Isometric Training for Bodybuilders

Weight Training
Weight Training. Paul Kane / Stringer / Getty Images

The human body is made up of over 300 pairs of muscles that allow you to move in all different directions. Your body is dynamic and not a single muscle works all by itself. However, you are able to emphasize certain muscles by performing certain types of more isolated and static-like movements. This beneficial in a number of different cases, not limited to specific muscle-mass training and targeted rehabilitation.

Bodybuilding more often than not focuses on two types of motions: concentric (muscle-shortening) and eccentric (muscle-lengthening). These are the best types of motions for increasing muscle mass, which is the primary goal of a bodybuilder. However, there is another type of motion that is often neglected, called an isometric motion.

This is a type of movement in which the length of a muscle remains relatively the same as a result of holding a fixed position for a certain amount of time. Isometric exercises are primarily beneficial for strength and conditioning, rather than mass-building. But that doesn't mean that bodybuilders shouldn't include some isometric exercises in their training. Sure, most of the workout should comprise concentric and eccentric exercises to promote increases in muscle mass. But, by including some isometric exercises, bodybuilders will be able to improve their overall fitness, strength and conditioning, which can help prevent injury when training and even improve the quality of their training.

Isometric exercises can be performed using free weight equipment such as dumbbells. Trainees can also use their own bodyweight to perform some of the exercises. Mixing and matching free weight exercises with bodyweight exercises is best.

Isometric Push-Up

The isometric push-up is an exercise that mainly works the pectoralis major of the chest, front deltoid of the shoulders and triceps brachii of the upper arms.

To perform the exercise, first place your hands on the ground at a distance that is slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and with your arms extended. Put your feet on the ground behind you with your legs extended. Lower your torso about halfway to the ground by bending your elbows and hold the position for 15 to 30 seconds. Return your torso up to the beginning position by extending your elbows.

Isometric Dumbbell Side Raise

Isometric dumbbell side raises are a movement that primarily target the lateral deltoid of the shoulders. To execute the movement, begin by holding a dumbbell in each hand using an overhand grip and stand with your body upright. Position the dumbbells by your sides with your palms are facing the sides of your thighs. Raise the dumbbells up and away from the sides of your body until the dumbbells are about shoulder level. Maintain the position for 15 to 30 seconds, then lower the dumbbells down to the start.

Isometric Dumbbell Curl

The isometric dumbbell curl is an exercise that works the biceps brachii of the upper arms. To perform the exercise, first grab a dumbbell in each hand with an underhand grip and stand with your body upright. Place the dumbbells by your sides with your palms facing forward.

Raise the dumbbell up towards your shoulders by bending your elbows and hold the position for 15 to 30 seconds. Lower the dumbbells down to the beginning position by extending your elbows.

Side Bridge

Side bridges are a movement that target the rectus abdominis and oblique muscles of the stomach. To execute the movement, begin by laying the right side of your body on the ground. Press your body up with your right arm until your hips and knees are off the ground. Place your left hand on the left side of your waist. Maintain the position for 15 to 30 seconds, then return your body down to the start. Repeat the movement with your left side.