When we say contraction of a muscle, it is understandable that muscle shortening takes place. This is because, contraction is associated with generation of force in a simultaneous manner. Based on the different activation modes of muscles, there are primarily four contraction types―concentric contraction (active shortening of muscle length), eccentric contraction (active lengthening of muscle length), isometric contraction (maintain fixed muscle length), and passive stretch (inactive lengthening of muscle length).
Isometric contraction refers to the case of strength training, in which the muscles contract, but do not change their length. In other terms, the muscles retain a constant length, and also, the joint angle remains unchanged in this physical exercise. The name isometric comes from the words 'iso', meaning equal, and 'metric', meaning distance. In contrary to other dynamic muscle contractions that involve change in position, this contraction is performed in a static position.
Advantages of Isometric Contraction Exercises
Everyday, we indulge in performing isometric contractions as a part of our day-to-day activities. Simple examples of this is carrying a bag of vegetables in front of you, griping an object (tennis racket) and lifting an immovable object. Over here, the muscles of the arm are activated, but the arm itself is not changing its position. Another example is pushing up yourself against the wall. Besides the regular activities, this exercise can be incorporated as a part of the routine exercise program.
With the help of an isometric workout, you can do full body and flat belly exercises. Its main advantages are maximal muscular contraction and quick workout. According to fitness experts, this strength training is the best activity for people who have no time for exercising or less inclination towards workout routine. Exercises lasting for 7 - 10 seconds at a time are sufficient to activate a group of muscles. When the resistance or weight is increased gradually, your muscle will become more stronger.
Needless to say, isometric muscle contraction can be done without any specific exercise equipment. Regular performing of isometric contraction helps in increasing the strength of the localized joints and muscles, where the physical activity has been concentrated. Hence, in contrary to dynamic contractions that increase the strength in a wide body area, isometric contraction is effective for maximum strengthening of a particular joint. these exercises are ideal for gymnasts and bodybuilders, while they have negligible effects in terms of losing weight.
In spite of the several health, this type of strength training exercise is not recommended for people who have a medical history of heart or blood circulation problems. As per studies conducted, it is found that this muscle movement leads to significant increase in blood pressure. To be more precise, isometric contraction and blood pressure are negatively related to each other. Thus, one should make sure to get a medical checkup done and take approval from the physician before indulging in isometric contraction exercises.