How Isometric Exercises Work Your Muscles Without Much Movement

Try this quick experiment: While holding a cup in your hand, reach your arm out in front of you and hold that position for as long as you can. Your arm gets tired and burns after a while, doesn't it? You're working your muscle isometrically, without moving, and yet it's a great way to work out and build strength. Image by The US Army.

Roman Fitness Systems shares a couple of isometric training ideas with a few basic exercises. The idea is to hold a position in the middle of the movement where you're particularly weak or produce a lot of tension. Here are a couple of the exercises and the positions within them that you can hold:

  • Push-up: Hold yourself in the bottom position. If you have a TRX trainer, you can simply hold yourself up at the top, too.
  • Pull-ups: You can either hang to work on grip strength or hold yourself at the top, above the bar, for a serious challenge.
  • Bulgarian Split Squat: Hold yourself at the bottom position, squeezing your butt muscle of the leg that's still on the bench. If you're having trouble with a split squat, you can try a lunge instead and simply hold the bottom position.
  • Crunches: Hold and squeeze your abs mid-crunch (without just rounding your back).

Each set is based on how long you can hold the isometric contraction. For example:

  • SET 1: 5 seconds ON -- 5 seconds OFF
  • SET 2: 10 seconds ON -- 10 seconds OFF
  • SET 3: 15 seconds ON -- 15 seconds OFF

Continue on this path until reaching 50 seconds ON.

Check the article for more isometric-related workouts and ideas.

Without Moving A Muscle [Roman Fitness Systems]

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