What is Isometrics

by Stuart

Isometrics exercise definition: It is a type of strength training that uses self resistance in static positions in order to tone muscles. There is no range of motion as in other forms of exercise. The goal is to strengthen muscles, bones, and tendons. The term isometrics translates to “having equal measurement” in the Greek language. Its roots can be found in yoga and Chinese martial arts. This type of training can be broken down into four categories.

Using the body’s muscle against itself (i.e. squeezing hands together in front of the body), using structural items (i.e. pushing against a stationary wall), using elastic equipment and/or dumbbells (i.e. flexing then holding in a fixed position), and using plate type machines that have either an analog or digital readout of maximal force are all forms of isometric exercise.

Isometrics differs from dynamic exercise in use of muscle contractions. Dynamic exercise uses range of motion in building strength in two ways. The concentric contraction of muscles is when the muscle is at its minimal length, and eccentric contraction is when the muscle is at its maximum length. Think of the dynamics of a bicep curl. When the weight is “curled” up toward the body, this is concentric. When the weight is lowered, this is eccentric. This range of motion is what strengthens your muscles.

In isometrics, the strength building comes from pitting muscle against muscle. Think of an irresistible force meeting an immovable object. In a sense, you are flexing your muscle and holding it in place. This contraction is what builds strength. Isometric training can be used on its own or in conjunction with dynamic exercise to sculpt muscles and build strength.

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