Isometric exercises are a type of strength training exercise, during which the joint angle and muscle length do not change at the time of contraction. The term ‘isometric’ is made up of two words, ‘iso’, meaning same and ‘metric’ meaning distance. Though these exercises increase strength, they are not suitable for dynamic actions such as sprinting and jumping. Majority of sports and athletic movements are dynamic in nature, which are performed at maximal speed against little or no external resistance.
On the other hand, isometric exercises do not increase the limb's maximal velocity and only strengthen the muscle at the angle at which it is trained. As a result, these exercises are used in general for strength conditioning and rehabilitation. They strengthen the muscles without giving undue stress on the joint. Some high action sports require isometric or static strength for specific parts of the body, such as climbing, mountain biking and motocross (grip and upper body strength), Judo, wrestling, alpine skiing, shooting, gymnastics and horseback riding.
Advantages of Isometric Exercise
- With the help of isometric exercises, maximum muscular contraction can be achieved as opposed to Isotonic exercise, which is also known as weight training.
- The isometric workout is faster. Each body part can be done in as little as a minute, presuming a few seconds rest between sets.
- One can increase strength with the help of isometric exercises.
Disadvantages of Isometric Exercise
- Isometric exercise does not pump much blood into the muscles as compared to weight training, thereby potentially reducing muscular endurance.
- The static contraction can decrease the speed of the muscle response. This would in turn slow down your athletic performance.
- The isometric exercises can prove to be boring as they just requires pressing against a still object for few sets. This makes it dull and action-less.
- Isometric exercises increase blood pressure phenomenally. This could lead to a ruptured blood vessel or irregular heartbeat.