Are you struggling to get the results you really want from your gym routine?
Is injury preventing you from reaching your health and fitness goals?
Are you visiting your physical therapist more often than you want to?
If you’ve answered yes to one or more of these then you may want to consider isometrics.
Dr. Andrew Arnold loves isometrics because they are so powerful. And here’s why!
- easy to learn
- engages multiple muscle groups at the same time
- Enhances cardio by using both upper and lower body muscles.
- Helps right-left brain integration due to the crossover of limbs.
- requires little or no equipment, e.g. bands
- Accelerates results, as you are using global muscle groups.
As a Chiropractor isometric exercises are my choice for my patients when providing them with exercise advice to support their adjustment regime. My patients still see me regularly, but less often and with far greater results. A WIN-WIN.
Let’s define what we’re talking about by first talking about what they’re not.
The concentric exercise involves contraction in a flexed position, e.g. bicep curl.
Eccentric exercises involves contraction in an extended position, e.g. triceps curl.
Isometrics are in between and do not involve any movement, e.g. holding your arm at 90 degrees and contracting both biceps and triceps.
Other examples include the plank, side plank, static standing hip flex’s; lunge holds etc.
Yoga incorporates a lot of isometric exercises.
For even better results you can add fast-slow holds and upper and lower body alternating moves.
For examples, using the bicep curl, bring your arm rapidly to 90 degrees and hold, then rapidly to 180 degrees and hold, then slowly down to 0. The focus is on the isometric whilst adding a fast-slow concentric-eccentric component.
The result is the development of faster twitch or RED muscle fibers and more cross bridges leading to larger, faster muscles which are more resilient to injury.
There are many exercise programs available online, one that I recommend is TAPOUT XT, worth checking out.
In the meantime, challenge your physical therapist for a tailored, specific, isometric routine to help support your health and fitness management.
About the Author:
Dr. Andrew Arnold is the Principal Chiropractor and owner, Cranbourne Family Chiropractic and Wellness Centre, married to Dr. Linda Wilson, the Stress Specialist and has two children, Isaac and Bella. He lives in Melbourne, Australia.