There’s a good chance that if you’ve recently taken up strength workouts in addition to cardio sessions on your home fitness equipment, you’ve seen a difference in your running or cycling. You might be moving faster, have better endurance, improved posture or all of the above.
During your lifting routines, you’re most likely doing traditional strength exercises like squats, lunges, bicep curls, crunches and chest presses. These areÂ effective options that challenge your muscle fibers and cause them to adapt and become stronger, but did you know there’s another option when it comes to strength training? It’s called isometric exercises.
What are isometric exercises?
Unlike traditional moves thatÂ contract a muscle then let it go, isometric exercises force you to hold the contraction for a period of time.
Think of performing a plank exercise. You assume the position (like the start of a push-up), then youÂ hold, contracting your core, abs and legs for 30, 45, 60 or 90 seconds at a time. While you’re not moving any of your body parts, you can feel the exercise working as you startÂ to shake and your muscles begin to fatigue.
Since your ultimate goal is to constantly work toward becoming a better runner on your fitness treadmill or cyclist while training on your stationary bike, it’s important to work your muscles and body in a variety of different manners. Isometric exercises actively engage muscles but don’t require powerful movements, allowing strength to build without the risk of injury. These exercises also help work your stabilizer muscles, which protect you from falling – thereby lowering your chances of getting hurt.
Here are some excellent isometric exercises Women’s Health magazine described that willÂ strengthen your muscles and improve your cardio:
Isometric lateral raises
Plank and glute squeeze
Isometric wall sit
Side plank stabilization
Isometric leg raises