Get Stronger with Isometric Exercises

13 Jan

squat-a-ex_0[1]Here’s a great strength-building strategy for your next training session.  At the end of your workout, perform a body-weight squat and hold it in the down position.  Aim for a goal of two minutes.  If two minutes is too difficult, initially, start with two 1-minute intervals and rest for 60 seconds between them.

“This kind of isometric exercise builds strength and improves mobility and has a low risk of injury,” according to BJ Gaddour, CSCS and creator of the Men’s Health DeltaFIT series.  Isometric exercises work by creating muscular tension while opposing the force of an immovable object or, in this case, gravity.  Studies have shown that that a 7 second muscle contraction increases your strength by about 5 percent.

Isometric exercises are not limited to body weight squats.  You can hold almost any exercise — such as a pushup in down position, or a calf raise in up position — and make it isometric.  Some exercises, like planks and side planks, are inherently isometric.


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