Drop and give me twenty.
You know what I’m talking about, even without any context beyond just those five words. It’s twenty Push-ups. Those are an Isotonic Exercise, which is something you probably did not know.
The words “iso” and “tonic” come from the Greek words that mean “same” and “tension”. A method of muscle exercise, Isotonic Exercise is when the muscle contracts as it shortens against the load it’s bearing. That’s in contrast to Isometric Exercise, which happen when muscles contract without the parts of the body that are involved moving at all. The idea is that the tension remains the same throughout the exercise.
If that sounds complicated, it’s not. Most of the exercises that you’re familiar with are isotonic. You’re moving either an external weight or using just the weight of your body to go through a range with deliberateness. You’re choosing this motion thoughtfully.
Do What You’re Doing
Keep on doing what you’re probably already doing, and you’ll likely be doing Isotonic Exercise. It’s not some exotic exercise strangeness that you’ve never heard of, even if you’ve never heard of the name before. Isotonic Exercises include most of the resistance style movements that are the staple of most exercise routines.
Here are a few examples of Isotonic Exercises.
- Dumbbell Presses
- Bench Presses
One reason that a lot of these exercises are so popular is because they don’t usually require a lot of special training. Who taught you what a Push-up was? Or a Pull-up? Probably not anyone that you can remember, they’re that ubiquitous. You don’t need any special equipment to do most of these exercises, definitely not anything you won’t find at the average gym or fitness center. They’re natural, easy.
The trick then is to make sure that you’re doing them right. Developing proper technique, even with old standby exercises that you feel like you know how to do, will help to prevent injuries and to improve results.
Why Isotonic Exercises are Awesome
Remember, nine out of ten of the exercises you’re doing in the gym anyway are Isotonic Exercises. All of the reasons that those exercises are so great are the same reasons that Isotonic Exercises are so great, because they’re the same thing!
Most of the movements that you do throughout your daily life are isotonic. When you pick up a bag of groceries or push a shopping cart, those are isotonic movements. Carry some laundry up the stairs or squat down to pick up your dropped phone, all isotonic. These are integrated into our lives, because they’re what we need our muscles for in our everyday lives.
These exercises are important for overall fitness because they do imitate movements that you need to do in your daily life. Stronger, more flexible muscles are a major benefit of Isotonic Exercise. Stronger bones are a great benefit too. Metabolism gets a boost with Isotonic Exercise, which then helps to maintain a healthy bodyweight. More Isotonic Exercise equates to larger muscle mass overall, as well as improving coordination and joint ease. The muscle contractions that come with isotonic exercises lead to growth of each individual muscle cell.
Over time, doing Isotonic Exercises will help to sculpt the body into the physique that you’re after. It’s all about control and consistency!