Livekick Team | Jan. 25, 2018
Fitness trends these days may seem to value extremely rigorous activity (think CrossFit, boxing, bouncing on a trampoline, for example). But believe it or not, you can build some serious strength without moving much at all. Isometrics strength training builds strength and improves muscle definition through static, rather than dynamic, positions.
There are three different types of muscle contractions. A concentric contraction occurs when the muscle tenses while shortening which happens to the bicep during a dumbbell bicep curl. An eccentric contraction occurs when the muscle tenses while lengthening. This contraction happens to the tricep as the dumbbell is lowered to the starting position of the bicep curl. In isometric contraction, the muscle tenses while remaining the same length, like in the plank. Isometric exercises activate muscle fibers but, since there are equal forces pressing against each other, there is no movement. Other examples of isometric moves include the superman, glute bridge, chin up hold and chair and prayer pose.
Benefits of isometrics
The biggest benefit of isometric contractions is that is activated a greater amount of muscle fiber recruitment than either eccentric or concentric contraction. It also increases overall strength, decreases blood pressure and promotes weight loss. Isometrics are great for people with or healing from an injury, elderly folks and those with special conditions. It helps improve joint strength and mobility, overall muscle strength, balance and coordination and connective tissue.
Do I need special equipment to do isometrics?
One more benefit of isometrics is the convenience because they don’t require equipment so training can happen anywhere. Of course, equipment variations are available for those looking for significant increases in strength.
Get the most out of your isometrics training with these tips!
In isometric training, “maximal voluntary contraction” or squeezing is the most important part. Since the moves don’t rely on movement to fatigue the muscles, the squeeze is front and center. But don’t worry about going all #beastmode each and every time. Research shows benefits of isometrics can occur at 60-80% of your maximum.
Remember to breathe
Constricted muscles often lead to constricted breathing which is a hinderance during training. No one wants to pass out during a session. To make sure you stay upright and feeling good, avoid taking shallow breaths from the chest. Make sure to breathe deep from your diaphragm or belly. Ask your Livekick trainer to make sure _____
Form comes first.
Even without the added variable of extra weight, form is still crucial. Repeating the same movement over and over again limits the benefits, for instance, doing the same plank day in and day out. Research has shown varying the angle during isometric exercise increases muscle strength. So throw in varying angles, do moves from your toes instead of with feet flat, to continue to challenge your body.
To get the most out of isometrics, try including 5-6 exercises into your workout routine. Studies show just 10 minutes of isometrics three times a week will increase your strength about 5% a week. Isometrics are a great addition to any workout, helping you live a healthier, more energetic life.
Ask your Livekick trainer for isometric exercises to add to your work out. Don't have a Livekick trainer? Join us here!