Isotonic Exercise Methods

Karen Frazier
Woman performing a bicep curl

Isotonic exercise methods can help you build strength, tone your muscles, and speed up your metabolism. Before examining methods for isotonic exercise, however, it is essential to learn exactly what it is.

Isotonic Exercise

Many people confuse isotonic exercise with isometric exercise. With isometric exercise, you contract and hold a muscle. With isotonic exercise, you perform muscle contractions against a steady source of resistance. Lifting weights is one example of isotonic exercise.

Benefits

Isotonic exercise provides many benefits:

  • Strengthens, tones, and builds muscle
  • Improves two of the five components of physical fitness: muscle strength and muscular endurance
  • As you increase muscle mass, your metabolism increases slightly as well
  • Relieves stress
  • Promotes better sleep
  • Provides a better aesthetic appearance

Components

Your muscles perform several functions during isotonic exercise. They push, pull, bend and straighten. For instance, when you bend your arm at the elbow to perform a bicep curl, you flex your bicep. When you unbend your arm at the elbow to perform a triceps kickback, you extend your triceps. When you lie on your back and push a weight up from your chest, you extend your pectoral muscles. When you perform a pull up, you flex your back muscles. Muscles that perform opposite functions of the same region (such as biceps and triceps flexing and extending the arm) are called complimentary muscle groups. When performing isotonic exercises, it is important to balance exercises between complimentary muscle groups in order to prevent injury and develop balanced strength throughout your body.

Isotonic Exercise Methods

Many isotonic exercise methods will help you gain strength and firm up your muscles.

Weightlifting

Both free weights and machines provide the ideal method for isotonic exercise. Work with a personal trainer to develop a weightlifting routine tailored towards your individual goals.You don't need a great deal of equipment: a few dumbbells will work to exercise your entire body.

Body Resistance

If you don't have access to weights, then you can perform resistance exercises utilizing just the weight of your own body. These types of exercises include pull ups, push ups, crunches, squats, and lunges. If you'd like to find a well designed workout using body weight resistance, try the Slow Burn Fitness Revolution, which relies on slow movements to really increase intensity as you perform isotonic exercises.

Resistance Bands

Resistance bands serve as another space and equipment saver. These elastic bands typically have handles on the end, and you can perform a variety of exercises with them. If you'd like to increase the intensity and resistance, you can use two bands at once. Surgical tubing makes and extremely inexpensive resistance band, provided you create a safe way to hold onto the ends so that you don't accidentally let go.

Kettle Balls

The latest fitness fad, kettle balls provide an intense isotonic workout. These weighted balls with handles not only provide isotonic training, but can also provide a cardiovascular workout, as well as improving core strength, coordination, and balance.

Tips

Each of the above types of isotonic exercise can help you build muscular strength and endurance; however, with a few tips you can maximize your results.

  • Find an activity that you enjoy.
  • Exercise each muscle group at least two times per week.
  • Isotonic exercise strengthens muscles by creating small tears in them. As you rest after your workout, your muscles heal and grow stronger. Because of this, it is important that you get adequate rest between exercise sessions - at least 48 hours.
  • Always warm up before working out and cool down afterward.
  • Stretch at the end of every exercise session.
  • If you would like to combine isotonic exercise with cardiovascular exercise, consider circuit training.

Isotonic exercise is an important part of every fitness regimen. With so many ways to perform this important type of exercise, you're sure to find something you will enjoy.

Isotonic Exercise Methods