Isometric training is highly encouraged by many professionals, as it provides a safer environment for your joints as far as preventing injury and really tuning into how certain areas of the body are feeling during the given exercise. I imagine you have all heard of the exercise called “the plank”! The entire world turned it into a trend called “planking” and a Beijing, China police officer held a plank for 8 hours, 1 minute and 1 second earlier this month. The plank is an isometric exercise requiring the use of almost every muscle in the human body.
Isometric exercises keep the muscles at the same (iso-) length (-metric) as it is performed. “Isometrics of submaximal intensity find application in injury rehab. Injuries to bones or ligaments or some other structure of the joint can benefit from strengthening the musculature around the joint.”(1) By performing isometric exercises, your body will gain strength in the most important areas of the muscle that will attribute to greater success in other disciplines, including bodybuilding, dance, cycling, martial arts, gymnastics, running and many, many others!
Holding an isometric contraction or even a slowly performed exercise (such as a 4 count chest press) will recruit more blood and oxygen to the area(s) of the body being utilized. A plank gets the entire body warm, whereas a push-up hold may burn the triceps and a squat hold or wall sit may burn your butt! Most of my clients have experienced the overflowing joy that runneth over when holding a wall sit then going straight into burpees or jump squats. Using this format for your exercise routines will provide the most benefit in the shortest amount of time. Now if you are training for an endurance event, isometrics will help in preventing injury during prolonged use! So it’s great for everybody!
I found myself working out WAY too hard and tearing my body up to where it just hurt all the time. It didn’t hurt from muscle soreness, but from muscle damage that was never getting the reparation time it needed. So I pulled back and focused on yoga to tune back into my body. As you embark on your health and fitness journey, take the time to listen to your body and see if it needs your special attention in any area and perform some isometric exercises and stretches for some TLC. I always have at least one day a week that I pull back for yoga amidst my kick-butt training for my figure competition in October.
Below you will find the awesome article I cited about the importance of isometric exercises, the video marking the Guinness World Record holder in China, as well as my link to learn about exogenous ketones help with the free radicals that take over the body with excessive metabolic damage. All of these resources will help you learn what YOUR body needs and tailor it to YOUR needs. If you need anything, please holler! (Use a megaphone if you need to!)
The reason I chose to get certified through NASM as a Corrective Exercise Specialist (CES) is because EVERYBODY can benefit from corrective exercise. Even if you aren’t currently injured, corrective exercise knowledge is necessary to make sure that you are maintaining proper form and preventing injury in the future.
I wanted to take some time today to discuss the importance of your feet, ankles and knees. The gastrocnemius (main calf muscle), soleus (supporting calf muscle), anterior tibias (shin muscle), and peroneus (lateral shin muscle) all control the movement of the foot and ankle. Considering the contact you make with the ground at every step you take, this is a VERY important area of the body to take care of. Whether you sit all day or walk around all day, your calves can either be underused, and tight. Or they can be overused, and fatigued.
If you are facing someone, and your hips are facing more than a couple degrees either right or left, then your pelvis may be rotated a little more than is safe for your spine and low back! I know it’s something that I have been struggling with, as my right hip hikes up towards my rib cage causing my hips to rotate facing the left while my toes and chest are straight ahead. This indicates an imbalance in the hip flexors and hip extensors. The following picture shows the location and names of such muscles.
Now, a few simple isometric exercises and stretches can be utilized in order to relieve the pain in the hip, knee and low back area associated with a hip rotation to either side of the body. If you have a job standing on your feet all the time, you might not notice it, but there are times you may rest more weight on one foot than the other. If you spend most of your day sitting, you might cross one leg over the other or lean one arm onto the table and keep the other side tall. In either case, you have to become aware of such habits in order to keep this rotation from reoccurring chronically. Try some of these fantastic isometric exercises demonstrated by Hands On Therapy in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ntO6AAPslc
After warming up the muscles just a little bit, you can even try some of these yoga positions at home or even in the gym. Even spending 10 minutes a day can tremendously improve low back pain, pelvic rotation and even stress and energy levels.
The pictures only show the pose, but you can visit the link under each picture to get step by step instructions on how to properly execute it and what muscles to “focalize on” (focus and utilize) during the movement! Spread the love and share this with a friend who may spend too much time sitting at school, a mom who hurts from carrying her young kiddo on her hip all the time, or even a co-worker who knows exactly how you feel. As always, if you have any questions or would like any more guidance, never hesitate to comment below or message me!