Isometric Exercise - Pros and Cons
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Isometric Exercise - Pros and Cons

Do you know the difference between Isometric exercises and Dynamic exercises?

If you talk to a physical therapist or a sports trainer, he/she will tell you that isometric exercises do not change the length of the muscle during the exercise. Therefore, the exercise itself is not doing what it needs to do. Isometric exercises chiefly deals with resistance and joint strength rather than flexion. Dynamic exercises (flexion) on the other hand increase strength throughout the full range of motion (like stretching, push ups, etc).

Isometric exercises show that while muscle strength is increased, muscle tissue is not maintained (see study by NASA Barry, PL; Phillips, T (2004-10-12). "Why do Workouts Work?"). Isometric exercises are used highly by Rehabilitation Centers for rehabilitation purposes.

PROS:

Produces maximum contraction of the muscle; work out and strengthening faster as well, if only for an isolated group of muscles.

Slow, controlled movement is a good way to exercise.

CONS:

Muscle endurance is decreased because the strengthening is for an isolated group of muscles.

Possible increased blood pressure as Isometric exercise has been shown to increase blood pressure more than other forms of exercise.

THE COMPLETE STORY:

The long and short of it works out to be – isometric exercises are only half of what is needed for a complete work out. If you want to have a workout that produces lasting results, combine isometric and dynamic exercises. The two work in harmony together to produce strengthening and flexion as the body needs. Work the muscles with resistance and add the dynamic core exercises to improve balance and overall performance. Truth be told, a good fitness program is most effective when you stick to it.

IDEAS:

Back Core – Keep back flat on the floor; extend navel toward sky; then compress navel toward backbone while pushing like you would if you would urinate. Repetitions: 3 sets of 10. This exercise helps to strengthen your core. A strong core helps to strengthen your back and alleviate back problems.

Leg Lifts – This exercise can be done at your desk at work. Keep your back as straight as possible, and your butt firmly against the back of the chair; slowly extend your leg. Do not lock your knee. Repetitions: 3 sets of 10. This exercise helps to strengthen your thigh muscles.

Neck Stretch – This exercise can also be done at your desk at work. Sit with your head upright. Slowly turn your head in either direction as far as is comfortable and hold, then turn slowly turn in the other direction and hold. Then let your held fall toward your chest and hold. Do not let your head fall backward as this can put too much pressure on your spine.  Repetitions:  1 set of 5.  This exercise helps stretch your neck and reduce stress in your neck and shoulders.

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