While performing exercises as well as daily activities, our body muscles execute various movements. The muscles behave differently depending upon the stress or relaxation and can lengthen, shorten or even stay in the same position depending upon the pressure exerted. Contraction means the muscles shorten when a force is exerted. Muscles can endure four different types of contractions, Concentric, Eccentric, Isometric, Isotonic. These muscles are categorized depending upon their response when the force is exerted.
Isometric training exercises are mainly used during the strength training programs and are associated with those exercises where no joint or muscle movement is visibly seen and no range of motion is executed. This is so because during isometric contraction, muscles do not change their length and move when force is exerted. So, isometric contraction can be expressed as the contraction during which muscles do exert force but there is no visible change in their length. In other words, in isometric contraction muscles are activated but are held at the same length constantly. The length of muscle while contracting decides the force to be generated while an isometric contraction is taking place. At the optimum length of the muscle, maximal isometric tension (Po) is created and at this instance the length of sacromeres of muscles are parallel to the length-tension curve.
The best examples of isometric contraction are yoga and breathing exercises. Apart from those, some are given here to make you clearly understand the process of isometric contraction in muscles:
The isometric contraction exercises are very beneficial in increasing flexibility and also body strength. The isometric exercises can be done with great ease by targeting a particular muscle area or group of muscles by holding them in particular pose for certain period. This increases the endurance of those muscles and makes them more flexible to pressures and stimuli.
Isometric contraction exercises are mainly used in Yoga and martial arts. In these two forms of exercises and body training, holding muscles in particular pose is a safe and very effective way for achieving balance as well as flexibility. The strength training exercises can make isometrics result in more stabilization and also enhance your endurance capabilities. For example when you hold an object over your head, your arm and back muscles are engaged in the isometric contraction and if you slowly increase the time, their capacity to hold the object for longer time will increase.
Before opting for isometric exercises, the trainer should target on various muscles and never concentrate on some selective poses so that the overall flexibility of muscles is achieved. Isometrics must be a blend of moving or dynamic exercises so that the joints and muscles both are fully activated. The basic principles of exercises like warming up, starting slowly etc. should be followed here as well.