The 7 Best Isometric Exercises for a Full-Body Workout

You don’t need to go all fast and furious to improve your overall strength and fitness level. In fact, it’s possible to perform a super effective strength workout at home with minimal equipment and without moving a muscle:

Enter Isometric Training.

Also known as static training, this is a training method where the muscles tense up, but don’t actually move. In my experience, isometric training is an underrated and underused training method and when used right, it can help you build strength and endurance in all major muscles with minimum impact.

I have already shared a post about isometric training. In that post, I outlined the many benefits that isometric training has to offer, along with some of the best isometric leg exercises you can do to improve running endurance and speed without putting too much stress on your body.

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Image Credit – Barney Moss via Flickr

Nonetheless, today I decided to share with you a full body routine that targets every muscle group in your body, and this is an ideal workout if you are looking to improve muscular strength and endurance not just in the legs, but in the entire body.

Isometric Training Benefits

Isometric training is perfect for runners. This type of training is low impact, builds strength and endurance, convenient, challenging, and can be done almost anywhere, anytime. Plus, they are also great for improving coordination, balance and proprioception, which is your body’s ability to sense its position, motion, and equilibrium in space.

In other words, isometric training can surely help you run faster and prevent major running injuries.

For more on the benefits of iso training, check my previous post here.

The 7 Best Isometric Exercises for a Full-Body Workout

The routine below will help fire up your core, glutes, and almost every other major muscle group in your body. In addition, if you do this on a regular basis, then you will definitely improve your running posture, reduce back pain and bulletproof your body against overuse running injury.

Perform each of the following exercises in order, taking 30 seconds of rest between each move to complete one circuit. Repeat the whole circuit for a total of three to four times, resting for 30 seconds to one minute between each circuit.

1. Static Lunge

Muscles targeted: Quadriceps, glutes and calves.

Proper Form:

Stand feet hip-width apart, then step forward your right foot two to three feet in front of you. Make sure to keep your hands on your hips, back flat, chest up, the entire time.

Next, while engaging your core, bend your knees and lower your body until both knees are bent at a 90-degree angle, slowly lower your left knee to within an inch of the ground, then hold the position for 30 seconds to one minute.

Last up, return to starting position, and switch sides to complete one set.

2. Isometric Push-up

Targeted muscles: Chest, biceps and back.

Proper Form:

Assume a proper push-up position with back straight, hands aligned with your chest with the fingers pointing straight forward. Make sure your legs are straight and body forming a straight line from head to ankles.

Next, bend your elbows and lower down until your chest is about two to three inches off the floor. Hold the position for 30 seconds to one minute, then push back up to starting position.

3. Superman

Muscles Targeted: The core and lower back.

Proper Form:

Begin by laying face down on your stomach, then extend your legs and arms as far forward and as far back you can. Make sure to keep your neck and head in a neutral position.

Next, to perform the superman, simultaneously lift your arms and your legs slowly off the floor, forming an elongated “U” shape with your body, then hold the position for 20 to 30 seconds.

For more challenge, try squeezing your lower back and/or holding a set of light dumbbell in each hand.

4. Glute Bridge

Muscles targeted: Core, glutes and lower back.

Proper Form:

Lie down on your back on the floor with knees bent and feet flat on the floor.

Next, lift your hips up so your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Hold the position for 30 second to one minute, then slowly lower your body to starting position.

For more challenge, try lifting one leg off the floor, then extending it up toward the ceiling.

5. Static Sumo Squat

Muscles targeted: Glutes, Hip Adductors, quads, and calves.

Proper Form:

Begin standing with your feet wide apart, back flat and toes slightly turned out.

Next, while keeping your back straight and heels on the ground, bend your knees and squat down until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Then, press your forearms or elbows against the inside of your knees then hold the position for 30 seconds to one full minute.

Last up, press back up to starting position, then move to the next exercise.

For more challenge, hold a medicine ball or a weight plate in front of your chest instead of pressing your arms against the inside of the knees.

6. Isometric Pull-ups

Muscles Engaged: Biceps and lats.

Proper Form:

Begin by gripping the pull-up bar with a palms facing away from your body, or what’s knows as a pronated grip.

Next, perform the pull up as you normally would, but once your chin touches the bar height, hold yourself there for 20 to 30 seconds. Hold it for more once you get used to the exercise.

Last up, lower slowly to the floor, and repeat the whole circuit two to three times.

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Featured Image Credit –
Paul Carron via Flickr

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