Isometric Training builds strength fast and is easy on your joints. It's been around for thousands of years and becomes a fitness "trend" for us every few years. Alexander Zass, a famous strongman in the early 1900's, showed how isometric weight training made him the "world's strongest man."
• What is Isometric Training?
Holding a position - without moving - for several seconds up to several minutes. (Another form of isometrics is pushing against something for a certain amount of time.) It's no picnic; your muscles are straining against each other, creating a great workout.
• Will it make you lose weight?
Yes. We should be doing strength workouts a couple times each week as part of our lifetime goal to lose weight and keep it off.
If you consistently exercise, even for 15 minutes at a time, you will lose weight. (Working out really hard for a week or two then quitting is not how to lose weight.)
Also, muscle burns more calories than fat. Wouldn't you like to burn more calories, even when you're resting? I thought so. Bring on the strength training!
• It's safer on your joints.
Isometrics is often used in physical therapy. It builds strength without causing injury. People with injured joints from work or weight lifting find success with this weight training.
Look for exercises with a "stop and hold" rather than constant motion.
LIFTING WEIGHTS is the
most popular way to build strength. So instead of constantly pumping
weights, hold the weight still for a certain amount of time (even just a
few seconds) - then change position and hold again. I recommend
to find additional information and isometric exercises. Also, the book Isometric Power Revolution by John E. Peterson contains history and a training program with photos.
YOGA builds strength by holding different positions. There is a misconception that yoga is just stretching and relaxing. Depending on your instructor and their yoga method, the workout can be heavier on cardiovascular, strength, or stretching.
I regularly attend a yoga class, and it definitely works into my overall habits to keep weight off - or lose weight, if that's where you are. You can find a local class by searching the internet for "yoga class in (type in your town's name)." For example, "yoga class in Chicago."
recommend working out to yoga dvd's, going to a yoga class, or
recording yoga classes on your tv (if you can). I have over 40 yoga
workouts recorded on my television - a show called Yoga For Life
on the Veria channel (#218 on my dish network). When looking for a dvd,
pick one featuring a real yoga instructor, not a fitness celebrity
adding yoga to their product line.
PILATES also uses isometric training. The Hundred Exercise is a great example.
I also recommend a local class, dvd or tv workout. Pilates: From the Inside Out is another show you can record on the Veria channel. This show has episodes for beginners (which are still good workouts) as well as episodes that are intermediate to advanced.
For dvd's, I'm a big
fan of workouts by Jennifer Kries. I accidentally bought one of her
dvds 14 years ago, and I've been hooked on pilates ever since.
CLASSES based on isometrics come and go. Callenetics was a good one (I
used it in college and lost weight). You can get an updated dvd called CalleneticsEvolution.
*Heart patients should be extra careful and only perform isometric exercises after the approval of your physician.
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