Before bodybuilding became popular, a different muscle building routine, called isometric exercise, was all the rage. These exercises are static, meaning you apply pressure and the hold it. For instance, you could push your arms up against the wall and hold it. While these exercises aren’t as popular as they used to be, they do provide some benefits:
- It works. It is great at building the specific sections of muscle groups that it works, it actually provides more muscle contraction that weight lifting and strength training that involves movement.
- It’s cheap. Traditional isometric exercise require no gym membership and no expensive machines. They use walls and body parts to provide adequate resistance.
- It’s fast and easy. Isometric exercises can be done in your spare time almost anywhere. If you can’t fit in a full workout, you can take a couple minutes out of your day to do a few exercises and still benefit.
This type of exercise used to be so popular, so why don’t we hear much about it anymore? One big reason is that it was replaced by traditional body building. That is because there are a few drawbacks to this type of workout.
- Raises blood pressure. During isometric exercises, people tend to hold their breath. This causes a jump in blood pressure that could cause serious problems. If you perform these exercises, make sure to monitor your breathing.
- Too specific. While bodybuilding works your muscles through the entire range of motion, isometric exercises only work a specific part of the muscle group at one time. To achieve the effects of weight lifting, you need to perform the exercises at many different angles and positions.
Despite these drawbacks, isometrics are still being used and can be beneficial when incorporated properly into your workout instead of simply replacing it. Here are a few ways to add isometric exercises into your workout routine.
- Do them at work. Don’t have time to go to the gym and lift weights? There are many simple isometric exercises you can do while at work using the wall, your desk, or your own body as resistance. Why not skip getting an extra cup of coffee in the afternoon and do a quick workout instead
- Add modern equipment. Isometric exercise was the forerunner to traditional body building, so it didn’t have the benefits of all the equipment we have available now. Modern isometric exercise include training tools like free weights and resistance bands. Isometric exercise simply uses them while staying still instead of with motion
- Mix it up. Instead of doing an extra workout to add in isometric exercise, add them to your current routine. For instance, if you lift weights, hold the weight in a steady position after you’re done with your reps.
While you shouldn’t use it as your only bodybuilding routine, Isometric exercise can be a great addition to improve any body.