Tuesday, September 16, 2014
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Isometrics: The slow burn

What if there was a workout where you needn't move a muscle? If you are looking for a change of pace from your current exercise routine, isometric training may be the answer to your workout wishes.

Isometrics: The slow burn

This isometric version of the pushup position will shatter your prior notion of what a pushup really is.
This isometric version of the pushup position will shatter your prior notion of what a pushup really is. iStockphoto

What if there was a workout where you needn’t move a muscle? If you are looking for a change of pace from your current exercise routine, isometric training may be the answer to your workout wishes. Isometric exercise is strength training that involves tensing the muscle without actually moving any body parts. Don’t let the slow and steady pace of these exercises fool you - as holding an ice cream cone to your lips for sixty seconds does not constitute an isometric exercise. Not quite sure how it works?

Follow this simple, yet pulse-pounding, no excuses, do anywhere workout to burn the flab and bring on the fab:

Pillar of Strength. It’s time to drop down and give me sixty—seconds that is. Assume the pushup position and prepare to have your prior notion of what a pushup is completely shattered. This isometric version will have you shake, rattle and groan. Take a deep breath and lower your body to a hover position (about three inches from the floor) and hold for one minute, or as close to a minute as you can endure. If you find your form is faltering, then pause and finish your remaining time once your muscles have had a chance to relax.

An important note—I find while exercising, most people tend to stop breathing. Inhale people! Your muscles demand oxygen to continue performing at high levels, and to keep your blood pressure levels in check.

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Squat ‘Til You Drop. Are you ready to move your bum from the Shake Shack to the powerhouse? Then it’s time you and your glutes, hamies and quads meet the Squat Hold.

Oh the Squat Hold, so innocent and simple in nature, yet so evil after the first thirty seconds. If you want to channel your rump’s inner J. Lo, then stand with your feet shoulder width apart, core engaged (tighten your abdomen as if someone is about to punch you in the gut), chest upright and lower your body until your thighs are parallel with the ground. If you are looking for a deeper burn, you can lower your body slightly further.

It is important to keep your weight in the heels of your feet. In addition, it is helpful to focus your eyes on where the wall meets the ceiling. This will ensure that your chest remains open, rather than slouched. The direction of our upper body is often dictated by where our eyes are fixed. Your body should look as though you are seated in a chair, minus the chair. Hold for one minute.

Hip Thrust or Bust. Pack your saddlebags—we are going on a power trip. Take a load off and lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Go to a happy place, and lift your hips until your body has formed a straight line running from your knees to your shoulders. Squeeze your glute muscles in the same fashion you would after eating too much spicy food (don’t act like you haven’t been there—we all have). Hold for sixty seconds.

{Continue this sequence three times with little-to-no rest in between cycles}

Isometrics are an excellent way to improve your technique, strength and stability. Changing the pace of your workout can really set the tone for your muscles.

Earn it. 
Read more Sports Doc for Sports Medicine and Fitness.
About this blog
Ashley B. Greenblatt, ACE-CPT Certified Personal Trainer, The Sporting Club at The Bellevue
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