Doing static or isometric exercises is an ideal method to increase the strength and endurance of the muscle fibers. Isometric exercises consist of tensing a muscle and keeping it stationary for a certain period.
Isometric exercises are great for recovering from injuries. This is because they allow the muscles to be worked without forcing the range of motion.
This article defines the concept of static or isometric exercises and describes which are the best to work the abs, shoulders, and legs.
What are static or isometric exercises?
The word isometric comes from iso – equal and metric – distance. Static exercises are a type of fixed physical exercise focused on active muscular tension while respecting the spaces of the body.
A workout that includes static exercises is ideal for strengthening the core abdominal or middle zone muscles. In addition, exercises of the fixed type are used by fitness professionals as physical warm-up exercises.
Isometric exercises are often included at the beginning of a hypertrophy routine to prepare the body for loads. In particular, the ideas that will work the legs or the lower back are essential. Also, static exercises are used in yoga and Pilates because they can develop balance and the ability to concentrate.
The best isometric exercises to strengthen your abs
Isometric exercises are great for strengthening your abs. Studies have shown that training programs that use exclusively static loads are the most useful for developing abdominal endurance and strength. (1,2)
Opposites of static (dynamic) such as crunches are the best exercises to increase the volume of the abs. Combining static exercises with weight training is the best strategy to achieve a six-pack.
The best isometric exercises for abs are:
- Front abdominal planks
- Side abdominal planks
- Boat crunches
- Exercise bike abs
Examples of static exercises for abs
The key to doing static abdominal exercises is connecting the brain and the muscles in the midsection. If you don’t feel your core active at work, ask a coach for help until you get it. A static workout for abs is described below:
- Abdominal planks
The abdominal planks are one of the leading static exercises to work the core. However, a beginner often makes common mistakes such as turning the abdomen up or down and changing the position of the elbows.
- Side plates
The side plates are one of the classic isometric exercises to work the obliques. A beginner is advised to pay special attention to the position of the hips and elbows; these should form an angle of 90 degrees.
- Wheel crunches
The abdominal wheel static is one of the best exercises to increase the strength of the middle holistically. A beginner is recommended to start with the knees flat on the ground. The body should be kept in the final position for about 10 seconds and slowly return to the initial work to be isometric.
- Static barbell crunches
This is an isometric exercise that works the internal and oblique muscles of the abdomen. Pull your knees toward your chest, then stay in a fixed position without rocking to perfect your technique. The work should be utterly static without shifting the weight towards the shoulders.
- Boat crunches
One of the isometric exercises is taken from yoga techniques. It serves to improve balance. When doing this exercise in static mode, the back must remain straight, and the abdomen must remain taut. It is recommended to help muscles work with breathing.
What are static exercises for?
Static exercises are used to work slow muscle fibers. Red (dead) fibers are responsible for stabilizing the body and using fatty acids as the primary energy source. In contrast, white (fast) muscle fibers use muscle glycogen, allowing explosive and dynamic muscle strength.
Static exercises positively affect the development of the stabilizing muscles of the body. In addition, isometric exercises strengthen the myofascial connective tissue surrounding the muscles and ligaments. As a result, particular muscles are developed, but the body’s ability to work in an integrated way is also improved.
Isometric Exercises – Benefits
One of the benefits of static exercises is free fatty acids as an energy source. This is good when the goal is to shed body fat.
Another benefit of static exercises is the formation of elastic and toned muscles. Among other things, they positively affect optimizing and strengthening the joints.
Studies confirm that in static training, the strength of the ligaments and tendons improves and increases their elasticity (1,2). Starting and ending a gym workout with isometric exercises has a positive effect on coordination and increases the ability to balance.
Advantages of static or isometric exercises:
- They improve balance and posture.
- Develop the internal muscles of the core
- Slow muscle fibers work
- Activate the fasciae or myofascial tissue
- Ideal for muscle recovery after injuries
Static exercises in yoga
Static exercises are the foundation of many martial arts and various yoga techniques. However, yoga is not about staying in a difficult position for as long as possible but about developing the ability to achieve self-awareness and enter the deep meditation phase.
Static exercises are the most used in the types of yoga for beginners. As the word suggests, isometric exercises allow you to find the points of equal distance from the body, which will enable you to improve balance.
In other types of yoga, such as aerial yoga, isometric exercises are even more frequent. Doing inverted static exercises further improves the body’s ability to balance.
Static exercises for shoulders, chest, and legs
Static exercises can be for shoulders, legs, even back, and chest. These maximize the work of slow muscle fibers at work and are ideal after sports injuries.
However, when doing exercises for the shoulders in static or isometric mode, the maximum weight of the work should be reduced. (About 60% of what gets up dynamically). The duration should be no more than 40-60 seconds per exercise. Examples of static exercises for shoulders, legs, and back are described below:
- Static military press
The static mode military press is ideal for increasing the resistance of the shoulder muscles. When doing this exercise, be sure to respect the distances. When doing military press in static mode, it is recommended to use the bar without weight, lower slowly, and control the movement with the help of the breath.
- Static bench pushups
Static bench pushups can be done with both arms straight and flexed. They are one of the best isometric exercises to work the shoulders and the triceps abdomen.
The hyperextensions are one of the best static exercises to strengthen the muscles of the lower back and buttocks. At the top of the movement, a beginner should pay attention not to strain the neck and exaggeratedly bend the spine.
Lunges are ideal isometric exercises for strengthening your legs. A beginner should keep the abdomen tight, the back straight, and the knees at a 90 degree angle.
- Static barbell squats
Barbell squats are a classic exercise to work your legs. Doing them in static exercise mode is ideal for improving the resistance of the most significant muscle in the body.
- Isometric chest
Including isometric chest exercises with a pulley is ideal to finish a chest routine. These allow the chest muscles to grow proportionally and flatter. The key is always to keep your distance and help with your abdomen so as not to divert the loads completely towards the arms.
- Pushups with fists
The pushups mode is an ideal isometric exercise to strengthen all the upper body muscles. In addition, secondarily, the abs and shoulders will be working. With the help of a stopwatch, try to get to the minute, rest one and continue like this until you achieve the four series.
Static exercises are practical for increasing strength indicators and ideal for recovering from sports injuries.
Isometric abdominal exercises are best for strengthening your midsection and warming up before a gym routine.
Most traditional gym exercises can be performed in their static or isometric variants. However, the weight should be reduced by approximately 40% to avoid injury. Doing static alternating with dynamic exercises is the best way to achieve an athletic and proportionate body.