These Are the 14 Low-Impact Isometric Exercises Trainers Recommend to Build Strength
You don't necessarily need to do a ton of high-impact moves in your workouts. Case in point: isometric exercises, or static holds, that recruit your muscles with time under tension. These can look like holding a squat, hollow hold, or wall sit.
NASM- and NCCPT-certified personal trainer Monica Jones told POPSUGAR that doing isometric squats, for example, will help someone who is hoping to increase their weight on a barbell squat or get better at squatting for higher reps and longer periods of time because holding that static squat increases strength and stability in the recruited muscles.
Mike Moreno, district fitness manager at Chuze Fitness and NSCA-certified personal trainer, told POPSUGAR that isometric exercises are useful alternatives to dynamic movements that aggravate a person's joints or cause muscle pain. Plus, he added that they can keep workouts fresh and interesting.
Josh Honore, NASM-certified personal trainer and coach for Row House, agreed that because these moves are low-impact, they don't "wear and tear" on your joints. "In fact, isometric exercises are excellent for strengthening your connective tissues, also known as your tendons and ligaments which hold everything together, because you are holding a contraction for an extended length of time," he said. "This will help prevent injury as well."
It's important to note that board-certified sports clinical specialist Leada Malek, PT, DPT, CSCS, told POPSUGAR that it's recommended, at times, for people with high blood pressure or heart conditions to avoid isometric exercises or be cleared by a healthcare professional to do them. "This is because holding a contraction may cause a change in blood pressure beyond what's safe for the individual," she said. "In these cases, it's better to err on the side of caution and speak to your doctor first."
Ahead, check out a handful of isometric moves recommended by trainers. You'll find lower- and upper-body exercises as well as some great core burners. You can use weights for moves that are presented as bodyweight exercises, too, and you can also tack on static holds to the end of isotonic exercises — holding a squat after 10 traditional squat reps, for example. Our muscles do not stay at the same length during isotonic movements like squats and instead change length (shorten and lengthen) as they resist tension.
The moves that follow are by no means a workout, but take these suggestions into account the next time you get your sweat on.
Love trying new workouts? Want a community to share your fitness goals with? Come join our Facebook group POPSUGAR Workout Club. There, you can find advice on making the best out of every sweat session and everything else you need to help you on your road to healthy living.