The term ‘isotonic’ is used with reference to muscle contraction. Isotonic exercises are exercises wherein a constant or variable outside force is applied on a muscle, thereby causing it to shorten or lengthen. This principle is used for increasing muscular strength and endurance. This article will help you understand the types and benefits of this exercise.
Exercises can be categorized into aerobic and anaerobic exercises respectively. While the former includes low intensity activities such as walking, long-distance cycling, etc., wherein the body’s demands for oxygen can be fulfilled by breathing in oxygen from the air, the latter includes high-intensity, short-lasting exercises such as weightlifting, sprinting, jumping, etc., wherein energy sources in the muscles are used, as the body’s demand for oxygen is higher than the available oxygen supply. Anaerobic exercises can further be categorized into isotonic and isometric exercises.
The difference between isotonic and isometric exercises is that the former involves muscle contraction with movement of joints, whereas the latter involves muscle contraction without movement of joints. In simple words, isotonic workouts involve lifting weights wherein the joints move through several positions that are controlled by the user, whereas isometric workouts involve lifting and holding the weights in position. So, the joint remains stationary in case of an isometric exercise.
Ninety per cent of gym workouts are isotonic. The word ‘isotonic’ is derived from the Greek words ‘iso’- which means equal and ‘tonus’- which means tone; i.e., the word implies maintaining equal muscle tone. When you flex your biceps, it is isotonic contraction. It is said that in human beings, apart from the normal movements, like sitting, standing, etc., all other movements are isotonic.
Types of Isotonic Exercise
These exercises can be differentiated on the basis of contractions. There are mainly two types: concentric and eccentric. In a concentric contraction, the tension on the muscle is so high that it shortens. Concentric contractions are used in all types of exercises. In eccentric contractions, the force exerted is greater than muscle strength, hence the muscle lengthens. Though eccentric contractions greatly improve muscle strength, these can also lead to muscle soreness and injury.
Lifting a weight is considered a concentric contraction, whereas lowering of the weight is an eccentric contraction. Sit-ups, push-ups, bicep curls, and tricep curls done using free weights like dumbbells or fixed or heavy weights like barbells are examples of such contractions. The exercises can involve very common activities like walking, running, and skating.
- A very important benefit of exercise is having stronger, flexible muscles and stronger bones.
- It helps in toning all muscle groups.
- Apart from improving muscle mass and bone strength, it also helps to enhance metabolism of the body.
- These exercises also help maintain body weight.
- This type of workout over a period of time helps in attaining a well-toned physique.
- These exercises put more strain on a muscle, which it is not used to. These muscle contractions lead to the growth of proteins in each cell of the muscle.
- These physical exertions are effective for people who want to gain weight.
- These exercises are extremely beneficial for those affected by arthritis.
- These exercises are an important part of physiotherapy and rehabilitation.
- They help improve coordination and mobilize joints.
If you are suffering from any health problems, start the exercises under the able guidance of a trainer. Proper warm-up is necessary before all workouts, or it may lead to muscle spasms. Exercise according to your capability, and avoid strenuous workouts. Proper cool down exercises will also help reduce muscle stiffness and muscle spasms. Along with these exercises, proper rest is also necessary. Whether you are performing isotonic exercises, or any other type of exercise, you must remember that your workout must be proper and regular. It will help you stay fit, both physically and mentally.
Disclaimer: This FitnessVigil article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice.