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!

Isometric Exercise Benefits: Can Isometrics Help You Quit Smoking?


Isometric Benefits: Can Isometrics Help You Quit Smoking?

If you’re among the nearly 70 percent of U.S. adult smokers trying to give up smoking [1], you’re probably well aware of the benefits. Ten years after you quit smoking, your risk of lung cancer drops 30-50 percent [2], and just one year of not smoking decreases your risk of coronary heart disease by half [3]. While these health benefits and others make a compelling case, it’s not as simple as just quitting cigarettes.

Smoking-cessation aids like nicotine-replacement products, prescription medications, counseling and behavioral therapies [4] can increase the likelihood of success. Even so, cravings and withdrawal symptoms make breaking the smoking habit feel like an impossible challenge. Surprisingly, one practice that can help you to part ways with cigarettes may be one you don’t expect: exercise.

Exercise and Smoking Cessation

A study by the University of Exeter has added weight to the claims that exercise can assist efforts to quit smoking. The research used fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scans to show how physical activity results in changes in brain processing.  In fact, these changes can reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms [5]. Although further study is needed, researchers believe exercise curbs cravings by boosting your mood and/or shifting your blood flow.

Although eliminating cigarettes has a clear benefit, a regular exercise plan can be difficult to incorporate into a busy life. In addition, those new to exercise will have an especially hard time finding the right workout plan that will reduce cravings and fit their schedule. That’s where isometric exercise fits in.

A Study on Isometric Benefits

Another study of the relationship between smoking cessation and exercise concluded that isometric exercise, in particular, was found to reduce the desire to smoke. Furthermore, just 10 minutes of isometric exercises, which involve contractions of specific muscles, measurably lessened cravings and withdrawal symptoms in the study’s participants [6].

There are many advantages to using isometric exercise to curb cravings. These exercises don’t require a long time commitment to complete, making them easy to fit into a busy schedule. They can also be done at any time, at any location, so isometrics are the perfect solution to avoid boredom and deal with cravings throughout your day.

Activ5 and Isometric Benefits

One easy way to introduce isometric exercise into your daily routine and smoking cessation strategy is with the Activ5 device and mobile app. Designed for those short on time and seeking convenient exercises on-the-go, the Activ5 program can help you remain physical and reduce smoking urges. Activ5 coaches you through five-minute workouts that not only help curb urges, but also tone and strengthen your muscles.

Activ5 provides quick bursts of exercise to keep you on track. It also maintains the convenience of isometric exercise, as you can use Activ5 to stay active anytime and anywhere.

To learn more about isometric exercise benefits from the Activ5 portable fitness device, you can watch our videos.  Also, you can get more tips on staying active on the ActivBody blog.

Sources:

[1] https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/mmwrs/byyear/2011/mm6044a2/intro.htm

[2] https://www.cancer.gov/types/lung/patient/lung-prevention-pdq

[3] http://www.who.int/tobacco/quitting/benefits/en/

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK63952/

[5] https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090210092738.htm

[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19563567

5 Steps to Incorporate Yoga into Your Life


More and more people are turning to yoga to become healthier both physically and mentally. Yoga can have many health benefits including improving your muscle strength and tone, increasing your flexibility, protecting your spine and increasing your energy, vitality and mindfulness. 

Of course, starting and maintaining a new habit or routine can be difficult. Behavioral scientists suggest that the best way to create new habits is to start small and build on success.  To help you get started we’ve pulled together five different ways you can incorporate yoga into your daily life right now.

Yoga Stretches at the Office

You’ve probably never imagined lifting weights at the office, but you can easily do yoga while at work. In fact, you don’t even have to bring a yoga mat along. You can perform Chaturanga, plank, upward-facing dog and several other yoga poses right at your office desk.

Take a Community Class

When you hear the words “community class,” you likely envision nighttime lectures focused on gaining a technical degree. As it turns out, though, there are also yoga community classes offered nationally.

Many studios, in fact, offer at least one free weekly class. Once you get involved and meet other participants, you’ll be more inclined to make it a normal part of your routine, if for nothing more than the social benefits.

Practice Yogic Breaths

If you’ve ever been to a yoga class, you’ve undoubtedly heard the words “breathe consciously.” While yogic poses may be the most recognizable aspect of yoga, conscious breathing is also central to the practice.

Whether sitting at your desk or waiting in line at a convenience store, consciously controlling your breathing and taking deep breaths will calm your body and mind. This will also help you master the breathing techniques used with poses regardless of where you are.

Work with What You Have

Everyone wants to feel like they’re progressing in their yogic journey by constantly learning and incorporating new poses. Don’t let this drive slow you down. If you only have five minutes, refrain from wasting that time looking up “how-tos.” Use the ones you’ve already memorized and learn new yoga poses when you have more time.

Download Apps that Incorporate Yoga

Mobile apps  will allow you to incorporate yoga into your new routine at a moment’s notice. Instead of downloading an app that only focuses on yoga, however, get a more rounded app.

The Activ5 app, for instance, has five-minute yoga-themed workouts that track your results and personalize your routine. It also uses gamification, so you’re more likely to develop a new routine just to stay competitive. Activ5 also provides other five-minute isometric workouts, which will help you to build a more comprehensive fitness routine.

From increased flexibility to improved cardiovascular health, yoga comes with numerous benefits. Once you start incorporating yoga into your life, you’ll wonder why it took you so long to get involved in the first place.

Top 10 Reasons You Need Strength Training


 

75% of US adults don’t achieve the American Heart Association and Centers for Disease Control minimum recommendation of 2-3 days of strength training per week. Here are 10 reasons you should engage in strength training every week.

Increases Lean Muscle Mass

There are two types of resistance-based strength training: Isometric Resistance (contracting muscles against non-moving object, such as planking  on floor) and Isotonic (contracting muscles through range of motion, such as bench press with weights). Both increase lean muscle mass, making you stronger and more toned.

Burn More Calories

More calories are used to make and maintain muscle than fat. Building muscle can boost your metabolism by as much as 15%.

Increases Resting Metabolic Rate

Muscle tissue is the most metabolically active tissue in your body, and the breakdown of old protein and synthesis of new protein in your muscles accounts for roughly 1/5 of your resting metabolic rate, according to Len Kravitz, Ph.D. for the University of New Mexico.

Protects Bones

Whether you are a man or a woman, you begin to lose ~1% of your bone density every year. “One of the best ways to stop, prevent, and even reverse bone and muscle loss is to add strength training to your workouts,” advises Troy Tuttle, MS, an exercise physiologist at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston.

Prevents Injuries

An often overlooked effect of strength training is its benefits for injury prevention. Resistance training helps strengthen muscle and tendons while increasing the flexibility of the ligaments, decreasing the risk of one becoming strained or torn.

Develops Better Body Mechanics

Strength training aids in balance, coordination and posture. If you have poor flexibility and balance, strength training can reduce your risk of falling by as much as 40%, a crucial benefit, especially as you get older.

Boost Energy and Feel Happy

Strength training will elevate your level of endorphins (natural opiates produced by the brain), which will make you feel great. This is why people who strength train often refer to getting an “endorphin rush.”

Maintains Long Term Weight Loss

A recent study revealed that women who followed a weight-training routine 3 times a week increased the amount of calories burned in normal daily activity (in addition to those burned during exercise), helping them to maintain their current weight.

Fight Disease

Not only does strength training help you get toned, as you get in shape you also see improvements in your resting metabolic rate, glucose metabolism, blood pressure, insulin resistance and gastrointestinal transit time. Resistance training can improve stamina, and even help to prevent cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

Sleep Better & Be Smarter!

Clinical studies have linked strength training to improved sleep, reduced depression and even better cognitive abilities.

Sources:

http://www.livestrong.com/article/258368-how-to-raise-your-thermogenic-basal-metabolic-rate/

http://www.everydayhealth.com/fitness/add-strength-training-to-your-workout.aspx

http://athleticlab.com/strength-training-to-prevent-injury-by-morgan-pillsbury/

http://stretchcoach.com/articles/strength-training/

Top 10 Isometric Exercise Benefits


Top 10 Isometric Exercise Benefits

Isometric exercises are proven to help build muscle, strength, balance and range of motion. Other isometric exercise benefits include stress reduction, improved mental health, assistance with yoga exercises and injury avoidance. Here are some of the specific isometric exercise benefits.

Lowers Blood Pressure

•             Isometrics have been proven to reduce systolic blood pressure better than aerobic and resistance training in some studies. – Mayo Clinic

Aids in Weight Loss

•             Isometric exercise benefits include reducing both body fat and weight. In a test group, some subjects lost as much as 22 pounds over a 4-week period. – Journal of Applied Research

Saves You Time

•             Using isometric exercise for 6 minutes would be the equivalent muscle work of 30 to 35 minutes on a commercial weight lifting equipment. – Journal of Applied Research

Reduce Overall Pain

•             Older adults experience significant reduction in pain subsequent to several different intensities and durations of isometric contractions. – Official Journal of the American College of Sports Medicine

Reduce Back Pain

•             Isometrics reduces pain and increases vitality among women with low back pain, with effects lasting at least 9 months. –  Journal of Physical Activity and Health

Improve Range of Motion

•             Regular isometric exercises have been shown to significantly improve range of motion. – Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research

Quit Bad Habits (Smoking)

•             Brief isometric exercise provides immediate relief in the desire to smoke. –Human Psychopharmacology Journal

Get Stronger and Bigger Muscles

•             Isometric exercise is associated with an increase in muscle bulk, upper and lower body strength, increase in bone density, and a decrease in bone fractures. – The Journal of Clinical Hypertension

 Benefits Over Aerobic Exercise

•             Stretching and aerobic exercising alone have proven to be a less effective form of training than isometric strength training. -Journal American Medical Association (JAMA)

Improve Stamina

•             Isometric strength training can have beneficial effects on performance during endurance events. -European Journal of Applied Physiology

Isometrics Can Improve Range of Motion


How Isometrics Improve Range of Motion

A sure-fire way to break through a strength plateau is to increase your range of motion. One of the most overlooked and underrated methods to do that is through isometric training. First discovered in the 1950s by researchers Hettinger and Muller, isometrics is where your joint angle and muscle length stay the same during muscle contraction. In essence, your muscles are working but you aren’t actually moving. Although you’re performing little to no movement, isometric training has been proven to increase muscular endurance, strength, and flexibility with surprising effectiveness. But one of the most interesting aspects of isometric exercise is its ability to increase range of motion. Why is this important, you ask? Let us count the ways:

By Increasing Flexibility

Regular isometric exercise significantly improves flexibility which, in turn, contributes to a better range of motion. In Barbosa et al., a resistance training program implemented for elderly women resulted in a significant increase in flexibility. In other words, resistance training without stretching itself increases flexibility all on its own. This result has massive implications for the rehabilitation and physical conditioning of our bodies as we approach the senior stages of life. A further study by Houssein Mohammadi Sanavi et al. found that hamstring muscles of the males in the test group were significantly improved after a six-week program combining isometric contraction with passive stretching. Yet, surprisingly, not only was flexibility increased but also the strength and endurance of the hamstring muscle. Which brings us to our next point…

By Improving Physical Performance

Put simply, isometric exercises will not only increase your flexibility but also make you stronger. A single daily isometric exercise at two-thirds maximum effort for six seconds increases strength by a whopping five percent each week. More curiously, research further revealed that static strength continued to improve even after the conclusion of a program. Not bad results for a week of rest. In Thépaut-Mathieu et al., it was also discovered that subjects had an improvement of muscle contraction at specific training angles that was greater than at other angles (not trained with isometric exercises). So you can be pretty darn confident that isometric exercises will increase flexibility, improve stamina, and produce muscles that are more adaptable, stronger and durable.

By Decreasing Risk of Injury

As flexibility increases and physical performance improves, athletic range of motion is a natural byproduct. You’ll gain a greater sense of coordination and be more able to bend, twist, and avoid injury due to your increased ease of motion. Moreover, since isometric exercise also increases muscular endurance and strength, you’ll be combating early fatigue. And we all know that fatigue is one of the biggest causes of injury whether due to decrease of mental capacity or simply because of clumsy limbs.

How Do I Start Isometrics?

Isometric exercises are straightforward and require no equipment, but it’s sometimes tricky to know where to start. If you’re looking for a bit of guidance, Activ5 is a fantastic way to easily incorporate isometric exercises into a busy fitness schedule. It pairs with your smartphone and coaches you through a full-body strength training workout. It makes integration of an isometric program a no-brainer. You can measure your strength level, gamify your workouts, and track your progress with ease.  That leaves you to just concentrate on your results – and sweating it out, of course!

Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11834101

https://breakingmuscle.com/learn/working-at-a-stand-still-how-to-do-isometric-training

http://jap.physiology.org/content/64/4/1500

http://www.imedpub.com/articles/the-effects-of-maximum-voluntary-isometric-contraction-durations-in-pnf-training-on-muscle-performance.pdf

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15462615

The Benefits of Isometric Exercise and Portable Fitness Devices


For those who wish to continue their weight training while on the move, it can be difficult without the aid of a home gym. But with discipline and the use of a fitness device to track your heart rate and calories burned, the simplicity of location allows for an established routine. In turn, you can more effectively generate muscle growth. If you find yourself in this situation or working from home, you should consider isometric exercises because you can do them anywhere.

Isometric Exercise Tips

Gym memberships provide weight machines for the most common muscle exercises: concentric and eccentric contractions. With these, muscles shorten through lifting loads or lengthen through lowering loads. The third contraction, isometric, occurs through steady muscle tension (think the “planking” challenge). Without challenging the muscle to change its length, the body can activate multiple muscle groups simultaneously. Two-thirds of a person’s maximum effort performed for six second sets can increase strength by 5% over a period of ten weeks.

You can practice isometric exercise by using your body weight in exercises such as the squat, lunge, and push-up. Instead of completing a full-rep for these, pause halfway through your range of motion. This will work your agonist muscles as well as your antagonist muscles.

With a bench press and squat, you don’t need a load on a bar for your variations. Set the movement of the pins to the mid-range, and where a sticking point may occur, place a second set of pins. For power racks, set the pins at the next height. This exercise is also useful for a deadlift. Simply place more weight than usual for your one-rep and hold for six to eight seconds.

For additional convenience and coaching, consider a portable fitness device. It can track your progress and provide the necessary resistance to increase your strength and endurance.

Activ5 Health Tip: 3 Rules for Healthy Meal Prep


Dieters often shy away from meal prep as they associate it with spending hours in the kitchen cooking. However, your experience can be different once you know the right way to play your meals. By making smarter decisions you can save time, and set yourself up for a great and healthy week.

Planning your meals is important because:

  • It helps you follow your weight-management program
  • It’s efficient and saves time
  • It’s ideal to compliment and help you achieve your fitness goals

Trade in your old habits for new ones by applying these three must-do rules for successful meal prep.

1. Plan Your Meals to Fit Your Workout Program

One of the biggest mistakes dieters make during meal prep is not making smart meal choices that are suited for their fitness program. If your fitness goal is to build muscle strength, then your meals should reflect the appropriate ratio of proteins to carbs for the day. Plan your meals to complement your fitness target. Research or consult with a fitness professional ahead of time. This step does take time and effort, but the results are more than worth it.

Fitness Tip: To get stronger, incorporate at least 10 to 15 minutes of isometric exercises (static training) into your daily exercise routine.

2. Your Oven Saves Time — Use it for Meal Prep

Use your oven to prepare a variety of dishes with less effort than on the stove top. A good working oven lets you stack and time your meals as you carry out your normal activities of the day.

Great options include:

  • Baking casseroles
  • Roasting vegetables and meats
  • Broiling meats and seafood
  • Grilling meats, seafood, and vegetables
  • Steaming custards and puddings

Plan your meals the night before. Cook a large amount of meats and root vegetables, enough to last the week. In a baking pan, lay out your meats and vegetables for roasting, baking or broiling. Sprinkle on any spices you like.

Fitness Tip: Get toned while you wait. Do simple workouts like keeping your abdominals contracted while seated.

3. Divide Your Meals into Portion Sizes

A common misconception among dieters is that portion control is only important if you don’t exercise. Not true. To achieve weight loss, the calorie count is just as important as the type of workout you perform. Portion sizes should be established according to the amount of calories you need per day. This is an essential step in any weight loss plan.

Fitness Tip: Combine a fast workout with fitness technology, like a smartphone app to track your progress and make exercise fun. Together with your meal prep, your fitness goals will soon be realized.