What is the meaning of isometric exercises?

We often practise planks, squats, and leg extensions. But did you know that all these falls under isometric exercises?

Wondering what is the meaning of isometric exercises and how do they help? Also known as static strength training, isometric exercises are those that involve contracting a particular muscle for an extended period. In other words, these exercises engage the muscles without moving them.

Isometric exercises work on the principle of equal forces i.e. when the amount of force applied to a muscle is equal, there is no movement. Practising these exercises doesn’t change the length of the muscles or involve the movement of the joint.

Since isometric exercises are practised by putting your body in a particular position, they don’t work on your speed or performance. Instead, they are a great way to build on your balance and coordination. 

While isometric exercises are done by holding one particular pose, they can also be done by pushing against an object such as a wall or a bench. They can be done with and without the use of equipment. isometric exercises

What are the benefits of isometric exercises?

Most of us think that cardio and lifting weights are the most beneficial exercises for us. Not many of us know that isometric exercises have excellent benefits for improving your mental and physical health. 

Some of the most important benefits of isometric exercises include:

  • Isometric exercises are a great way to activate your muscles by maximising the use of motor units. The higher the number of motor units used, the stronger are your muscles. By training your muscles at their maximum potential, these exercises amp up your gym and sports performance.

  • Everyone loses muscles as they age. This also leads to a loss in their mobility, tonality, and flexibility and may lead to more injuries, stiffness, and pain. When you do isometric exercises, you improve your strength and endurance, which is critical as you age.¬†

  • By strengthening your muscles, you improve their recovery time and prevent muscle atrophy. This is especially important after a strenuous workout, injury, or surgery.¬†

  • Since these isometric exercises work on your muscles without moving your joints, they are ideal for people who suffer from bone or joint issues due to conditions such as arthritis or osteoporosis.

  • One of the most important benefits of isometric exercises is they improve your flexibility and range of motion. This keeps you mobile for longer and lets you do your daily activities better.¬†

  • Just like any physical activity, these isometric exercises help release endorphins and reduce the production of stress hormones (cortisol). These brain chemicals reduce your stress and make you feel happier and lighter. This has a great impact on your creativity, productivity, and interpersonal relationships.

  • Most isometric exercises focus on balancing your form and posture. When practised regularly, these exercises train your muscles to hold this posture throughout. By honing your muscle memory you automatically maintain a better posture while sitting, walking, and even sleeping.

  • They help burn calories by boosting your metabolism and increasing your muscular strength. By maintaining your optimum weight, you can prevent several obesity-related health concerns such as type-2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and hypertension.

What are the different types of isometric exercises? 

Here are the different types of isometric exercises:

  1. Isometric shoulder exercises: Isometric shoulder exercises include isometric shoulder external rotation, isometric shoulder abduction, isometric shoulder flexion, isometric shoulder extension, and the likes. These exercises help in strengthening your shoulder muscles and relieving you of pain after an injury or surgery.

  1. Isometric neck exercises: Also known as cervical neck exercises, these include cervical flexion, cervical side bending, cervical extension, etc. Isometric neck exercises help relieve you of neck pain, stiffness, and soreness due to injury or surgery. Cervical isometric exercises are also helpful in reducing posture-related pains.

  1. Isometric knee exercises: Isometric knee exercises include straight leg raise, clamshell, half squat, leg press, etc. These exercises are great for restoring movement in your knee especially after an injury or surgery. These also help in providing relief from pain and stiffness in patients with arthritis. 

  1. Isometric hamstring exercises: While there are several exercises to relieve hamstring pain and discomfort, isometric hamstring exercises work the best in working your hamstrings without loading them up. These include isometric bridges and isometric straight leg pull down. 

  1. Isometric leg exercises: Isometric leg exercises include chair pose with glutes stretch, split squat hold, extended triangle, etc. These thigh exercises are an excellent way to improve strength, mobility, and stability in your lower body and improve your functionality.

  1. Isometric back exercises: For people who suffer from back pain due to a sedentary lifestyle, isometric back exercises help you stay strong and flexible. Some examples of back exercises include bridges, partial curls, and superman.

  1. Isometric abdominal exercises: Your core is at the basis of every movement that you make. Isometric abdominal exercises such as planks, bear hold, and boat pose, help in improving your posture and making your core healthier. These abs exercises also help you tone your abdomen and lose weight. 

  1.  Isometric hip exercises: For those who suffer from lower back pain or hip injuries, isometric hip exercises work wonders. Some examples include hip circles, butterfly pose, leg raises, and knee lifts.

  1. Isometric glute exercises: Exercises such as curtsy lunges and hip thrust are some examples of isometric glute exercises. These are beneficial for improving your range of motion, reducing pain, and making you more flexible.

  1. Elbow isometric exercises: If you have an elbow injury or have undergone surgery, you will benefit from elbow isometric exercises. Include exercises such as isometric elbow flexion, triceps strengthening, and wrist extension. 

Isometric exercise list also includes chest workouts, bicep workouts, etc.

The takeaway

The isometric exercise list is endless. To strengthen your body, you just need to choose the type of isometric exercise that works the best for you. The best way to make these exercises work for you is to learn their techniques properly. You can learn these from an experienced fitness trainer or join online fitness classes.

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