Isometric Training

All this week we’re doing Isometric training on Fat Buddha Fitness but some people may be asking, what is that and why would you do it? The first part is easy to explain. Isometric training is technically the opposite to isotonic exercising. You may all have heard of isotonic drinks, well the drink itself isn’t actually isotonic but the makers are playing on the term. Isotonic means dynamic basically, while isometric means static or in this case iosometric exercise is static exercise.

Dynamic exercise is what you do when you do repetitions, you contract the muscles over a range of positions during motion. That means that as you lift and lower a weights bar, for example, your muscles work throughout the whole range of motion and hence in different positions. In static or isometric exercise the muscles only work in one fixed position. They work harder in that position than they would otherwise do if you were doing dynamic exercise but it is still a far more specific form of training.

Some of you may therefore be thinking, well what’s the benefit in that? If you’re not a body-builder or a weight-lifter then it might not seem as useful as dynamic exercise. But that’s not actually the case. You see the positions you usually would hold in isometric training would be the toughest ones and that’s certainly the case with the workouts we’re doing this week. With isotonic exercise you’re in a way part resting the muscles in the positions that are easier for those muscles, whereas you don’t get that luxury in isometric exercising.

If you only ever did isotonic exercise, your muscles may become explosive and dynamic but they might also lack staying-power or endurance over a longer period of time. Once they became fatigued your effectivenes would quickly decrease. By doing isometric training you will strengthen your muscles to a greater degree and hence improve their strength-stamina, even when doing dynamic exercise.

On Fat Buddha Fitness, however, even when we do isometric training we also include some repeatitions straight afterwards. That’s because we believe this is the best way to get the most out of your isometric training. By holding a static position and working the muscles to the max in the toughest position you will fatigue them. But rather than resting them we go straight into an isotonic exercise with the same muscles, meaning they have to adapt to the difficult situation and force out an extra bit of effort. Its almost like dynamic rest. That means that you half recover while continuing to exercise. Your muscles will be pleased to be resting from the continuous resistence effort but they will not be resting completely as they will be continuing to work.

In today’s exercise challenge we want you to take five exercises — let’s say press-ups, squats, crunches, bicep curls with a chair (both sides) and lunges (both sides). Do repetitions of each exercise but on each repetition hold the two extreme positions for the same number of seconds as the number of repetition you are one. Hence on your first press-up you hold the lower position for one second and then the upper position likewise. By the fifth press-up you’ll be holding the lower and upper positions for five seconds each. Keep going with each exercise until you reach muscles failure and can’t do any more. Then move onto the next exercise. Do as many sets as you like but try to do at least one of each.



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2 Responses to “Isometric Training”

  1. Helen Coupe May 14, 2012 at 6:43 pm #

    What no blog posts since Jan?!!!

    • chestermonkeymagic May 15, 2012 at 5:39 pm #

      Sorry, sorry been a bit busy (disorganised) but they’ll be back soon! And we’ve also got a new workout just for the ladies so give it a go!