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Isotonic Exercise – How Do They Compare to Isometric Exercises

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Dumbbell Reverse Fly isometric exercise

Isotonic exercise causes muscle contraction to shorten as the body runs, swims, lifts, pushes, pulls, cycles, or jumps. This load also includes resistance training.

Isometric exercise involves muscular contractions as the body performs planks, bridges, superman exercises, leg raises, or any other stationary activity or exercise.

Both isotonic and isometric exercises cause the muscles to work under pressure. However, the activities work the muscles differently, as isotonic exercise causes the muscle to move to work, while isometric exercise requires the muscle not to move to work.

Isotonic exercise keeps the muscles at the same tension during the movement. Most activities in a conventional workout come into this category. They involve moving your body or weight with a range of motion.

Scientists conducted a study that measured the effects of 6-week programs of isotonic and isometric exercises.

The study observed 49 male subjects. The 24 subjects who performed isotonic exercises showed more significant gains in strength and hypertrophy than the 25 subjects who did the isometric exercises.

The subjects performed strength tests in a position similar to that in which they exercised and in an unknown situation. In addition, the study used tests that employed the musculature in a familiar and unfamiliar manner. Whereas subjects showed strength gains in the tests when they used muscles familiarly, the study observed little or no gain in strength when they tried unfamiliar exercises. Thus, the study suggests that the higher scores in strength tests resulting from skill acquisition.

How to do the best isotonic resistance training exercises?

Squats are a popular isotonic exercise that is best for lower body muscles. This is how you can do them.

  1. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and place your hands on the bar
  2. Let the bar rest on your shoulders or upper back, depending on your preference.
  3. Pull the shoulders back as you stand up tall, lifting your chest
  4. Lower your knees, keeping the upper body straight. Be sure to release your hip muscles properly.
  5. Go down till your thighs get parallel to the floor, and your hips reach below your knee.
  6. Keep your heels towards the floor while you squat, and then press your feet and straighten your legs to lift back up.
  7. Repeat the whole movements for three sets, using 10 to 12 reps for each.

What is the best form to use for the squat exercise?

There are some right ways of doing squats. Knowing about the best form of doing this isotonic exercise will help you gain maximum benefits. Some tips for the best form are:

  1. Make sure that your knees track or align during bending with the toes. For example, if the knees buckle inward, you need to shift your feet slightly outwards.
  2. Don’t exaggerate the back arch, and use your abs, back, hip flexors, and glutes to keep the spine in a neutral curve.
  3. Keep your weight evenly distributed through your entire feet as you do the squat.
  4. Do a full range of the squat motion towards the bottom when the hip reaches below the knee top.
  5. Squeeze your hips when you return to the starting position to work the glutes harder.

What are some of the best variations in isotonic exercises?

Isotonic exercise types include not only squats but also pushups, pullups, deadlifts, and bench presses. Let’s see how to perform each:

a) Push-ups

This is how you do basic pushups:

  1. Start with knees and hands positioned on the ground as you look down
  2. Place both hands beneath your shoulders. Keep the knees at a comfortable distance from each other.
  3. Take slow breaths as you lower your elbows. Keep the elbows tucked in and the arms close to your body. Then, bring the chest to the ground and contract your core muscles.
  4. Take a pause, making sure the chin almost touches the ground.
  5. Exhale during a push-up, inhale while going down slowly, and explode back to the starting position.

b) Pullups

We also called these dead hangs. You can do this exercise:

  1. Grab a hanging bar with your hands
  2. Pull your body up from the ground about an inch
  3.  Extend the arms fully as you go down and contract them entirely as you go back up.
  4. Move your elbows towards the side when you pull up. Don’t raise your shoulders.
  5. Bend the knees for lifting the feet and take a pause.

c)     Bench Presses

The bench press is also a type of isotonic exercise. This is how you can perform it:

  1. Lie on your back on a flat surface. Hold a barbell using hands placed at a distance wider than your shoulder width.
  2. Press the feet firmly to the ground and keep the hips on the surface while you do the movement
  3. Gradually lift the bar and lower it to the chest.
  4. Allow the weight to touch your chest gently and gradually, and then quickly press the weight up.
  5. Press your feet into the ground as you are pushing the bar back up
  6. Perform 8 to 12 reps and do three sets.

d)    Deadlifts

Finally, deadlifts are another form of isotonic exercise. You can perform it through these basic steps:

  1. First, stand shoulder-width in front of a loaded barbell.
  2.  Bend your knees and body forward
  3.  Grab the bar with an overhand grip with your hands just over your shoulder.
  4.  Exhale as you push up and lift the bar with your legs.
  5.  Press your feet into the floor as you bring your torso to an upright position.
  6.  Keep the bar close to your sheens as you pass your knees thrust your hips forward.
  7. As you return to the starting position, push your chest out and bring your shoulder blades back.
  8.  Repeat the deadlift 8-12 times for 3-5 sets.

What are some common mistakes people make when performing isotonic exercises?

One of the most typical mistakes people make with isotonic exercises is to work with the wrong weight. If you are a beginner, you need to begin by using lighter weights. Then, build your way gradually until you get comfortable as you increase the load.

The same goes for people who are professional athletes. Overdoing a workout for an extended time can put your body at risk of injury. It is essential to take care of your body as you perform this exercise. Isotonic exercises require warm-up. Most people forget about this critical step, which can lead to premature wear and tear of the muscle. This can cause a lot of pain and take a while to recover.

What muscles do isotonic exercises help the most?

Isotonic exercise helps all major body muscles. It provides strength to several core muscles, including the abdominal muscles and back. Also, isotonic exercise is helpful to increase overall stability in the body and give toning to the muscles.

Muscles like hamstrings, glutes, and shoulder muscles look more in shape when a person does isotonic exercise. In addition, most people feel more youthful and energetic because of performing regular isotonic exercises. Also, isotonic exercise types, such as bench presses and deadlifts, help strengthen the core.

Last word on isotonic exercises

These are all the basics you need to know about performing isotonic exercises. Isotonic exercises make up the essential part of many workouts. The key is to use the proper form of these exercises, so you get the best results from them.

Also, using the best form of isotonic exercise will save you from injuries. While most exercises improve your health and fitness, the key to any activity is consistency and compliance. Therefore, incorporate a mix of isotonic and isometric exercises that you enjoy and make you feel better.

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