Isotonic exercises are the latest fitness trend that fascinates fitness enthusiasts. Fitness trends are like tissue dispensers: you get a new one every two minutes. No doubt you will wonder what this unusual, exotic and undoubtedly advanced type of training entails. How long can you incorporate it into your training to start seeing results?
Relax. You probably already do isotonic exercises in your routine. Despite the technical name, these cover the majority of movements you’ll do in a typical gym session. It helps to understand how and why they build muscle and strength (and help fat reduction), so here’s a crash course in layman’s terms.
What are isotonic exercises?
Isotonic refers to “same tension”, which refers to the tension exerted on contracted muscles as they move the joints. The goal is to maintain the same muscle tension throughout the range of motion. Push-ups, squats, running, etc. are examples of isotonic exercises.
However, actual resistance exercises are not purely isotonic due to a multitude of variables.
Imagine performing a bicep curl. Your biceps are strongest when your elbow is bent at 90 degrees due to the length-tension connection. If it is twisted more than 90 degrees, the muscle contraction structures overlap and it cannot contract as strongly. If the elbow is straighter than 90 degrees, there is too little overlap and the muscles cannot produce as much force.
Therefore, it is difficult to maintain the same level of stress on a muscle throughout a workout, even isotonic.
As you squat, the gap between your glutes and the bar grows. Their mechanical advantage decreases. When it’s time to propel yourself out of the hole at the bottom of the lift, extending your hips to lockout, the glutes have to work harder than if you had just done a half squat, only lowering part of the way, so your glutes were closer to the bar throughout the exercise.
As you go up, your leverage improves and your glutes don’t have to work as hard to extend your hips. This explains why the last few inches of a squat are easier than his butt.
So pure isotonic movement does not exist, especially when it comes to the compound exercises we do (squats, push-ups, pull-ups, etc.). It should be noted that there is no way to maintain continuous tension during dynamic resistance training since the biomechanical parameters are constantly changing.
What are some isotonic exercises?
Isotonic exercises include almost every traditional exercise you can think of. As we have already explained, you do not need to know what isotonic exercises are, because you probably already do them or have done them in the past. Just for your understanding, we will quote some examples below:
- Go back up
- back squat
- Bench Press
- Dumbbells, dumbbells, or bodyweight lunges
- Leg extensions
- Bicep curls
- Tricep extension
What are the benefits of isotonic exercises?
Isotonic exercises are quite effective. It works the target muscles through their full range of motion, preserving and increasing flexibility. The full workout engages more muscle fibers. To achieve an equal increase in muscle and strength through isometric training, research suggests holding and squeezing reps at four separate joint angles. It is time consuming and boring, and most people will be unable to follow it.
Isotonic exercises are easy. Even if you’re new to exercise, you can learn the basics quickly. No fancy equipment is needed (unlike isokinetic training), and you don’t need a protractor or lab coat to work out joint angles. Isotonic training also includes simple bodyweight exercises.
Isotonic training can help you, whether your goal is to build muscle and strengthpower and endurance for sports, change your body composition or just stay active as you age. Isometric training and, if possible, isokinetic work will complete your training.
What do isotonic exercises do?
Isotonic exercises strengthen the cardiovascular system as they increase oxygen delivery, heart rate, stroke volume, cardiac output and muscular endurance while reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Constant stress, which stimulates bone remodeling, also improves bone density during isotonic exercise.
With stronger bones, the likelihood of breaking a bone is decreased. Isotonic exercise also burns calories and improves vital health stats, such as cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Obviously, it also helps build bigger and stronger muscles, improving your resistance to strains, sprains, fractures and fall-related injuries. The more frequently you engage in isotonic exercise, the simpler it will become.