I thought I would jump right on social media trend, and discuss the most popular fad of the app feeds today, the mannequin challenge. I have translated this into the use of isometric exercises, and just like magic, this few minutes of standing still has now become part of your workout.
Wikipedia tells you that “Isometric exercise. Isometric exercise or isometrics are a type of strength training in which the joint angle and muscle length do not change during contraction (compared to concentric or eccentric contractions, called dynamic/isotonic movements).” In English this just means, you hold an exercise with tension rather than smashing out reps. A great example of this is the plank, perhaps you have also done a wall squat, or even a half range stationary bicep curl. Although commonly used for ab exercises, isometrics can and should be used for the entire body.
So why Isometrics?
It makes you activate nearly all the body’s available motor units. This means you will get stronger quicker, and see great results in your muscles. It is the reason a lot of athletes and professionals use the time under tension method of training, to recruit a greater range of muscles and fibres.
The amount of time spent while performing an isometric exercises means you can work with injuries and imbalances, improving technique and activating muscles that may not be firing. The rehabilitation benefits are more increased with isometrics than with any other kind of movement.
Isometrics can be done anywhere (as we know with the challenge), with very little equipment, if any. However, it is important to be aware of when they are appropriate in your workout and how to perform them effectively. Misuse can lead to a decrease in speed and coordination, as well as flexibility. So as with all forms of training, it should be used in moderation, correctly in an exercise programme, preferably under the eye of a professional, with knowledge of the positive and negatives of the technique.
Although, when it comes to the mannequin challenge, know you are doing a great exercise that is good for your body and part of your workout for the day! Awesome!