Isometric exercise: The key to strength from stillness

Discover the transformative benefits of isometric exercises that will leave you feeling empowered just from a single position

When it comes to working out, everyone has different goals. Some aim to gain muscle, while others want to lose weight or build strength and endurance. Isometric exercises are great for the latter. See, exercising doesn’t always require repetitive movements or continuous activity and you can achieve remarkable results by holding your body in a single position—which is what isometric exercises is all about.

Essentially, isometric exercises apply constant tension to the muscles, engaging them but not changing their length. Although they won’t necessarily bulk up your muscles, isometric exercises improve strength and stability, which can help fine-tune your form. Isometric exercise utilizes your body weight as resistance and usually requires little to no equipment, making it easy to add to your workout routine.


Isometric exercises require you to hold a static position without movement. Surprisingly, it offers numerous benefits for your body. If you aim to enhance flexibility, isometric exercises should be among your top choices because they increase the range of motion in targeted muscles. Additionally, they are effective in rehabilitating injured joints, as several movements can retrain these muscles without stressing the joints, thus preventing further pain and injury. This is why physiotherapy and medical rehabilitation programs utilize these types of activities.

For those seeking to strengthen and build muscles, isometric exercises can help increase muscle mass, boost upper and lower body strength, and enhance bone density. They also contribute to reducing the risk of bone fractures. To get the most out of these exercises, combining several isometric movements is essential so that the muscle building is not focused solely on one part of the body but in instead distributed across multiple areas.

Beyond their physical advantages, isometric exercises can be vital in maintaining our overall health. Research has indicated that isometric exercises may be more effective in reducing systolic blood pressure better than aerobic and resistance training.


Isometric exercises have several stages of movement that you can customize according to your body’s ability and the specific muscle groups you want to work on. You can do five movements as a single circuit or gradually add two or three moves to your weekly workout routine. The duration of each activity can range from thirty seconds to two minutes at a time, depending on your fitness level.

Most isometric workout plans are divided into beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. If you’re new to isometric exercises or plan to combine them with more intense workouts, it’s advisable to begin with the easiest or beginner stage. Then, as your body gets used to it, you can progress to the next level while constantly making adjustments as you go along.

Here’s a breakdown of how various exercises are divided into the three aforementioned levels:

Beginner moves: Squats, knee planks, glute bridges, L-sits along with tabletop crunch holds

Intermediate moves: Planking, crab holds, side planks, hollow holds and the Superman hold

Advanced moves: Extended plank or star planks, aeroplane poses, wall sits, extended hollow holds and handstand against the wall


Combining isometric exercises with other movements is important to engage all muscle groups in your body. It’s also important to take your time, because gradual progression is essential. Begin with shorter holds and gradually increase the duration for each variation. Hold each exercise for at least thirty seconds while maintaining proper form. Ensuring proper alignment and positioning during isometric exercises will allow you to reap the most benefits while avoiding injury.

Isometric exercises stand out as a simple yet highly effective training method requiring no equipment. You can do them virtually anywhere at any time. Well-suited for individuals dealing with injuries or disabilities, it offers unique benefits not found in other kinds of strength training. Incorporating isometric exercises into your fitness routine, whether as a standalone practice or combined with other methods, can be an extremely valuable asset on your journey to a stronger and healthier body.