If you're new to the world of fitness, it may seem like lifting super heavy weights for hours on end is the fastest way to build muscle. Well, we've got news for you: an isometric workout can be just as effective -- and it comes with all the same incredible benefits without moving a muscle. Yup, you read that right! Isometric exercises involve staying still and can be an excellent way to strength train.
Interested in learning more? Read on to learn everything you need to know about isometric movements and some of the best exercises you can do anywhere.
What Are Isometric Exercises, Exactly?
In a nutshell, isometric exercises are static holds. You contract or extend your muscles to get into the position -- like pulling yourself up to a pull-up bar or dropping down into a squat -- and then hold there, still and steady, for… well, a while. It sounds pretty simple, but it's a concept that can be extremely effective for both beginners and fitness gurus alike.
What Are The Benefits of Isometric Exercises?
There are a ton of great benefits to incorporating isometric exercises into your fitness routine. Here are some of them:
Benefit #1: They Are Effective
Arguably the most important benefit is the foundational proof that isometric exercises are proven (yes, proven) to be effective for resistance training.
Benefit #2: They Can Help Your Weight Loss Efforts
Isometric exercises can burn a whole lot of calories and boost your metabolism, which both aid in fat loss.
Benefit #3: They Are Low Impact
Another great benefit is the low-impact nature of isometrics. You see, low-impact movements give you the benefits of exercise without jarring your body and putting stress or damage on other areas like your joints.
Benefit #4: They Reduce The Risk Of Injury
Ligaments and tendons are the parts of your body that hold everything together -- kind of like glue. The stronger your connective tissue is, the stronger you'll be. Plus, the stronger your ligaments and tendons are, the less likely you are to succumb to an injury.
Benefit #5: They Improve Muscle Coordination And Balance
Isometric exercises cause your neurotransmitter receptors to fire and communicate with your muscles to engage. When these all-important receptors fire, you're improving your connectivity and coordination throughout your entire body. Additionally, your balance is improved as you become much more in control of your body and learn to equalize forces, enhancing your muscle and body control.
Tips for Isometric Exercises
Before we dive into some awesome isometric exercises that you can literally do anywhere, here are a few tips to get the most out of each movement:
Tip #1: Squeeeeze It
Since you're not relying on any kind of movement to fatigue your muscles, it's important to squeeze them hard. The technical term for this is "maximal voluntary contraction," which is essentially just a fancy word that simply means you should tighten up your muscles as much as you can.
Tip #2: Don't Forget To Take A Deep Breath
Believe it or not, when doing isometrics, the natural tendency is to completely forget to breathe. Tightening up your muscles can also lead to tightening up your breathing, but whatever you do -- don't do it! Unless, of course, your goal is to get super red in the face and scare off your workout buddy, then knock yourself out.
Tip #3: Assume The *Proper* Position And Switch It Up
Form is very, very important in isometric exercises. You hear fitness fanatics talk about proper form all the time since poor form can lead to an injury. Say you're squatting 250 pounds with poor form -- the extra weight could cause some serious damage to your lower back.
Now, in isometrics, you don't have a ton of weight pushing against you, so it's kind of hard to get injured, but positioning is still really important. Research has shown that varying the angles when doing isometric exercises can greatly increase muscle strength. If you only do the same 'ol posture over and over again, you'll not only resemble a human statue, but you'll also be limiting the benefits you receive -- so switch it up!
Isometric Exercises You Can Try Today
Now that you've got those tips under your belt, let's dive into some of the best isometric exercises you can do anywhere, anytime.
To take these movements up a notch and really feel the burn, we love performing isometrics with added resistance from HYGEAR: GEAR 1. This innovative resistance training system is truly one of a kind, replacing traditional gym equipment and a personal trainer, saving you thousands of dollars while adding versatility and portability -- what's not to love?
Ready to get your isometric on? Grab some water and your bands. Let’s get started!
Isometric Biceps Curl
Attach your GEAR 1 to a low anchor at the bottom of a sturdy door. With a handle in each hand, take a couple of steps back and stand so your feet are about shoulder-width apart. Bend your elbows and lift the handles until your arms form a 90-degree angle with forearms parallel to the ground.
Hold for 30 to 60 seconds.
Secure your GEAR 1 to a high anchor at the top of a sturdy door. Grip a handle in each hand, and stand close to the door, facing the door. Stand up tall with your back straight, chest up, and feet about hip-width apart. Straighten your arms and point them down with the palm of each hand secured at your hops. Then, drop into a squat, so your thighs are parallel with the floor.
Hold for 30 to 60 seconds.
Lying Hip Flexion
Anchor your GEAR 1 to the bottom of a sturdy door. Put on the ankle straps and attach both bands to ankle straps. Lay on the floor roughly three to four feet away from the anchor point while facing the door. Begin with your legs totally straight (pointed towards the door anchor) and arms at your sides with both palms down. Then, pull your feet away from the door and bend your legs, bringing your knees towards your chest.
Hold for 30 to 60 seconds.
A Final Word
Isometrics are an excellent way to build muscle mass and burn calories -- all while avoiding the risk of injuring yourself from lifting heavy weights! While isometrics are effective all on their own, you can use GEAR 1 from HYGEAR to take the movements up a notch for an even deeper burn. This incredible total workout system delivers a versatile, ultra-portable fitness solution that puts YOU in the driver's seat when it comes to how and when you want to train.
Ready to reach your fitness goals? Check out HYGEAR today!