Do you sometimes find yourself skipping the strength training you know you should be doing, just because it’s hard to squeeze it into your hectic schedule?
Sure, it’s possible to do a very effective strength workout exercise routine at home with minimal equipment, but even that can take time and energy that, on some days, is pretty hard to find.
Well, there is an effective way to work your muscles with no exercise equipment equipment at all, even while you’re busy taking care of other business at the same time. If you’ve got 10 seconds you can spare, you can squeeze in one fitness exercise. And over the course of a day, you can get in a full body workout without interrupting your busy schedule.
This training method is called isometrics, or isometric exercise. As you’ll soon find out, it’s not a complete substitute for more traditional forms of strength training, and for some people with specific medical concerns it may not be appropriate at all. But it could be just what you need when you can’t do your regular exercise routine, or when you want to give your training a little boost by adding an additional element.
What Is Isometrics?
Isometric exercise is your body’s answer to the question, “What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object?” The answer is that your muscles will get stronger without actually moving. If you’ve been doing your homework and reading up on strength training, then you already know that your muscles gain strength when you challenge them to produce more force than they’re used to. This is typically done by forcing them to move against resistance or weight, like when you do a bicep curl in weight exercise while holding a dumbbell. As you gradually increase the weight or resistance, the muscle responds by getting stronger and leaner.
But muscles don’t actually have to move this added weight in order to get stronger. If the resistance is so high that they can’t make it move, they can still get stronger just by trying. There are three ways a muscle can contract to produce force (and eventually build strength)
- A concentric contraction occurs when a muscle is contracting while getting shorter. This is the contraction your biceps do, for example, when curling a dumbbell up.
- An eccentric contraction occurs when a muscle is contracting while getting longer. This is the contraction your biceps do, for example, when lowering a dumbbell back down during a biceps curl.
- An isometric contraction occurs when a muscle contracts without changing its length or causing any movement of the bones to which it is attached. The best example of this is pushing against a wall, or pulling up on a window that is stuck. This is the contraction your biceps do, for example, if you were to pause anywhere along the lifting or lowering phase of a bicep curl—your muscles are working without shortening or lengthening.
Why Include Isometrics?
There are several very good reasons to include isometric contractions in your strength training program. For one thing, real life situations often require the ability to hold yourself in a certain position—carrying several bags of shopping, squatting down to clean a floor, holding a baby in your arms—and isometrics is a good way to train your muscles to get better at handling those specific positions. For another, isometric training usually involves exerting maximum force, which will activate and train all of the available muscle fibres’ and lead to more significant improvements in strength in less time.
But perhaps the most significant benefit for many people is that isometric training can literally be done anywhere, without any special equipment at all. All you need is about 10 seconds to do a single, effective isometric exercise, and you can probably do it without anyone noticing you’re actually exercising.
Let’s say, for example, that your day is just too busy for you to break out the dumbbells and do several sets of bicep curls such as in strength workouts. If you can find 10 seconds, a couple of times during the day, to press your palms together as hard as you can, you can still exercise your arm muscles effectively. If you can sit in a chair with your abs engaged (tightened) and your feet held just slightly off the floor, you’re giving those core muscles a good workout. If that’s too easy for you, just push down on your knees with your hands while trying not to let your feet touch the floor. To work those upper back and neck muscles, use Isometric Exercises clasp your hands behind your neck, elbows wide, and push your head back while trying to push it forward with your hands. With a little creativity, you can think of ways to use one muscle or limb to oppose the opposite one (or find some immovable object in your environment to push or pull against), so that you can give most of your muscles a good isometric workout. As long you exert as much force as you can for at least 10 seconds for each exercise, you’ll get the training benefit.
If you’ve enjoyed reading this Blog please share with your friends you can also visit: www.keithcorefitness.co.uk for further blogs.