Over the last 12 months I’ve really gotten fond of using isometric exercises and have learned to appreciate the benefit of them in recovering from an injury. They are one of the easiest exercise you can do.
So what is an isometric exercise?
It is when the muscle contracts but no movement occurs in the joint. So just like in the title picture, the man is contracting his bicep but is not moving his arm.
It’s what body builders do all the time when they are bronzed and oiled up. (See Arnie below in his prime)
So what value have they got in reducing pain and recovering from injury?
……Lots of value.
A lot of us may already know that exercise has and analgesic effect and by exercising you can help to reduce pain.
Isometrics are similar and a simple exercise like a a quad isometric has been shown to reduce knee pain in numerous studies.
They are also very safe to do after an acute injury when your body is not ready to move the injured area yet. An isometric contraction of the muscle is a great way of preventing loss of muscle tone and also getting blood circulating through the area, which will help speed up the healing process.
But where I have found a great use for them in my clinic is in reducing muscle tension.
Let me explain……
When someone comes to me with excessive tone in all of their muscle (for example a very ‘tight’ quad) there are two things I can do to try and reduce that tone.
Firstly, I can get my forearm and do some deep massage along the muscle, which is going to hurt the client a lot, get them to tighten up as they are in a lot of discomfort and will possibly not change the tone in the muscle.
Or secondly, I can get them to perform a low level isometric in a safe environment, while nasal breathing which will influence the central nervous system, which will affect the muscle spindles and reduce the tone and sensitivity and tone in the muscle.
This will be nicer for both the client and for me as I don’t have to use excessive force on my own body.
So don’t always think that when you go to a therapist with an injury that its going to involve brute force and a “no pain no gain” attitude.
Certainly this is the approach I’ve received before when going for treatments myself and also would have used when I was learning and in the early part of my career.
There are much better ways that will actually get better and longer lasting results and isometrics are one of them.
Thanks for reading
P.s If you are struggling with an injury and have tried a few therapists already with no joy then why not give me a call on 089 210 2586 or drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org explaining your problem.
It won’t cost you anything and I can give you help and advice over the phone or by email.