Isometrics are such a great - and portable - way to incorporate strength training into you workout, no matter where you are or what you're doing. An isometric contraction is when you muscle contracts without changing its length. Usually movements like bicep curls, legs extensions, chin ups, or just about anything else that requires movement, lengthen or shorten the muscle.
Still not sure what an isometric contraction is? We've all done them.
Have you ever worn a super fitting dress, but really had to suck it in...and hold it? Isometric contraction.
Have you ever had to precariously hold your kids in one arm while even more precariously holding three bags of groceries in the other arm...all the way from the car to the kitchen? Isometric contraction.
Have you ever found yourself walking out of Starbucks with two steaming hot coffees, no room in either hand to get the door, yet manage to use your leg as a prop for not just yourself, but the three people walking out behind you? Isometric contraction.
The point is, we do isometric contractions more that we realize. Intentionally doing a workouts filled with isometric exercises is another story. All of my workouts have one or two isometric exercises in them, but here is a great workout of just isometrics. The most important thing is to breathe through the exercises! Enjoy
Cycle through each workout three times. Hold in decending times, starting at 90 seconds, then 60 seconds, then 30 seconds. It's always a good idea to do a good warm up before strength training. In this case, a goood 20 minutes cardio blast would be a great complement.
1. Runners' Lunge
With your hands on your hips and shoulder blades back, step out into a lunge, keeping your back knee about three inches off the ground (don't let it drop all the way down). Make sure the knee of the leg extended does not overshoot your toes; it should be at about a 90 degree angle. Hold. Concentrate on keeping your bottom tight and focusing on balance. For added challenge, extend your arms out to your side horizontally.
After your finish with one leg, switch to the other.
2. Straight Arm Bridge Plank
Lying flat on the floor, face down, push yourself up holding your arms straight. With straight legs, balance on your toes. Keep your nose down, but don't let your head hang. Your spine should look fairly straight. Concentrate on pulling your navel to your spine, pulling your shoulder blades down your back and keeping your bottom tight. For added challenge, lift one leg a few inches off the ground.
3. Modified Superman w/ Towel
Lying face down, take a towel, grabbing with both hands behind your back. Hands should be only a few inches apart, holding toward your lower back. With your nose pointed down toward the floor, lift your shoulders up, arching your lower back. Begin pulling your arms up and out, firming grasping the towel. For added challenge, lift your legs a couple inches off the ground.
As always, let me know how you do!