Hands up if you’re trying to get fit this year!
If your hand is up, you’re not alone. Studies show that people are increasingly interested in exercise as a way to not only stay fit but to be happier too.
If getting fit and in shape is your priority, it’s helpful to do your research. Today, there are a variety of exercise options available to you. Learning about different types of exercise will help you to identify and reach your goals.
Today we’re discussing Isotonic vs isometric exercises–what’s the difference? Read this guide to find out.
Benefits of Exercise
Before we get into the benefits of Isometric vs Isotonic exercises, it’s important to understand the benefit of exercise in general.
While we know that exercise is good for our body, it’s also essential to our mental health. Finding an exercise regime that works for you will improve your overall wellbeing and happiness.
This is because exercise is incredibly effective at lowering anxiety, fighting stress, improving sleep, and even stabilizing mood. No matter what exercise you do, the benefits you’ll feel are more than worth the sweat you put in.
Research shows that just 30 minutes of daily exercise can do wonders for your self-esteem, sex drive, and energy levels. Even if you’re feeling drained, it’s helpful if you at least do some form of exercise in order to regain your energy.
Because of the multiple benefits of exercise, it’s important to find a form of it or a regime that you enjoy. If you enjoy the exercise, there’s a significantly higher likelihood that you’ll maintain a consistent regime.
What Is Isotonic Exercise?
Let’s break down the word ‘Isotonic’ to help us understand what it means.
Isotonic has Greek roots, with ‘iso’ meaning ‘equal’ and ‘tonos’ meaning ‘tone’. Isotonic exercise, therefore, refers to exercises in which your muscles maintain equal tone while the movement occurs.
Another way to describe this kind of exercise is to explain that Isotonic exercises involve two types of contractions. The first is Concentric, which is when a muscle shortens to overcome the force of a weight. The other is Eccentric, which is when the muscle lengthens while being opposed by the force of a weight.
A good way to picture this kind of exercise is to imagine a bicep curl. When you lift your arm with the weight in it toward your shoulder, your bicep contracts.
Then, when the weight comes down, the contraction becomes eccentric. Importantly, the muscles resist the load from the weight through the whole range of motion.
What Is Isometric Exercise?
In contrast, although Isometric exercise still places tension on your muscles, the muscles don’t change length during the contraction.
While Isotonic means ‘equal tone’, Isometric indicates equal measure or length. Unlike during Isotonic exercise, the tension doesn’t overcome the weight of the object being pushed or pulled. Instead, you remain in place while a specific muscle group is targeted in Isometrics.
Isometric exercises can be either overcoming or yielding in their form. An overcoming exercise is when you push back against an immovable object. A good example of this is the popular plank exercise.
In contrast, yielding exercises require you to maintain form against a force. An example of this kind of exercise is using your hands to stretch a resistance band. Both overcoming and yielding exercises are static holds. The idea is to use as much strength as possible to activate the muscles during each.
Benefits of Isometric Exercises
Isotonic and Isometric exercises are both parts of resistance training. This means they both offer the following resistance training benefits:
- Strength building
- Improves range of motion
- Reduces pain
- Bone strengthening (helps with Osteoarthritis)
- Lowers blood pressure
Isometric exercises are beneficial because they do not add a lot of stress to your joints. They are great for use in rehabilitation and for increasing your strength.
Due to the intensity of Isometric exercises, they take minimal time to complete. They contribute to building muscle and burning fat and are very effective at nursing an injury back to health. They also improve overall flexibility to help prevent further injuries.
Yoga is a good example of an Isometric workout, while weightlifting is more about Isotonics.
Isotonic vs Isometric Exercises
Isotonic exercises are very effective at increasing muscle size. Depending on the size of the weights used, a person can benefit from a range of improvements to their overall strength.
Bodybuilders find Isotonic exercise useful because it helps them bulk up and provides specific muscle responses that are useful in a range of athletic activities. Women also benefit from the ability to tone their bodies using this form of exercise.
As stated above, both Isotonic and Isometric exercises have their unique advantages.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re an athlete or you’ve just started your fitness journey, it’s helpful to understand how to use each of these forms of exercise to your benefit.
It’s clear then that, unless you have specific training goals focusing solely on Isotonic exercises, you’ll benefit by including both Isometrics and Isotonics in your training.
Not only does the combination of both styles bring variety to your exercise regime, but it also enables you to reach your goals faster. Along with this, a balanced diet and good sleep are essential to overall wellbeing.
The Next Steps
After reading this article, it’s clear that adopting an exercise regime that works for you is the best way of reaching your fitness goals. Instead of thinking along the lines of Isotonic vs Isometric exercises, combining these exercises is one design approach for varied, optimal functional fitness.
Keep in mind how important it is to adopt an exercise program that you both enjoy and that meets your unique needs. So, what are the next steps?
If you want to know more about the differences between the two types of exercises and how to perform them effectively, please contact us. We’ll support and guide you along your fitness goals, no matter what they are. We allow you to get the most benefit out of each style of training.