Isometric exercise, or static-action resistance training, is a strength training activity in which your muscle length and joint angles do not change. Isometric exercises strengthen and condition muscles, and increase muscle size. Isometrics are often performed in yoga workouts. They are also used in rehabilitation and for sport-specific training. The number of sets, repetitions and amount of time you hold each exercise should depend on your level of fitness and exercise goals.
The plank is a full body exercise and is also known as the plank bridge. Lie on your stomach, and place your elbows and forearms underneath yourself, shoulder width apart. Lift your torso off of the ground. Keep your elbows at about a 90-degree angle. Use your toes to lift your legs from the ground, and keep your back flat.
The side bridge position is also known as the side plank. This is a full body exercise. Lie on your right side. Push up with your right arm to lift your body. Your legs should remain straight with the left leg resting on top of the right. Create a 90-degree angle with your elbow, and hold. Place your left hand on your hip or raise it straight into the air to increase difficulty. Repeat on the other side.
An isometric squat is also be referred to as a wall sit. This exercise primarily works your legs. Place your back against a wall. Bend your legs as if you were going to sit in an imaginary chair. Your knees should be bent at a 90-degree angle. Keep your thighs parallel to the floor and your calves parallel to the wall.
Isometric push-ups primarily work your upper body. Position yourself in a push-up position with your body elevated. Lower your body until you are halfway through a normal push-up. Hold in this position to perform an isometric push-up.
The isometric hip extension is a lower body exercise that primarily works the lower back, gluteus maximus and hamstrings. Stand facing a chair, table, wall, counter top, exercise bar or other object, with both hands on it for balance. Bend slightly forward while lifting one leg straight back. Anchor your other leg onto the ground as you continue to lift the opposite leg up until it is parallel to the floor. If you cannot lift this far, lift as high as you can and hold. Perform the extensions with both legs.
Isometric hip abduction is a lower body exercise and is similar to the hip extension. Stand in front of an object for balance, and hold it with your left hand. Lift your right leg out to the right side, and hold as high as you can. Switch legs to perform the hip abduction on the other side.
Isometric Crunch Exercise
The isometric crunch exercise mainly works the abdominal muscles. Lie on your back. Bring your legs, shoulders and arms up and in as if you were creating a ball with your body. Do not grab your legs with your hands. Hold this position to complete the exercise. Instead of crunching into a ball, you may also lift and hold your legs while placing your arms straight against your body with your palms flat on the floor.
The superman exercise works the back, focusing on the lower back muscles. Lie flat on the ground on your stomach. Keep your arms straight and lift both into the air. Keep your legs straight, and lift them as well. For a more difficult variation, flutter kick your legs as if you are swimming. You may also move your arms up and down in a similar fashion. For an easier variation, lift your left leg and right arm while keeping your right leg and left arm on the ground. Instead of lying on your stomach, you may also begin this exercise on all fours. Lift your left leg and right arm, and switch. You can also lift one leg at a time while keeping your arms on the ground.
- Sports Fitness Advisor: Isometric Exercises for Static Strength Training
- "Physiology of Sport and Exercise"; Wilmore and Costill; 1999
- "The Complete Book of Isometrics: The Anywhere, Anytime Fitness Book"; Erin O'Driscoll; 2005
- DenizA/iStock/Getty Images