Isometric means without movement. Another way of defining isometric is to break down the word — iso means equal and metric is a measurement.
In relation to strength training, equal measurement means your muscle remains at the same length.
While doing isometrics exercises your muscles will not contract and release or change length during isometric training, and your limbs and joints will remain in the same position.¹
Isometric exercises have the advantage of being possible to perform wherever you want, without any equipment. The main feature of this type of exercise is that the muscles engaged do not change in length and the joints do not move during exercises. Basically you train your muscles with no dynamic movement.
One of the main benefits of isometric training is that the body is able to activate nearly all the available motor units. Isometric exercises help to lose weight significantly, have been found to help, increase overall strength and even decrease high blood pressure.
Isometric workouts strengthen the whole range of posterior chain muscles on the back side of your body (hamstrings, glutes, lats, scapular retractors, and rotator cuff muscles) and the anterior chain as well (the quads, core, and pectoral muscles).² Building core strength brings balance between the musculature of both the front and back of your body.
Isometric exercises are a perfect way to develop your core strength.
Core strength is important not only for those abs but it provides support for you spine, lower back and helps to keep better balance. Your core is designed to prevent the spine from going too far into extension. It also helps to prevent injuries and protects the inner organs and central nervous system.
The icon of isometric exercises is Alexander Zass. Due to his strength, he managed to escape when captured during World War I. He had this to say about isometric training:
The great secret of developing strength is to do so in a way which will store up energy instead of dissipating it, and build up the stamina as well; and the only method I know which really does this is exercise against very strong resistance.
One of the strongest men in history and a phenomenal wrestler Alexander Zass was a strongman in the circus, traveling around Russia for many years back around the beginning of the twentieth century. He was born in Vilnius, Lithuania and lived from 1888 to 1962. He used his strength to break his shackles and bend the iron bars of his window to climb out of jail.³
A few examples of Isometric Exercises:
• Plank – In general, the plank pose strengthens the arms, wrists, spine and abdomen. To maintain the plank pose, you have to draw your abdomen up toward your spine; this action targets the deeper muscles of the abdomen that support the spine.º
• Side Plank – Another perfect exercise that strengthen your core before moving on to other exercises is side plank.
• Hollow Hold – is one of the most difficult ab/core exercises around. The hollow hold or hollow body is important key exercise for developing stabilization and also for other gymnastics exercises such as handstands.
• Superman – a great way to strengthen your lower back and tone your glutes.
• L Sit Hang – this isometric exercise target your lower abs endurance and shoulder strength. Holding the L position work your entire body.
3 Isometrics Workouts:
- 10 Hollow Rocks
- 10 V-Ups
- 10 Tuck Ups
- 10 sec Hollow Hold
Rest 1 minute.
Isometrics Workout from Tia-Clair:
- 30 sec Hollow Rock Hold
- 5 V-Ups
- 10 Hollow Rocks
Rest 1 minute between each round or partner up and do Round for Round.
If you are bored of normal planks give this plank upgrade a try.
“Well try this exercise if you want to target that core, shoulders and chest!”
- put your feet on an elevated surface and your hands on low rings and begin in a push-up position. Keep your lower back rounded and your ribs in as you tighten your abs
- bring the arms as far as you can in front while still maintaining that straight body shape!
- to target the chest a little more let the rings go out to the side as you bring the rings up and down
- work toward a set of ten!
- it’s always good to modify an exercise to make it more fun and to help target different areas. By putting your hands on the rings instead of the floor you add some instability which works your obliques and core a little more!