly button and keep your left palm on your lower belly. Next, place your right hand on the left hand and breathe deeply, while closing your eyes. Breathe in for 5 counts and breathe out for five counts. This is how you should breathe during the entire sequence of isometric exercises.
- Assume the right position – Form is the crux of isometric exercises. Poor form can lead to injuries. So, first, you should work on your form. You hear trainers talk about proper form all the time since poor form can lead to injury. Say you’re bench pressing 100 pounds with poor form—the extra weight could cause damage to your shoulders or low back.
Examples of the Best Isometric Exercises:
Now that you know about the impact of isometric exercises on your body, try the following exercises which can easily be regarded as the perfect examples of the best isometric exercises.
- High Planks
Get yourself into push-up position and ensure your spine is straight. Try to tense your upper back muscles, squeezing it really tight.
Note: Maintain the right height of your butt, not too high, not too low. You work your core and back with this exercise.
- Self-Arm Wrestling
Have you tried this interesting way of wrestling? Bend the right arm at a 90-degree angle and then put your right hand with your left hand together. Push the two hands together with all your might. Your right biceps will prevent your arm from dropping while your left triceps will try to push your right arm down. Repeat this move on the other side as well.
Note: Don’t tense your muscles too much. This workout works your biceps and triceps.
Stand straight and keep your feet about shoulder-width apart. Squat down low so that your thighs remain parallel to the floor. Just don’t hold this position, try and squeeze your feet together. This enables your inner thigh muscles to contract more.
Note: Ensure that your knees don’t go over your toes. This workout works your glutes, abductors, and quads.
- Forearm Plank
Drop into a forearm plank position and ensure that your spine remains straight. Tighten your abs as hard as you possibly can.
Note: Keep the position of your butt right, not too high in the air not too low. Keep your shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles in line. This workout works your abs.
- Triceps Extension against Wall
Drop into a lunge position and keep your fists on the wall at the level of your head. With the help of your triceps push your fists hard into the wall.
Note: Stop trying to tense your shoulders and ensure you keep breathing for the entire duration. You get to work your triceps with this exercise.
- Calf Raise
Get on your toes, and try to go as high as you can, feel the contraction in both the calf muscles. Hold the pose. Relax and rise again.
Note: Try to keep your upper body still while you do this exercise. This isometric move, as the name suggests works your muscles.
- Wall Sit
Stand at least 2 feet away from a sturdy wall and lean your back against it. Bring your bottom down so that your legs are aligned to a 90-degree angle. It should look as if you are about to sit on your chair. Try to hold this position for 15 seconds and perform at least 5 rounds of it.
Note: Keep your form right while you do this one and don’t sink your bottom too low. This move works your quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings.
Isometric exercises are a favorite of mine on the days I don’t like to exert my body too much, you know the regular drill like lifting, heavy or jumping too high. But are they an able substitute for cardio workouts or strength-training? Not really, the best way to ensure that you get a good workout is to balance it all. Add a little bit of everything. Always remember not to push your body too much, even when you do isometric holds listen to your body and stop right there if you experience pain. Go ahead, work your way to a toned body the isometric way.