Avoid Common Baseball Injuries


When we think of contact sports, baseball and softball don’t typically come to mind. However, throughout the course of practice and games, players are subject to a wide variety of injuries, such as pulled muscles, strained joints, twisted ankles, and even broken bones. Here are some of the most common baseball injuries and how you can help avoid them.

The Most Common Baseball Injuries

The most common injuries in baseball and softball are joint related – elbows, shoulders, and knees. And the position you play is also a contributor. For instance, a pitcher may be more likely to injure an elbow or shoulder, but a catcher is more likely to injure a knee. The most common baseball injuries include:

Rotator Cuff Tears: The rotator cuff is a network of 4 muscles / tendons that keep your arm in your shoulder socket. This joint also happens to have the most range-of-motion of any joint in your body. Over time these tendons wear down and eventually result in a tear. This is why pitchers are often limited in the number of games they pitch and how many pitches they throw.

UCL Injuries: The ulnar collateral ligament is a stabilizer in your elbow and gets injured with repetitive throwing motions.

Knee Injuries (ACL and MCL): Running bases is a recipe for knee disaster. A sudden stop while sprinting, landing on a flexed knee, sliding into base, or twisting a knee after planting a foot – all of these can cause serious knee injuries.

Muscle sprains and strains are also common baseball injuries and can usually be treated with rest, ice, compression and elevation. And both pitching and batting can put pressure on the lower back. This can develop into a condition call spondylolysis, which is a fracture to one of the vertebrae.

The Worst Baseball Injuries

Some of the worst baseball injuries are accidental and can keep a player off the field for an entire season or in some extreme cases the player may never play baseball again. These injuries tend to be broken bones and/or multiple concussions.

Fielding collisions: Two (or more) players going for the same ball can be disastrous. With their eyes on the ball, they may not see the impending collision and run full speed into one another.
Hitting the wall: There’s a lot of glory when you make a great catch but try and avoid running into the outfield wall or infield fence. Not much glory in going to the emergency room. Fortunately, most youth baseball fields have padding on the fences to avoid injury.

Getting hit with a pitch: Sure, it was an “accident!” We’d like to think so in youth baseball, but regardless of the intent, getting hit with a pitch is painful and potentially deadly.

Tommy John: This is a UCL injury that requires the dreaded “Tommy John” surgery. Often, pitchers will never recover from this kind of surgery, effectively ending their careers.

Some of the worst baseball injuries can be avoided by wearing protective gear and making sure you’re aware of the other players around you. And if you crowd home plate when you’re batting, you’re just inviting a pitcher to throw it closer to you than you may want. Play smart and play fair, and you shouldn’t have to worry about these kinds of injuries.

Exercises to Avoid Shoulder Injury

Aside from accidental injuries, there’s a lot you can do to avoid injuries related to the regular play of the game. The right kind of exercises can focus on the muscle groups you use most in baseball. Since your shoulder is one of the easiest joints to injure, we’ll show you some exercises that can help keep it strong, stable, and flexible. We prefer isometric shoulder exercises, because they’re zero impact and you can do them anywhere, anytime. These exercises are best done with the Activ5 strength training device.

Front Shoulder Raise

Isometric Shoulder Exercises

  • With your right arm bent 90 degrees, extend your elbow straight from your body. Your forearm should be directly in front of your chest
  • Place your left palm on top of your right elbow. Both arms will be bent 90 degrees
  • Press your right arm up into your left palm
  • Keep your arms parallel to the ground

Repeat with your left arm.

Shoulder External Rotation

Isometric Shoulder Exercises

  • Bend your left elbow by your side to 90 degrees
  • Reach your right arm over and place your right palm on the outside of your left forearm
  • Press your palm against your forearm, squeezing both shoulders and upper back

Repeat with your right arm.

Shoulder Press

Isometric Shoulder Exercises

  • Bend your left elbow by your side, fist up, about shoulder level
  • Place your right palm on top of your left fist, keeping your right arm at 90 degrees
  • Squeeze your left should muscles as you press your fist into your palm

Repeat on the right side.

Hold each isometric exercise for as long as you can. Rest for a minute. Then repeat two or three times.

French Tricep Press

isometric tricep exercises

  • Bend and lift your left elbow to eye level
  • Make a fist with your left hand
  • Place your right palm over your left fist
  • Press your left fist and right palm together, as you squeeze your shoulder muscles

Repeat with your right arm.

Avoid Baseball Injuries with Activ5

Whether you prefer baseball or softball, you risk getting injured whenever you play. The best way to avoid common baseball injuries is to stretch and warm up before playing, being aware of the other players on the field, and wearing protective equipment. And since fatigue is a key factor in baseball injuries, make sure you have a regular workout routine that strengthens muscles, increases flexibility, and improves endurance.

To help you in your training and workout routine, we recommend the Activ5 portable training device and coaching app. Activ5 has over 100 gym-based exercises that can improve your batting, pitching, throwing and base-running. Activ5 makes workouts fun, tracks your progress on a sophisticated smartphone app, and even functions as a game controller. Even the Pittsburgh Steelers are using it!

Isometric Ab Exercises – Activ5 Simple Daily Workout Series Part 4


Welcome to Part 4 of the Simple Workout series which focuses on the best isometric ab exercises to tighten your mid-section and strengthen your core. Having a strong core, front and back, is necessary to properly perform almost every other exercise from head to toe. Whether you want to better define your six-pack or simply improve your posture, this ab exercise routine is a real cruncher, and we’re not talking potato chips! Grab your Activ5, and let’s get busting!

The Ultimate Ab Workout – Crunches

Say “sit-up” and you might think of your high-school PE class, fingers laced behind your head, struggling to “give ‘em 10.” You were more likely to strain your muscles than strengthen them. Thanks to Activ5, you can safely perform effective isometric ab exercises that focus on specific muscles in your abdomen, sides, and back – all necessary for a strong core.  Let’s start with crunches.

The Crunch

Like any Activ5 workout, make sure to warm up and stretch before starting. The crunch is the “core” ab exercise and has rightfully replaced the standard (and dangerous) sit up.

Isometric Ab Exercises

  • Lay on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the ground and knees about hip width apart
  • Place Activ5 in the center of your chest, beneath your palms
  • Contract your core to lift your head and shoulders off the ground
  • Press both hands into Activ5 as you squeeze your core muscles

Remember to lift with your core muscles, front and back.

Bicycle Crunch

Activ5 has a killer bicycle crunch, the kind of sit-up where you try to touch your elbow to the opposite knee. It targets your abs, obliques, and hips.

Isometric Ab Exercises

  • Place Activ5 on the inside of your left thigh, right above the knee
  • Lean forward and place your right elbow on top of Activ5
  • Contract your abs as you press on Activ5
  • Keep your chin tucked, and your left arm relaxed to the side

Remember to keep your back straight and press with both your thigh and elbow. Unlike the standard bicycle crunch, the Activ5 version assures you can actually touch your elbow to your knee and then apply muscle force, which makes this exercise even more effective (and safer).

Repeat on your right side.

Boat Pose

If your stomach muscles aren’t aching by now, the boat pose will sink you. Sorry, had to be done. All kidding aside, this one is a true test and helps improve your overall balance too.

Isometric Ab Exercises

  • Begin seated on the ground with knees bent hip-width apart
  • Place Activ5 between both palms and extend your arms out in front of you
  • Slightly lean back, keeping your back straight, chest open, and core tight
  • Press Activ5 as you squeeze your core

Keep your back straight by pushing your shoulders back. Be sure and press Activ5 with the heels of your palms.

Cat Pose 

This one is a nice way to cool down on the first part of our ultimate ab workout.

Isometric Ab Exercises

  • Begin on all fours
  • Bring both hands to the center and place Activ5 underneath both palms
  • Contract your abs as you round your back to the ceiling, then slowly curve it back down
  • Repeat slowly, while simultaneously pressing Activ5 into the floor with both palms

Push your core down and tailbone up, then slowly round your spine and tuck your tailbone forward. Repeat slowly and remember to breathe in on the up and out on the down. It will feel like you’re pressing Activ5 into the floor.

The Ultimate Ab Workout – Obliques

Now we’ll focus on your obliques – the side muscles that are often overlooked in “full-body” workouts. As with your abs, most exercises you do require the use of your oblique muscles. And, whenever you’re doing Activ5 isometric ab exercises, you should try and contract all your core muscles to further enhance your workout and increase its efficiency.

Oblique Crunch

A similar adjustment to the bicycle crunch, this exercise targets your obliques, but your abs and hips benefit as well.

Isometric Ab Exercises

  • With your left palm, hold Activ5 against your front right shoulder
  • Keep your right hand by your side
  • Contract your abs as you lean towards your left knee

Rotate your shoulder forward and down, using your core and obliques. Repeat on your right side.

Trunk Rotation 

The trunk rotation highlights Activ5’s ability to hyper-target specific muscles within a particular muscle group.  It can be done sitting or standing. The oblique crunch targeted your lower side muscles. The trunk rotation works muscles slightly higher in your mid-section.

Isometric Ab Exercises

  • With you left palm, hold Activ5 against your front right shoulder
  • Keep your right arm relaxed by your side
  • Keep your back straight and both hips square as you slightly rotate your torso to the left

Remember to keep your elbows bent at about 45 degrees. Press Activ5 with the heels of your palms.

Woodchop

The woodchop can also be done while seated. It’s an exercise that works your entire core as well as your shoulders, hip, and legs if you’re standing.

Isometric Ab Exercises

  • Hold Activ5 between both palms with your arms stretched out fully in front of you
  • Place your hands on the outside of your left hip
  • Press both palms into Activ5 as you contract your abs

Try to keep your arms straight and rotated to the left. Press Activ5 with the heels of your palms.

The Ultimate Ab Workout: Be the Chair

We like to end our Ultimate Workout Series with a final isometric ab exercise to test you, push you, and to make sure you’re getting the most out of Activ5. With the Chair Pose, you’re neither sitting nor standing. You are the chair.

Chair Pose

A properly done chair pose engages almost every muscle in your body. (Even your face, because you’ll be contorting it as you struggle to hold this pose.) It’s that good.

Isometric Ab Exercises

  • Place Activ5 between both knees
  • Extend both arms in front of you, while squatting down as if you’re sitting in a chair
  • Press Activ5 as you squeeze your thigh muscles

Be sure and keep your back straight and knees bent. This is hard enough even without squeezing Activ5, but that’s what makes this awesome full-body exercise even better.

Use Activ5 for the Best Ab Workouts


If you climb out of bed tomorrow morning and don’t groan as you remember this ultimate ab workout, then you may not have done it right. That’s okay, because with Activ5 you can do isometric ab exercises again at home or on the road. Forget going to the gym or packing travel weights. Activ5 is the best isometric workout device you can find.  It’s portable, quick, and easy to use, so you can squeeze in short, full-body, low-impact workouts throughout your day.

Next, the Activ5 workout series focuses on isometric leg exercises. This series is the best isometric workout available and will strengthen and tighten your body, giving you the results you want faster than you thought possible. But it only works with the Activ5 portable fitness device and smartphone app. Get one today, and you will understand how powerful and effective isometric exercise can be.

Isometric Shoulder Exercises: Activ5 Simple Daily Workout Series Part 3


Part 3 of the Simple Daily Workout series focuses on isometric shoulder exercises to strengthen your shoulder joints and improve your range of motion. Your shoulders are more susceptible to injury, because they have more range of motion than any other joint in your body.

Your shoulder joints are kept stable and functioning properly by muscles in your rotator cuff.  These muscles are key to the activities of your daily routine, such as house and yard work, shopping, playing with the kids, and of course sports.  Weaknesses in any rotator cuff muscles can cause instability and injury. Imagine a golf or baseball swing, tennis serve, or swimming without a healthy shoulder.

To be sure, you exercise your shoulder muscles with presses, rows, curls, and other isometric exercises, but we want you to focus your isometric holds on your shoulders to keep them strong, flexible, and stable.

Isometric Deltoid Exercises

The largest muscle in your shoulder muscle group is the deltoid, the triangular muscle that gives your shoulder its rounded shape. While some of these isometric shoulder exercises are named for other muscle groups, concentrate on your shoulder muscles with your isometric holds throughout the Active5 shoulder workout.

Single Arm Chest Press

This is like the traditional bench press, but you can do this seated or standing up.

Isometric Shoulder Exercises

  • Extend your left arm to the side with your elbow bent at 90 degrees
  • Place Activ5 with your right hand in front of your left fist
  • Press your left fist into Activ5, while squeezing your chest
  • Keep both elbows bent at 90-degrees.

Both of your arms should be parallel to the floor, with your elbows bent at 90 degrees. Repeat on your right side.

Standing Shoulder Press

This is similar to the traditional “military” press and can be done seated or standing.

Isometric Shoulder Exercises

  • Bend your left elbow by your side, fist up
  • Place Activ5 on top of your fist
  • Place your right palm on top of Activ5, keeping your arm at 90 degrees
  • Squeeze your left shoulder muscles as you press Activ5

Your right arm should be parallel to the floor. Let Activ5 engage your shoulder muscles. Repeat on your right side.

Side Bend Press

While this exercise works your core, you’ll feel it working your shoulders from the contact point all the way up the side of your neck.

Isometric Shoulder Exercises

  • Place Activ5 on your desk in front of your right arm
  • Place your right palm on Activ5
  • Bend sideways slightly to the right
  • Press Activ5 as you squeeze your oblique muscles

Push down with the heel of your palm using your triceps and obliques. Repeat on your right side.

Using Isometrics in Shoulder Rotation Exercises

Isometric shoulder rotation exercises can be both internal and external, referring to the placement of the muscle within and around your shoulder joint. These are commonly used in rehabilitation exercises.

Shoulder External Rotation

This is a common isometric shoulder exercises in shoulder rehab and has several variations.  

Isometric Shoulder Exercises

  • Place Activ5 above your left wrist with your right hand
  • Bend your left elbow to 90 degrees and rotate it slightly to the left
  • Press Activ5 with your left forearm and right palm
  • Focus on squeezing the back of your shoulder and upper back

Remember to keep your elbows bent at 90 degrees and press with your forearm against your right palm. Repeat on your right side.

Front Shoulder Raise

This simulates a popular free-weight or kettlebell exercise you’ve probably done a few times. It’s also one of the leading causes of shoulder injuries during a workout. Isometric shoulder exercises keep it safe.

Isometric Shoulder Exercises

  • With your right hand, place Activ5 above your left elbow
  • Cross and lift your arms away from your body
  • Press your left arm up and into Activ5, squeezing your chest and front shoulder
  • Keep your arms parallel to the ground

Press with your elbow and left palm and hold both arms parallel to the floor.  Repeat on your right side.

Hook

The hook is always fun and part of other workouts like our isometric arm workouts. Feel free to over indulge!

Isometric Shoulder Exercises

  • Make a fist with your left hand
  • Bend and bring your left elbow up, keep your forearm parallel to the ground.
  • Activ5 with your right hand in front of your left fist
  • Press Activ5 with your left fist and right palm

Keep both arms parallel to the floor. Press Activ5 between the heel of your palm and fist. Repeat on your right side.

Zen Chest Press

You can easily add some variety to this exercise by extending your arms out straight (Chest Fly) and then lowered (Lower Chest Fly). Each exercise will work a different area of your rotator cuff.

Isometric Shoulder Exercises

  • Hold Activ5 between both hands in prayer position with your elbows out
  • Lift your hands, so your palms are just above eye level
  • Press Activ5 with both palms by squeezing your chest muscles

Keep your elbows bent at 90 degrees and press with the heels of your palms.  

Rotator Cuff Tear Exercises and Shoulder Rehab Exercises

Shoulder injuries are one of the most common sports related injuries. Rehabbing a shoulder injury should be done under the care of your physician and licensed physical therapist. Activ5 is perfect for shoulder pain rehab, rotator cuff exercises after surgery, and general isometric shoulder exercises for physical therapy.

Chest Fly

If you are rehabbing from an injury, take it slowly and don’t push too hard. Again, all rehab should be done under professional supervision.

Shoulder Rehab Exercises

  • Hold Activ5 between both hands in prayer positions with your arms stretched out in front of you
  • Press both palms into Activ5 and squeeze your chest muscles

Straighten your back and pull your shoulders back to maximize the effectiveness of this exercise. Press with the heels of your palms. Vary this exercise with the lower chest fly.  

French Triceps Press

As with the hook, this exercise focuses on your arm muscles but it’s perfect for shoulder rehab too.

Shoulder Rehab Exercises

  • Bend and lift your left elbow to eye level
  • Make a fist with your left hand
  • Place Activ5 on the bottom of your left fist with your right palm
  • Press Activ5 with your left fist and right palm, as you squeeze your shoulder muscles

Like the chest fly, keep your back straight and shoulders back. Press Activ5 with the heels of your palms. Repeat on your right side.

Iso Knee Push-Up

If you’re rehabbing, make sure you can safely get up and down from the floor before attempting these isometric shoulder exercises.

Shoulder Pain

  • Begin on all fours with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart
  • Place Activ5 under your left palm
  • Bend your elbows to 90 degrees, so that you are in a half push-up position
  • Press Activ5 as you squeeze your chest, shoulder and core muscles
  • Keep your elbows out

Keep your elbows bent at 90 degrees and press with the heel of your left palm. Repeat on your right side.

Using Activ5 shoulder exercises for shoulder rehab and shoulder strengthening

We rely on our shoulders for more than we give them credit for. Just ask anyone who’s had a shoulder injury or deals with chronic shoulder pain. Thanks to Activ5’s zero-impact isometric workout, you can strengthen your shoulders as part of your full-body workout routine or safely rehab shoulder and other muscle related injuries. If you are doing shoulder exercises for rehab, be sure and share your Activ5 with your physical therapist.

Activ5 is the best isometric workout device you can find.  It’s portable, quick, and easy to use, so you can squeeze in short, full-body, low-impact workouts throughout your day, whether it’s at home, on the road, at the office, or wherever you happen to be.

Next, the Activ5 workout series focuses on isometric leg exercises. This series is the best isometric workout available and will strengthen and tighten your body, giving you the results you want faster than you thought possible. But it only works with the Activ5 portable fitness device and smartphone app. Get one today, and you will understand how powerful and effective isometric exercise can be.

Isometric Arm Exercises: Activ5 Simple Daily Workout Series Part 2


The Simple Workout Series – Isometric Arm Exercises

Welcome to Part 2 of the Simple Daily Workout series where we will show you isometric arm exercises that will tone and strengthen your arms. Whether your goal is to get more cut for the beach or just lose that dreaded arm flab, the Activ5 isometric arm workout will help you see results faster than ever.  Get ready to “curl-up” with Activ5!

The Ultimate Arm Workout – Isometric Bicep Exercises

Be honest… next to losing a few inches off your waist, having nice muscle definition in your arms makes your feel pretty good about yourself.  That’s probably why arm exercises are often more popular than others because you tend to see results almost immediately and increases in your strength and stamina more quickly. From the bench press to curls to dips to presses, the Activ5 isometric fitness device can replicate almost any kind of arm exercise, only as an isometric arm workout. Let’s start with exercises that target biceps.

Bicep Curls

This is the foundation of bicep exercises, the basic arm curl. Do this exercise while seated.

Isometric Bicep Exercises

  • Hold Activ5 in your left palm
  • Lean forward at the waist and place your left elbow on the inside of your left knee
  • Place your right palm on top of Activ5
  • Press Activ5 with the heels of your palms
  • Keep both elbows bent at 90 degrees
  • Keep your right elbow above your right knee

Switch and repeat with your right arm.

Hammer Curls

A simple twist of the wrist and making a fist targets a different part of your bicep with this curl.

Isometric Bicep Exercises

  • Bend your left elbow by your side at 90 degrees
  • Make a fist with your left hand
  • Place Activ5 on top of your left fist with your right palm
  • Squeeze your left bicep as you press Activ5 with your left fist and right palm
  • Keep both elbow bent at 8

Repeat on your right side.

Left Hook

This is a combination exercise that works your biceps, triceps, and shoulders.

Bicep Exercises

  • Make a fist with your left hand
  • Bend and bring your left elbow up, keep your forearm parallel to the ground
  • Position Activ5 between your right palm and your left fist
  • Keep both arms parallel to the floor
  • Press Activ5 with your left fist and right palm

Repeat on your right side.

The Ultimate Arm Workout – Isometric Triceps Exercises

Often overlooked, triceps exercises can help get rid of your arm flaps, but also aid in other endurance workouts like running and swimming.

Single Arm Chest Press

Shoulder injuries due to improper bench press technique are some of the most common weight lifting injuries. This is our version of the bench press and saves your shoulders from overdoing it.

isometric tricep exercises

  • Extend your left arm to the side with your elbow bent at 90 degrees
  • Place Activ5 with your right hand in front of your left fist
  • Press your left fist into Activ5, while squeezing your chest
  • Keep both elbows bent at 90-degrees, with your arms parallel to the floor

Repeat with your right arm.

French Triceps Press

This classic triceps exercise also gives you a shoulder workout too.

isometric tricep exercises

  • Bend and lift your left elbow to eye level
  • Make a fist with your left hand
  • Place Activ5 on the bottom of your left fist with your right palm
  • Press Activ5 with your left fist and right palm, as you squeeze your shoulder muscles
  • Keep your back straight and pull your shoulders back

Repeat on the right side.

Side Bend Press

While this may not seem like a traditional triceps exercise, is works the same muscle groups as the dip.

Isometric elbow exercises

  • Place Activ5 on your desk in front of your left arm
  • Place your left palm on Activ5
  • Bend sideways slightly to the left
  • Push down on Activ5 with the heel of your palm, using your triceps and oblique muscles

Repeat on your right side.

Standing Chest Fly

The chest fly is a gym favorite and works your core as well as your triceps and biceps.

isometric tricep exercises

  • Hold Activ5 between both hands in prayer positions with your arms stretched out in front of you
  • Straighten your back and pull shoulders back
  • Press Activ5 between the heels of your palms into and squeeze your chest muscles
  • Keep both feet firmly on the ground

Zen Chest Press

If you’ve done all of the previous isometric arm exercises, you may need to go to your “zen” place. So here’s the perfect exercise for you!

arm exercises

  • Hold Activ5 between both hands in prayer position with your elbows out, bent at 90 degrees
  • Lift your hands, so your palms are just above eye level
  • Press Activ5 with both heels of your palms by squeezing your chest muscles

The Ultimate Bicep / Triceps Exercise

Here’s one to grow on, as they say. This variation of the curl works both your biceps and your triceps equally by simply extending the curl in front of your body.

Opposing Bicep & Tricep Press

Here’s one to grow on, as they say. This variation of the curl works both your biceps and your triceps equally by simply extending the curl in front of your body.

Isometric Arm Exercises

  • Hold Activ5 in your left palm
  • Bend your left elbow at 90 degrees
  • Place your right palm on top of Activ5
  • Press Activ5 with the heels of both palms
  • Keep both arms bent at a 90-degree angle

Using Activ5 for the Best Arm Workouts

You just completed one of the most effective isometric arm workouts you can find, and it’s something you can do at home or on the road. Forget going to the gym or packing travel weights. Activ5 is the best isometric workout device you can find.  It’s portable, quick, and easy to use, so you can squeeze in short, full-body, low-impact workouts throughout your day.

Next, the Activ5 workout series focuses on isometric shoulder exercises. This series is the best isometric workout available and will strengthen and tighten your body, giving you the results you want faster than you thought possible. But it only works with the Activ5 portable fitness device and smartphone app. If you don’t have one yet, get one and get started!

Reduce Low Back Pain with Quick Isometric Back Exercises


How to Reduce Low Back Pain with Quick Isometric Workouts

Low back pain is an affliction that is linked to weakened core muscles and musculoskeletal integrity in and around the spinal column. A variety of diagnoses including arthritis, spinal stenosis and endometriosis, cause the conditions leading to low back pain.  An extensive 2014 study suggested that isometric back exercise aids those suffering from low back pain to build core stability for a better quality of life.

Accessible and convenient, quick isometric back exercises and workouts build core muscles and increase vitality. It is ideal for people recovering from back injuries, those who suffer from low back pain, and for busy professionals who spend a lot of time sitting. If your schedule doesn’t allow for long workouts, there is a simple solution that will set you on a track to improving your quality of life.

Moreover, recent innovations in the exercise tech sector have revolutionized isometric exercise in such a way that you can engage in fun, quick workouts while monitoring your activity and documenting your progress.

Self-administer Physical Therapy

Broken bones, strained ligaments and sprained joints all require healing time. During this period, tissue in and around the injury is subject to atrophy. Isometrics can build muscle strength without the discomfort of high-impact activities like running and weight lifting. For example, low back pain from a herniated disc means that the region needs to be eased back into condition. With a doctor’s approval, you can expedite the process with quick workouts that engage the lower back muscles for intervals ranging from five to sixty seconds.

For example, isometric Yoga poses, including the Locust, the Bird-Dog, and the Superman, reduce low back pain. Yes, these are all forms of isometric back exercises! The muscle contraction should be intense enough to be felt but not so much that it causes pain. Repeat these exercises several times throughout the week to gradually build muscle strength. 

Stabilize for Back Pain Relief

The musculoskeletal advantages of isometric exercise also improves core stabilization, which reduces stress on the lower back. Low back pain is often the result of atrophied muscles from an overly sedentary lifestyle.  A recently published study demonstrates that isometric exercise is an excellent solution while providing additional benefits. A panel of 39 female subjects suffering from lower back pain underwent a four-week workout program, resulting in unanimous reports of reduced pain and increased vitality. What’s more, the health improvements lasted for nine months after the official exercise program ended. Quick isometric workouts builds muscle strength around your core, leading to an improved quality of life.

Reduce Low Back Pain from Sitting Too Much

Recent medical research has revealed that regularly sitting down for extended periods contributes to bad posture and low back pain. If sitting for long periods is unavoidable in your job, you don’t have to take it sitting down, so to speak. While at the wheel, behind a desk, or at a computer screen, you can perform isometrics without disrupting your routine. These include abdominal and pelvic floor contractions, among other exercises.  Additionally, as exercising increases circulation, you also benefit from improved mental clarity and enhanced energy.

isometric exercises for lumbar spineIsometric Back Exercises

It can be tough to find appropriate back exercises that help you to become more flexible and strengthen your muscles, without causing injury. Particularly if you a;ready have pre-existing back conditions. But, when you try the isometric back exercises that we have sourced for you through the Activ5 app, it’s a whole new world of opportunity. From lat pull-downs to seated rows, you can use the principles of isometric exercise for back strength.

The Isometric Revolution

Activbody has innovated a way for those interested in isometrics to experience it in a fun, engaging and connected way. The Activ5 device is an isometric exercise device that connects your movements with a smartphone app.  It coaches you through quick workouts while tracking and measuring your levels and progress. With Activ5 as your coach, you can build muscle strength, reduce low back pain, and enjoy an enhanced quality of life.

Sources:

https://draxe.com/isometric-exercises/

http://ptjournal.apta.org/content/85/7/676

http://www.dynamicpt.com/library_treatments_56/

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/expert-answers/sitting/faq-20058005

https://www.zvab.com/9780990606109/0990606104/plp

http://articles.latimes.com/2013/may/25/health/la-he-dont-sit-20130525

http://www.cheatsheet.com/health-fitness/6-exercises-you-can-do-while-sitting-at-your-desk.html/?a=viewall

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/258252724_Effects_of_Stabilization_Exercises_on_Health-Related_Quality_of_Life_in_Women_With_Chronic_Low_Back_Pain

http://www.healthline.com/symptom/low-back-pain

http://www.livestrong.com/article/106461-isometric-exercises-lower-back/

http://www.dianelee.ca/article-training-deep-core-muscles.php

Top Exercises for People Living With a Disability


Top isometric chair exercises for people living with a disability

Getting in better physical condition is a challenge for anyone. Keeping fit is especially challenging for those living with a physical limitation, limited mobility, or a disability. An isometric workout program may be the solution for anyone looking for wheelchair exercises, physical therapy exercises, and limited mobility exercises.  Isometrics are also effective exercises for other conditions such as cerebral palsy, motor disorders, stroke victims, obesity, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, visual impairment, injuries, and anything that limits your physical abilities.

Isometrics exercises are perfect for anyone living with a disability. Here’s why:

  • You can do isometric exercises in your own home
  • Isometrics are zero-impact
  • Isometrics make great chair exercises
  • Isometrics require no expensive equipment or gym memberships
  • Isometrics can be done anywhere, anytime
  • Isometrics increase strength, improve flexibility, balance, and increase your endurance and cardiovascular health

The core concept of isometrics is simple. You contract muscles and hold them (static muscle contraction). You use the resistance of your own body and your body’s weight as your personal “exercise machine.” The only thing you need to exercise other than your body is motivation!

Don’t believe us? Let us prove it to you. Here are just a few isometric exercises you can try that will make you a believer.

Seated Chair Exercises

Seated exercises can be done by just about anyone, but we encourage you not to limit yourself to seated exercises unless you have no other choice. Here are a few seated isometric chair exercises to get you started.

Breathing: Yep, just breathing, but with a slight variation. Sit straight up as possible. Take in a deep breath. Now, tighten your abdominal muscles as hard as you can. Count to ten. Release the air. Do this 10 times. A little out of breath now?

Chair lifts: Sit upright in a chair (or wheelchair). Bend your elbows and position your hands directly under your shoulders. Push yourself up an inch or two out of your seat. Even if you can’t push yourself up, just push hard. Hold it for 10 seconds. Lower yourself back down. Do this 10 times (if you can).

For chair lifts, the angle of your arms makes a difference. Try it at a 45-degree angle, then 90 degrees, then 120 degrees. Feel the difference?

Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy: You can do this one even while lying down. Put your palms together directly in front of your chest and lock your fingers. Push your hands together as hard as you can for 10 seconds. Then, keeping your hands locked together, try and pull them apart for 10 seconds. Do this 10 times. Not so easy, right?

 Arm Wrestle Yourself: Put your right arm across your body, palm up. Put your left hand on top of your right hand. Push down. Your right bicep works to keep your right arm from dropping. Your left tricep works to push the right arm down. Hold this for 10 seconds, then repeat on the other side. And the winner is…You!

You’ll be surprised at how many exercises can be done while seated or lying prone.

Limited Mobility Exercises

If you have limited mobility and have the ability to walk, we encourage you to do so. This is one of the best exercises for people with limited mobility, and while it’s not an isometric exercise, it’s great for your heart health and building your endurance.

Stand Up and Put ‘em Up: Stand up straight and tall. Cross your right foot over the left without twisting your hips. Place your right palm against your right hip. Slowly sweep your left hand out to the side and above your head as high as you can stretch. Lean over to the right. You’ll feel the stretch. Hold this for 10 seconds, while breathing deeply. Do this on the other side.

Squeeze Yourself: Your body is a personal gym just waiting to be used for your personal gain. Stand up tall and contract your glutes and thighs. Hold it for 10 second, relax for 10, then repeat 10 times. Next, tighten your abdominal muscles as if someone were about to punch you in the stomach. Hold for 10, rest for 10, repeat for 10. You get the idea.

Standing Wall Plank: Stand a little less than an arm’s length from a stable wall, with your feet shoulder width apart. Reach out with your palms against the wall, as if you’re doing a standing push-up against the wall. At various stages during this standing push-up, hold your position for 10 seconds. This works your core, biceps and triceps.

Squats: If your disability limits your lower or upper body too much, you shouldn’t try this exercise without assistance (or at all). Squats are one of the best exercises you can do if done properly. Stand with your feet a little wider than your shoulders. Align your hips over your knees and your knees over your ankles. Stand up straight. No slouching! Put your arms out straight in front of you, palms down. Take a deep breath and slowly bend your knees. As you lower yourself, keep sticking your butt out, keep your chest and shoulders straight and your head facing forward. The best squats are the deepest your mobility allows, ideally with your hips below your knees.

Slowly raise back up, stop halfway up and hold it for 10 seconds. Repeat this 5 times or until you can’t safely do another squat.

Forearm Plank: For this exercise, don’t do it without assistance if your disability is too limiting. Start by positioning your body face down on the floor, with your forearms on the floor, so you’re supporting your body in a push-up position. Tighten your abs and hold this position for 10 seconds. This works your core, both front and back.

There are dozens more isometric exercises you can try. Mix it up. Work out different parts of your body. In a few weeks, you will see a noticeable gain in your strength, flexibility, and mobility.

Isometrics Work!

Isometric exercise is one of the ideal physical activities for people with disabilities whether it’s limited mobility or chair exercises. To enhance your workouts and make them fun, efficient and even more effective, try the Activ5 portable isometric-based strength training device and coaching app. Activ5 features over 100 gym-based exercises and each takes less than 5 minutes. The smartphone app calibrates to your physical abilities, teaches you the exercises, and tracks your progress. It even has games you can play, using the Acti5 device as a controller.

Obviously, any exercise will need to be adjusted to suit your specific abilities, but even doing these isometrics once, you will feel it working. In less time than you thought possible, you will increase your strength, endurance, mobility, agility, flexibility, and lose some weight too! Make sure you consult with your physician before starting any exercise routine. Get started today!

Do Yoga Exercises and Isometrics Help ADHD?


Isometric Yoga for ADHD Helps Relieve Symptoms

ADHD is a condition that can cause difficulties with focus and hyperactivity. Thus, asking a person to perform isometric and yoga exercises to help their ADHD may seem akin to unleashing a bull in a china shop. Ironically, the practice of holding yoga poses is a panacea for people who struggle with stillness and focus and can provide an opportunity for its practitioners to retrain their brains and in doing so relieve their ADHD symptoms.

Is Yoga Isometric: Isometrics, Balance and Yoga Pose Basics

Yoga incorporates both isotonic and isometric contractions. Isotonic refers to muscle in motion and occurs when you change your body position from one yoga pose to the next. Isometric contractions are those that hold yoga poses in place. They are static, with no movement, change in muscle length or joint angle. In fact, isometric exercises, such as those in yoga positions, are a low-impact exercise that provides a full-body workout.

Furthermore, yoga exercises take isometrics one step further to incorporate balance, engaging the vestibular system of the brain. Children, particularly those with ADHD, are often drawn to play that promotes balance (swings, skateboards, balancing activities or those that involve directional-change movement), seeking stimulation as their brains develop. However, holding a yoga pose requires focus, unlike sitting on a playground swing, and provides ADHD sufferers extra opportunity for neurological growth.

How Yoga and Isometric Exercise Helps ADHD

adhd diet and exercise

Yoga teaches concentration. Any type of isometric exercise requires attention to form, and yoga is no exception. Yoga Exercises teach body position awareness, which requires the development of focusing skills.

Improve Body Control. As you develop more body awareness through yoga practice, you gain more control over your movements and as a result, an increased ability to maintain stillness.

Deep breathing is beneficial. Controlled yoga breathing reduces the anxiety that is common in ADHD, as well as ameliorating irritability and inducing calmness.

Meditation improves executive function. Executive function is higher-level thinking. It’s often deficient in ADHD, and it’s a key component of being  organized and  paying attention. Meditation is the practice of increasing awareness of your own thoughts and therefore improves your executive functioning abilities.

Yoga exercises can be done in a class setting or as a home workout. It incorporates simple exercises that build muscle strength, improve stamina, and provides a way for you to get toned and more energetic. Therefore, it’s an effective ADHD management tool for both adults and children, and it’s worth trying if you haven’t yet done so. Classes focused on yoga for beginners can provide ADHD relief almost immediately. 

Applying These Lessons

Find out how to incorporate concentration exercises for adhd adults or children using the Activ5 fitness app for either workout routines or games that include isometric exercise. This how-to-video will show you everything you how to overcome concentration issues and expend energy like you would with isometric yoga or other adhd fitness strategies.

Sources:

http://kolpinstitute.org/preparation/exercise/

http://www.additudemag.com/adhdblogs/27/10006.html

http://www.yogajournal.com/article/lifestyle/focusing-on-a-d-d/

http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1983-32882014000200012

http://www.healthyenergy.net.au/blog/isometric-exercise-how-yoga-completes-your-fitness-training/

http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/How_does_mindfulness_help_control_behavior

Isometric vs Plyometric Strength Training


Isometric vs Plyometric Strength Training Approach

Exercise plays an important part of one’s health and well-being. Therefore, it is worthy of a place in your schedule. Still, you should note that not all types of exercise are equal as far as efficacy and risks. If your goal is to get toned, improve stamina, and get stronger, both isometrics and plyometrics are effective but in different ways. Here, we will explore isometric vs plyometric oriented exercises. 

Isometric & Plyometric Exercise Techniques Explained…

There are three types of muscle contractions. A concentric contraction happens when your muscle shortens in length as it tenses. An example of this is the lifting portion of a bicep curl. As you lift the weight, your bicep muscle becomes shorter as it exerts force. To lower the weight without dropping it, your muscle has to resist as it lengthens, which is an eccentric contraction. Both concentric and eccentric contractions are part of plyometric exercise, which involves a change in muscle length and joint angle.

Isometric exercise, on the other hand, results in no change in muscle length or joint angle. Hence, it’s also known as static strength training. Examples of isometric exercise include wall sits, yoga poses and planks. Let’s explore the benefits: Isometric vs Plyometric.

Exercise and Rate of Force Development

Not only does plyometric and isometric exercise help you get more energy, it also increases the speed with which your muscles can generate force, known as the rate of force development (RFD). The time it takes to develop force is impacted by how stiff your tendons are: The looser they are, the more time they need. As you progress with regular training, the collagen fibers in your tendons change, resulting in increased stiffness and enhanced RFD. In other words, consistent and prolonged training leads to stronger and faster muscles.

Why Isometric Exercise Is the Better Choice

plyometrics is an isometric exercise technique

 

Isometric vs plyometric exercise is not always an either/or – both lead to improved rate of force development. However, the risk of injury during isometric exercises is significantly lower than during plyometric exercise. Plyometric exercise creates stress on your body because of the impact (such as moves that involve jumping) and can also cause tearing and inflammation of tendons and ligaments. Isometric exercise, on the other hand, has a low association with injury and is recommended as rehabilitation for those recovering from injury. Isometrics enhance the stabilization of the injured area without potentially aggravating it through muscle and joint movement. In short, isometric exercise strengthens muscles without causing extra stress on joints, tendons and ligaments. 

Can Isometrics Build Muscle?

Short answer: Yes! You can use isometric workouts with varied weights and durations to achieve different results. Exerting force to cause fatigue can create isometric workout results both for strength and aesthetics. Isometric muscle building is used by athletes and trainers in addition to traditional plyometric exercises. As long as you put forth an appropriate amount of strength, preferably maximal, into an isometric exercise, it can and will strengthen the muscle as a whole and lead to isometric muscle building.

How Activ5 Can Help

The Activ5 by Activbody is a device designed to facilitate isometric exercise in a way that is convenient, easy, and fun. Paired with a smartphone app, the small and portable Activ5 enables quick workouts by doing simple exercises that will help you get in shape. With this innovative technology, you can exercise while you’re sitting, such as on an airplane, in your office, or hotel room. The use of the Activ5 app to coach, measure, and track your efforts creates an engaging and fun gamified workout.

Whether you want to try isometric exercise at home or on the go, the Activ5 can help. Lightweight and portable, its convenience allows you to maintain a fitness routine with minimal space, time, or equipment. In fact, the Activ5 is all you need for a full-body workout that fits easily into any schedule and lifestyle.

Sources:

https://breakingmuscle.com/learn/isometric-training-what-it-is-and-how-to-do-it-correctly

http://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/isometric-exercises

https://breakingmuscle.com/learn/increase-your-fast-twitch-potential-with-isometrics

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/expert-answers/isometric-exercises/faq-20058186

Isometric Training Results Include Avoiding Injury


An isometric movement is a strength-training technique that uses static movement, or a hold, to target muscle groups for improvement. Professional athletes often use this technique to get isometric training results that include things like building new muscle, boosting body conditioning and preventing common injuries. While your fitness goals might be different from a pro athlete, you should know that recent studies support adding isometric training to your workout, which can help protect muscles, bones, and joints under impact.

Isometric Training Results & Benefits

Isometrics are unique and powerful contraction exercises. Unlike other strength-training activities that rely on range of motion (ROM) against resistance to tone muscles, isometric exercises are low impact and precise. Their stabilizing movements help prevent injuries while increasing body strength and tone.

Studies reveal important features of isometrics:

  • Increases hamstring musculotendinous stiffness (MTS), which is a muscle’s tendency to stay tight like a rubber band to protect load-bearing joints
  • Builds bone density
  • Builds muscle strength
  • Facilitates muscle isolation. Using targeted isometrics, performance problems at a joint angle can be resolved quickly.
  • Low impact exercise enables steady engagement of muscles performed anywhere – for example, a seated exercise routine for quick workouts
  • Promotes large-scale muscle activation. Body flexing exercises can readily activate all available muscle units.

Research Supports Adding Isometrics as Part of your Workout Plan

Recent studies show that isometric exercises are the best strategy for injury-free, effective workouts. In two separate studies, researchers found that isometric training is instrumental in preventing knee injuries via hamstring MTS and improving mineral bone density.

Improved Hamstring MTS and Knee Injury Prevention

Isometric Training

 

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the most common sites for sports injury. Knee injuries are influenced by jarring exercises that affect the loading bearing capacity of the ACL. As a result, these injuries often loosen knee ligaments or promote tears.

Exercises linked to knee injuries:

  • Landing incorrectly from a jump
  • Changing directions rapidly
  • Stopping suddenly
  • Slowing down while running
  • Direct contact sport

Research shows that by tightening the hamstrings through targeted isometric exercises, hamstring MTS acts like a shield, thus improving knee-joint biomechanics for favorable landing capabilities. As a result, there is a reduced risk for ACL injury.

In the same study, researchers also measured the effectiveness of isometric vs. isotonic exercises (static workout vs. ROM) in providing quality changes in hamstring MTS. After six weeks of training both isometric and isotonic participants, researchers discovered that isometric training showed a significant increase in hamstring stiffness over isotonic workouts. This finding follows previous literature that reported greater increases in quadriceps tendon stiffness using isometrics. Therefore, isometric training ranked superior to plyometric training in enhancing tendon rigidity.

Thus, these important findings suggest that isometric training results in the most effective mechanism for preventing common injuries in both recreational and professional sports.

Prevention of Thinning Bones

Further studies investigated isometric training results in preventing bone density reduction in an injured limb. Sixty individuals participated in the study, and each participant had injuries to the femur requiring at least one month of post-injury immobilization. During the immobilizing phase, the muscles, bones and tendons often grow weak and are susceptible to tissue atrophy.

Key findings reveal that isometric training not only prevents the reduction of bone mineral density in the femur but also significantly increases the density of injured bones. In other words, these exciting results suggest that isometric exercises are effective in preventing tissue atrophy by increasing density in the injured limb and bone. Like muscles, bones are living tissues that can be strengthened through targeted training. Notably, young people who exercise regularly develop greater peak bone mass than those who do not.

A primary characteristic of isometric exercises is its flexibility. Performed anywhere, anytime and discretely, it is therefore a great addition for individuals on the go. Furthermore, adding Activ5 to your routine, the cutting-edge device and its companion app can coach you through your workout and help manage your fitness goals.

Resources:

Blackburn, J.T. et al., 2013. The Effects of Isometric and Isotonic Training on Hamstring Stiffness and Anterior Cruciate Ligament Loading Mechanisms. Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology, 24 (2014) 98-103. Web. Scripted, Inc. resources: http://www.jelectromyographykinesiology.com/article/S1050-6411(13)00242-3/abstract

Yousefi, R. et al., 2011. The Effect of Isometric Training on Prevention of Bone Density Reduction. Australian Journal of Basic and Applied Sciences, 5(12): 981-985, 2011. Web. Scripted, Inc. resources.

Read, A., n.d. Isometric Training: What it is and How to Do it Correctly. Web: https://breakingmuscle.com/learn/isometric-training-what-it-is-and-how-to-do-it-correctly

Mental Benefits of Strength Training


Mental Health Benefits of Doing Strength Training

Good health involves more than just a disease-free body and fit physique. Your mental health matters just as much: A sound mind contributes to your overall well-being by empowering you with the resolve to meet your physical health objectives. Personal growth, emotional resilience, successful relationships and the ability to make good choices also stem from mental stability. Health professionals have explored the mental benefits of strength training and came up with this list!

Anxiety

Anxiety is an issue that plagues many, affecting as much as 15 percent of the US population. Researchers examined both aerobic exercise and strength training as potential anxiety reducers and found both to be effective. Randomized controlled trials involving both healthy adults and medical patients show that strength training has a beneficial impact on anxiety. In particular, moderate intensity strength training reduces anxiety symptoms more than high intensity.

Chronic Pain

Strength training also reduces chronic pain issues, which can contribute to a decline in mental health. One of the most common forms of chronic pain is lower back pain. It’s often caused by disc injury or muscle strain from insufficient core muscle tone. Medically supervised strength training for back pain not only reduces this pain but also increases physical functioning for back pain sufferers. Furthermore, studies support the mental benefits of strength training as well as pain reduction, specifically in symptom reduction for knee and hip osteoarthritis, as well as fibromyalgia.

Depression

Depression can be fatal and costs the US in excess of $50 billion each year, but strength training can help with this mental health affliction. Evidentlly, exercise of all types helps ease depression, but the studies involving strength training alone have all yielded positive results. Fibromyalgia patients derive a double benefit from strength training: pain reduction and a moderate reduction in symptoms of depression. Those diagnosed with depression fare even better and have large reductions in symptoms when they incorporate strength training into their lives.

Chronic Fatigue

Strength training combats chronic fatigue by giving sufferers more energy as they get in shape. Even if you don’t suffer from this condition, you might be one of the almost 25 percent of the population who have persistent fatigue. Once again, the prognosis for strength training participants is promising, as at least ten trials have demonstrated that this type of exercise can reduce fatigue.

Cognition

Incorporating strength training into an exercise regime along with aerobic exercise improves cognition among older adults. Memory, in particular, seems to benefit from the strength training component, with four studies demonstrating its effectiveness in boosting this cognitive process.

Sleep

Consistently getting a good night’s sleep is vital for good health, both physical and mental. Regular strength training not only improves both the quality and duration of your sleep, but also reduces the risk of developing sleep disorders. While high-intensity strength training produces a stronger effect, low-intensity workouts still yield improvements.

Self-Esteem

Healthy self-esteem is a cornerstone of good mental health, assessed by things like your personal relationships or your fitness level. Improvements in each area can affect overall self-esteem. Strength training, through its effects on physical health, improves global self-esteem and, in doing so, improves mental health.

physical fitness training and mental health

Activ5 Can Help Achieve the Mental Benefits of Strength Training

The Activ5 portable fitness device enables you to strength train with simple exercises that provide a full body workout. With short workouts and seated exercises that can be done almost anywhere, you can easily obtain your strength training objective. This mobile app-enabled fitness tool is customizable to your fitness level, meaning it can improve stamina no matter what your current level is. This gamified workout tool makes strength training easy!

Make strength training a part of your daily exercise routine to reap the mental benefits that it provides. Whether it’s a home workout, hotel workout or even exercise on an airplane, the Activ5 is your portable strength training solution.

Sources:

Mental Benefits of Strength Training by O’Connor

Mental_Health_Benefits_of_Strength_Training-2010-O_Connor-377-96.pdf

http://www.ripsych.org/importance-of-mental-health