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A form of resistance training, isometric exercises can be used by everyday exercisers, patients rehabilitating from an injury, or athletes in training. Isometric exercises help to strengthen the joints and surrounding muscles without placing stress on the joints. When performing isometric exercises, the length of the muscle never changes as tension is applied to it. Muscle strength is built by performing repetitions of the exercise. It is always a good idea to follow some safety guidelines when performing isometric exercises.
Always warm up before performing isometric exercises. Cold or tight muscles could cause you to injure yourself. Warming up your muscles allows more blood flow and makes the muscles more flexible. A short cardio session is an ideal warm-up. A short walk, bike ride or dancing session are examples of suitable cardio warm-ups before isometric exercises.
Hypertension or Heart Problems
Individuals with hypertension or heart problems should avoid performing isometric exercises. When performing isometric exercises, the muscle tension causes an increase in blood pressure. A person with existing hypertension will notice a rise in blood pressure when doing an isometric exercise. The heart rate increases with isometric exercise, putting an extra workload on the heart for those with cardiac problems.
Breathing throughout the exercise session is important with isometrics. Deep breathing will allow necessary oxygen to get to your brain and muscles. Try not to hold your breath as you perform isometric exercises. Relax your diaphragm and breathe as deeply as possible while exercising. This will prevent a sharp rise in blood pressure and feelings of lightheadedness. Breathing deeply will allow your muscles to relax more.
Proper isometric exercise training should allow your body to gradually improve in muscle strength. Start your program with a lower number of repetitions and gradually increase to more repetitions. If using weights, start with a lighter weight and increase to heavier weights as you gain strength. If you perform isometric exercise every day, perform upper-body exercises one day and lower-body exercises the next day. This will give your muscles the time needed to recover.