You are probably more familiar with isometric exercises than you think. If you play sports or do any movement that involves changing directions, that in-between change-of-direction time, no matter how brief, requires an isometric contraction. 

For instance, if you’re doing biceps curls with a dumbbell or barbell, each time you hold the weight at the top or bottom of the movement, you are performing an isometric contraction at that moment. That is, you change from one muscle contraction type to the other, but the "hold" portion of the exercise is an isometric contraction. 

The fun (and challenging) thing about isometrics is that you can hold the contraction for 5 - 10 seconds … or 30 seconds … a minute… or even 2 minutes! The length of the "hold" plays a very important role in strengthening. 

Isometric contractions help improve body awareness, posture, movement and strength. Other benefits include: 

  • Isometrics are ideal for people with little or no exercise experience.

  • Great way to teach proper biomechanics.

  • Can help prevent muscle and strength losses.

  • You’ll gain strength in isolated areas or muscle groups without moving the joints.

  • May increase muscle size and develop more efficient muscle contractions.

  • Works muscles with more intensity in a shorter period of time.

  • Prepares the musculoskeletal system for more advanced activities.

  • Increases neurological strength, recruits more muscle fibers for each movement.

  • Can be used early in a rehabilitation program.

  • Isometric workouts can be fast and done anywhere.

  • Safer than conventional training (doesn't involve movement).

Your challenge this week is to pick one isometric exercise to practice all week. Keep track of where you start (how long can you hold this move?) and then work towards improving that number throughout the week. Let us know at the end of the week how you’ve improved your number(s) and what changes you noticed! 

Here are some thoughts on isometric moves for this challenge: 

Wall Sits 

  1. Start with your back against a wall with your feet shoulder width and about 2 feet from the wall.

  2. Engage your abdominal muscles and slowly slide your back down the wall until your thighs are parallel to the ground.

  3. Adjust your feet so your knees are directly above your ankles (rather than over your toes).

  4. Keep your back flat against the wall.

  5. Hold the position for 20 to 60 seconds.

  6. Slide slowly back up the wall to a standing position.

Plank 

  1. Lie on the floor and then get into a plank position: hold a straight body position, supported on elbows and toes.

  2. Brace the abdominals and set the low back in the neutral position.

  3. Keep back flat and cervical spine in neutral; keep body / torso in alignment.

Abdominal Lock 

  1. Lie on the floor on your back, feet flat on the floor with the knees bent.

  2. Contract the glutes to create a bridge, elevating off the floor.

  3. Maintain the cervical spine in a neutral position. No low back discomfort and no hamstring cramps.

Body Arm Hangs

  1. Pull yourself up on a chin-up bar while keeping the eyes horizontal to the bar.

  2. Keep hands / wrists in neutral position, elbows at 90 degrees, and avoid body movement (swinging, etc.).

  3. Maintain the position to failure without violating the above rules.

Stability Ball Bridge

  1. Place your head and upper back on a stability ball, torso in a "table top" pose.

  2. Contract the glutes to create a bridge. The muscles recruited should be primarily from the glutes (some abdominals and quadriceps).

  3. There should be no low back discomfort and no hamstring cramps.

  4. As you progress you can lift your head off the ball.

Remember to jot down your start time and work towards improving the length of time you can hold these over the course of the week. 

Let us know which exercise you pick in the blogs! 


Prize Details

In addition to learning new healthy lifestyle skills, by completing this Weekly Challenge you’ll also receive 1,000 FITera points! Be sure to blog about this challenge and keep us updated on your progress. At the end of each week, please email us at support@fitera.com with how you did on the challenge, as well as your FITera username.

Rules & Regulations

Keep us updated on how you’re doing with the weekly challenge by posting blogs on FITera with your progress, questions, or any tips, obstacles, or experiences you’d like to share. There is no minimum number of blogs required, but the more you post, the more support, encouragement, and accountability you’ll receive from others.

Just as you’ll receive support from others, please offer the same kind of feedback and encouragement to your peers. As you’ll soon discover, the more you give, the more you’ll receive.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Every Monday we'll announce the details of the upcoming week's challenge. Each challenge goes from Monday to Sunday.

COMPLETING YOUR CHALLENGE: At the end of each week (Friday night, Saturday, or Sunday morning), please post a blog on how you did with your challenge for the week, such as what you learned, obstacles you overcame, and your plans for continuing this new healthy habit long-term.