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What Are Isometric Exercises?

Updated: Apr 2

Isometric exercises are being talked about more and more, but what are they and what benefits can they offer? Let’s take a look.


Is the plank a miracle exercise?


With the release of a new literature review, with scientists reviewing over 250 trials looking at a range of exercises and how they affect blood pressure, it seems planks are once again being considered the miracle exercise. In the latest stance, aerobic exercise was found to be less effective than resistance training at reducing blood pressure, with isometric exercises like planks and wall squats coming out top.


What are isometric exercises?


Isometric exercises are static exercises such as a side plank or wall sit, where tension is placed onto muscles and joints, without movement. The constant tension on the muscles can help improve endurance, stability and strength.


Are isometric exercises good for us?


Isometric exercises like planks are excellent, when performed properly. They’re free, don’t need any equipment and can be done anywhere. There are contraindications, as with every exercise, but are generally safe. The exercises are often used for physiotherapy and rehab due to the fact that they’re easily tolerated, particularly where there is limited mobility or when pain can be limiting.


So, is it as easy as that? Two minutes of planks and wall sits a day to reduce your blood pressure?


Isometric exercises are not the only way to improve blood pressure and it’s important to remember all of the other health benefits from different forms of exercise. Continuing a varied balance of steady state aerobic exercise, higher intensity cardiovascular exercise and resistance training will give you the best of all worlds. One of our personal training coaches can create a workout plan for you that hits all of the key areas.


What is an isometric workout?


Try this 30 minute EMOM – every minute on the minute, you start the new exercise. Use any remaining time as a rest before starting the next exercise at the top of the next minute. If you can’t hold for the full time, take a couple of deep breaths as a breather, then get back into it!


Minute 1 – 60s wall sit

Minute 2 – 60s elbow plank

Minute 3 – 30s left leg only wall sit

Minute 4 – 30s left side side plank

Minute 5 – 30s right leg only wall sit

Minute 6 – 30s right side side plank

Minute 7 – 60s glute bridge

Minute 8 – 45s left leg split squat hold

Minute 9 – 45s right leg split squat hold

Minute 10 – rest!

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