15 Minutes of Isometrics to Reset Your Body and Leave You Feeling Great

The more I've learned about isometric holds, the more I find myself programming them both in my own workouts and those of my athletes.

In a fitness world filled with elevation training masks, trendy weight loss teas and increasingly stupid viral gym challenges, I love that isometric holds are one of the hottest topics on the web right now.

Thanks to guys like Jake Tuura, Tommy John, Keith Baar and Cal Dietz putting out great info over the last decade or so, I've had my eyes opened to the power of isometric exercise.

There are a ton of different ways to utilize isometrics for better health and performance, and most people barely scratch the surface of their potential. The more I've learned about them, the more I find myself programming them both in my own workouts and those of my athletes.

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In a fitness world filled with elevation training masks, trendy weight loss teas and increasingly stupid viral gym challenges, I love that isometric holds are one of the hottest topics on the web right now.

Thanks to guys like Jake Tuura, Tommy John, Keith Baar and Cal Dietz putting out great info over the last decade or so, I've had my eyes opened to the power of isometric exercise.

There are a ton of different ways to utilize isometrics for better health and performance, and most people barely scratch the surface of their potential. The more I've learned about them, the more I find myself programming them both in my own workouts and those of my athletes.

This article deals with what can be dubbed as "extreme" isometrics, which refer to long-duration isometrics. You can read all about extreme isometrics here, but this article focuses on an isometric circuit I've found that helps my body feel absolutely amazing.

I usually do this circuit at least twice a day, and it has truly made a world of difference. My athletes echo these same results.

Before we get into the how, let's hit on a bit of the why.

We all have bones, muscle, tendons and ligaments.

Ligaments attach a bone to another bone. Tendons attach a muscle to a bone. Muscles contract and relax. Bones are moved as a result of all of the above.

As a result of the way we navigate our world, whether it be in sports or life, these structures endure stress. When the stress exceeds strength, injuries can occur.

One of the most effective ways to manage the stress and simultaneously build strength is with isometric exercises. Isometrics are very low impact, so there's little excuse not to use them.

The isometrics in the circuit below help athletes create ownership of many positions that transfer over to better athletic performance and heavier lifts in the weight room, all while actively making them feel better than they did before.

It sounds too good to be true, but here's the catch: to get the most out of this, you have to be willing to endure some pain. I've included a specific amount of time I'd like you to hold each of the below positions, and while it's perfectly fine if you need to take short breaks to reach a specific amount, the goal is to take as few breaks as possible.

This doesn't mean you persevere as your form breaks down, but if you quit as soon as a position starts burning, you're likely going to be taking a lot of breaks. Extreme isometrics are as much a mental challenge as they are a physical one, but again, I (and many others) have found the benefits to be extraordinary.

Go through this quick routine once, twice or even three times per day to help reduce pain, build up some isometric strength and hopefully take yourself to the next level of training.

Single-Leg Stand

Helpful Cues: For the foot on the ground, spread the toes and grip the floor. Put the opposite foot in dorsiflexion, pulling your toes towards your shin. Close your eyes to increase the difficulty.

Length: 90 seconds on each leg

Split Squat or Lunge Iso Hold

Helpful Cues: Pick either the Split Squat or the Lunge to perform on a given day. Keep the front shin vertical. Achieve a slight forward lean with the torso. For the Split Squat, you want each knee at 90 degrees. For the Lunge, you want less rear knee bend.

Length: 60 seconds on each side

Heel-Up Split Squat or Heel-Up Lunge Iso Hold

Helpful Cues: Pick either the Heel-Up Split Squat or Heel-Up Lunge Iso Hold to perform on a given day. Put your weight on the ball of your front foot, pulling your heel off the ground. Emphasize being up on your big toe to make it more difficult.

Length: 60 seconds on each side

Heel-Up Squat Iso

Helpful Cues: Keep your heels off the ground with your weight on the balls of your feet. It's perfectly fine and even expected for your knees to go beyond your toes.

Length: 30 seconds

Single-Leg RDL Iso

Helpful Cue: Pull yourself into the hinge using your hamstring and hips. Keep an active core by imaging you're pulling your belly button through your back.

Length: 60 seconds on each leg

Glute Bridge Iso

Helpful Cue: Drive into the ground. Active core.

Length: 60 seconds

Band Pull Apart Iso

Helpful Cues: Imagine you're pinching something between your scaps. "Hide" your ribcage by keeping it in a low, compact position.

Length: 60 seconds

Side Plank

Helpful Cues: Breathe in through the nose. Exhale softly through the mouth.

Length: 60 seconds on each side

Side Lunge Iso

Helpful Cues: On the bent leg, align your ankle/knee/hip. On the straight leg, reach away from your body.

Length: 60 seconds on each side

Plank

Helpful Cues: Push your elbows through the floor. Tuck your pelvis.

Length: 60 seconds

Photo Credit: InnerVisionPRO/iStock

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Topics: ISOMETRICS