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Isometric Exercises a Basic Guide

Isometric Exercises

Static stretching resistance training with no additional equipment is the easiest way to describe isometric exercises.

Dynamic stretching works our muscles through a full range-of-motion, whereas isometrics are done without a change of movement.

Isometric exercise is great because it lowers blood pressure and resting heart rate as well as developing the strength and stability of muscles.

A wall sit is an example of an isometric exercise.

You will need to get yourself into a squat position with your back against a wall and knees bent at a 90 degree angle.

You will start to feel a burn in your thighs eventually but you need to hold this position for 10-30 seconds and then release. 3 sets is usually a good amount for this exercise.

There are 3 main categories of isometric exercises, lower body, upper body and abdominal:

Lower Body

A wall sit as mentioned above is one lower body isometric, leg pull-downs is another.

This is done by standing with your back flat against a wall. Raise one leg until your thigh is parallel with the floor.

Next lock your hands under your thigh and pull upwards but at the same time push down with your hamstring. This will generate the resistance isolated to that particular muscle group.

Upper Body

As the title suggests, this includes our biceps, triceps and chest.

Hand presses are a good example of upper body isometrics. Interlock your fingers into a pray position.

Tighten up your chest, biceps and triceps and at the same time push your palms together. Hold this for 10-30 seconds or for as long as you can and rest.

Complete this for a total of 3 sets.


Your oblique’s and core muscles will be worked with abdominal isometric exercises.

A great example of these are planks. Get yourself into the push-up stance but use your elbows to hold yourself up rather than your hands.

Whilst keeping your back and legs in a straight line, hold there for 30 seconds. Release and then repeat this exercise 3 times.

You can also try a side bridge plank which starts in the same position; however you turn to one side and support your body with just the one arm and elbow.

If you are going to try this one, make sure you switch sides.

If you have trouble with joint pain, isometric exercises will help as they do not involve working the joint but restore damaged or arthritic muscles that surround the joint.