Everyone knows how to train concentrically, and it has been a growing trend to train eccentrically as well. The one side of the triangle that has been forgotten is isometric exercises. Isometric exercises are when the muscle is contracted but does not lengthen, or shorten during the contraction. Isometric exercises feel weird because you are not moving anywhere. If you go to the closest wall and push into it with everything you have for 10 seconds that is an isometric exercise.
Why Do We Need Isometric Exercises?
It is a fair question to ask what the point of doing any isometric exercise? You may feel like you are never in those positions. If you watch your game tape, depending on your sport, you may see something different.
Let’s take a sport like a football when you are blocking or wrestling during a grapple. During these critical movements in each sport, chest and arm muscles may not be getting longer or shorter. They are maintaining the same length during isometric exercises.
Isometric training is the missing piece to gaining strength. There are so few athletes that train isometrically that it is almost guaranteed to be new for the nervous system. Since your body is not expecting this, it will react the most to this, almost like the first time you ever lifted.
Isometric Exercises Can Help You Get Past a Sticking Point
You may notice when you do concentric exercises to failure that the weight gets stuck at the same spot every time. That is known as a Sticking Point, and isometric training can help you to power through that point.
You want to train isometrically at and around that sticking point to make sure that when you are stuck there, your body is healthy enough to push through it and finish the movement.
Isometric Exercises Can Prevent Injury
The best example of this is the hamstring. Most hamstring injuries occur during isometric and eccentric contractions and not concentric contractions. The reason is that the concentric has very little resistance.
When your hamstring is working eccentrically when sprinting, the hamstring has to stop the foot from swinging too far in front of the body. If the body cannot handle that, it will tear.
The second problem area is right when the foot hits the ground. When it hits the ground the hamstring is resisting the ground to help pull your hips through to start the next stride. If it is not isometrically strong enough to handle the force you will suffer an injury. Of course, this is just one example to get you thinking.
Isometric Hamstring Exercise
For this isometric exercise for the hamstring, you want to find some points where the hamstring is sticking or where you are at the most significant risk of injury. You then want to get a partner who has the considerable strength to resist you.
It only works if they are strong enough, otherwise, it will be a slow concentric movement and you do want that. They must be able to hold you in the same places as you give it all that you got.
Isometric Deadlift Exercise
The isometric deadlift is weird because it becomes a single leg deadlift. The bar goes between your legs, and you can use the pins on the cages at different heights to hit different sticking points. It can be done with pins in a usual two-legged stance but doing it this way is a bit safer. You want to make sure that when you do this, you are doing it with a cage that cannot be picked up off the ground.
Isometric Quad Exercise
There is a bit of a progression to doing the isometric exercises for the quads. The wall sit is the first step and then the second is doing it with a squat bar and using the pins. The reason you do not want to jump into the second is that it can be dangerous. When you get tired near the end of the rep, you need to have people on both sides who can help you get out from under the weight. If you do not ensure this, you can suffer a severe injury.
The safer way to get started is with the wall sit. You will have to hold this isometric exercise much longer to feel it though. The key to increasing the intensity is to push your butt and back into the wall as much as possible.
Isometric Chest Exercise
The isometric chest exercise is the easiest to do of them all. You don’t need any weights to make it happen. All you need is your own hands. Put them together and push them as hard as you can to build your isometric chest strength.
Dealing With Track and Field Injuries
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KHO Health was acquired by was acquire by 9INE POINT in the summer of 2019 and is now referred to as 9INE POINT Health.