We tell you everything about isometric training, what are its main characteristics, its advantages and disadvantages.
Isometric training is one in which the exercises that are carried out do not require any type of movement to activate the muscles. This means that, by maintaining a certain position or a weight without movement, we are doing this type of training.
In isometric exercises, the muscle develops a tension, without changes in its length, either through the support of a weight, or because the resistance that must be moved is greater than the force exerted. An example of this would be pushing against a wall.
WHAT IS ISOMETRIC TRAINING?
Isometric training has a series of particular characteristics that define it:
- To carry out this training, specific devices such as force platforms or isokinetic machines can be used, or more homemade devices, such as free weights with a resistance that we are not able to move.
- The execution time and the objective of the exercise varies depending on the person who performs it. If you’re a beginner, 6 sets of 6 to 8 reps of 5 seconds per rep can be a good way to start.
- These exercises are used for rehabilitation, because the performance when it comes to gaining strength is much greater than in concentric or eccentric training. Great care must be taken at this point, as improper use of isometric training exercises can lead to injury.
- It is used by top athletes, but should not be used more than 1-2 months a year, and each training session should not exceed 15 minutes.
- It should be used in combination with concentric or eccentric training. In this way it can be very effective, because it works with a muscle that is fully activated and its neuronal capacity is weakened.
- The muscle should be allowed to rest between 1 and 3 minutes, between one repetition and another.
ADVANTAGES OF ISOMETRIC TRAINING
- Specific devices are not needed for its practice, so it has a simple execution.
- It saves time, since the training is very effective.
- It allows an activation of the muscles of maximum intensity, thanks to the exhaustion of these.
- It gives the possibility of influencing any muscle group at the desired joint angle, that is, locally and selectively.
- A great increase in strength is achieved in high percentages.
- Helps improve the ability to use explosive or quick force if the load is worked in the starting position.
- It is appropriate in rehabilitation contexts. An isometric training along with a dynamic one help compensate for muscle atrophy effectively.
DISADVANTAGES OF ISOMETRIC TRAINING
- It does not help improve cardiac, circulatory, or respiratory capacity. In addition, voluntary hyperventilation can be provoked.
- There is no increase in muscle vascularization or increase in capillaries.
- It cannot be done alone, that is, without carrying out other types of training.
- It cannot be carried out for a long time.
- It causes shortening of the trained muscles, thus having a negative influence on muscle elasticity.
- By focusing on specific parts, isometric training does not transmit the strength gained to the joint angles that have not been exercised.
- It’s a monotonous workout.
- The speed of contraction is attenuated.
- It is a deficit training of intra and intermuscular coordination.
- Contrary to dynamic training, there is no vascularization of the brain.
- There is no improvement in joint protection in extreme positions.
- Motivation can be stagnant, since you don’t get to see results of increased strength like those obtained by moving large masses in a controlled manner.
- The tension to which the muscles are subjected produces forced breathing, which should be avoided.