Do you use isometric exercises for abs in your training routine? If you don’t then it would be a good idea to start including these exercises in your workout because they are great when you want to strengthen your abdominal muscles and get nice muscle definition. Isometric contractions often target muscles fibers which are often neglected in dynamic exercises, so you need them if you want a well-shaped abdomen.
Isometric exercises are a type of strength or resistance training where the muscle length and the joint angle don’t change during contractions. The muscle is contracted, but its length does not change at all while force is exerted. Try pushing against a wall or lifting an immovable weight: that is an isometric contraction.
This type of exercise is great if you want to improve core stabilization, it activates the deeper muscles that are responsible for keeping the lower back and spine stable and well supported, which is essential when you train for a six pack. If you have limited time or space, isometric exercises will fit you like a glove because they can be performed in 15 minutes, at home or at the office.
Main principles of isometric exercises:
- Movements are made with maximum muscle tension
- Concentrate all your attention on the working muscle
- Observe proper breathing while exercising; never hold your breath during an exercise
- Duration is important, keep that muscle tensed for at least 10 seconds
Bearing in mind the principles mentioned above, here are the most effective isometric exercises you should include in your workout routine to get more definition for your abdomen.
Lie on your side making sure that your ankles, hips, shoulders and head are in a straight line. Lean on one elbow which should be right below your shoulders – this will slightly bend you at the hips. Your forearm should be on the ground, perpendicular to your body. Strengthen your body like a plank and hold this position while pulling your bellybutton towards the spine for 20 to 30 seconds. Relax and repeat on the other side.
This exercise works both your abs and your back muscles. Balance on your elbows and knees keeping your spine in a straight line. Hold this position without moving for 20 to 30 seconds. Pull your bellybutton towards your spine. After you master this position and think you can move up to something more challenging move to the full plank.
Isometric stomach flattener
Sit up straight in your chair and suck in your stomach as much as you can. Tense your stomach hard as if preparing for a punch. Breathe out slowly making a hissing sound and as you breathe out crunch your abs rotating the pelvis upwards and rib cage inwards. Breathe out all the way and then relax.
Stand upright, with your hands on your hips and exhale all the air from your lungs. Expand your chest while pulling your belly button towards the spine and hold for 20 to 30 seconds then repeat.
As you can see, you don’t need any special equipment or machines for isometric exercises and you can do some of them anywhere if you have 30 seconds to spare. Remember the key is holding the position and pulling the belly button towards the spine; when you do this you engage and train the deepest abdominal muscles that support your spine.
You can also use isometric contractions to train these deep muscles. This means you contract a muscle without moving the joint. You can use isometric contraction during your regular abs routine. Let’s say you’re doing a push-up.while you are in the regular starting position tense all the muscles in your body and keeping that tension lower yourself down then push-up with your chest muscles. Regular abs exercises performed with isometric contractions are more powerful and build the muscle faster.
ATTENTION: If you have a history of high blood pressure, suffer from a heart condition or are pregnant consult your doctor before you do any isometric exercise because this type of exercise generates rises in blood pressure and can be dangerous for your health.
It is important to do isometric exercises for abs as they enhance core stability, build stronger muscle fiber and help support a good posture. You can use exercises designed especially for this purpose or you can incorporate isometric contraction in other abs exercises.