Monday, October 27, 2014

Isometric movements: A total body workout in your office chair!

Did you know that you're quite able to perform an awesome total body workout where you're sitting right now? A total body workout in your chair! It's all possible through the wonder of isometric exercises.

Isometric exercises:

What are isometric exercises? Isometric exercises are movements which create tension in your muscles, but without moving the skeletal system. Usually when we think of training we think of lifting weights, that is, picking up a weight and moving it with our muscles and bones. Weight training like this is not isometric training because there is movement of the skeletal system. 

When you push against a wall for instance, you're acting out an isometric movement. If you squeeze and clench your glutes (the butt muscles) you're performing an isometric gluteal exercise. These examples show that there is never any movement of the skeletal system, although your muscles were quite tensed and fatigued; you can feel them afterwards. In a nutshell therefore, isometric exercises are movements that tense and work the muscles without generating movement of the skeleton.

The magic of isometric exercises is that you can perform them literally anywhere. They are extremely convenient and versatile. Because there is no movement of the skeletal system, you do not need lots of space to be able to perform an isometric workout. That makes it possible to perform a workout even in your chair! But a chair is not the only place where a workout may be performed, you can literally get an isometric workout done while lying in bed, standing in the shower, driving in your car to work or even while standing in line at the supermarket or bank. The possibilities are truly endless and only limited by your imagination. But, because you can perform these exercises anywhere, you don't need to put aside a time period in which to do them. You can make these part of your ordinary activities and get your workout in at any time during the day!

In addition to being able to do an isometric exercise almost anywhere, isometric exercises will not make your muscles larger. Instead when performed together with a good nutritional program, they'll give the muscles you already have more shape and tone in addition to firmness and rigidity. This is good news for those not interested in building bulk and size and who would simply prefer to firm and tone up.

In this post I describe a great isometric workout plan that anyone can perform, anytime, anywhere. There are no limitations and you'd be able to firm up and tone your muscles nicely, while at the same burning lots of calories!

The isometric workout plan:

This isometric workout is developed to train the body from top to bottom. It does not take a long time to perform which means you can do this workout multiple times per session or per day. This program describes the movement from the neck downwards, however if you intend to perform this workout more than once, alternate between top-to-bottom and bottom-to-top. Never do the exercise the same way twice or more in a row.

Start off by exercising the muscles of the neck:

1. Press with your hand against the side of your head and press with your head against your hand. The key is to keep the tension in your neck muscles, so your hand is effectively only there to hold your head in one place while you try to press your head as hard as you can into your hand.

Do this for 10 seconds toward each side of your head. Left, right, front and back.

Follow up the neck exercises with shoulder exercises:

1. Stretch out one of you arms and lift it upwards, to the front of your body, with the palm of the hand facing downwards. With your other arm, press the outstretched arm downwards. The tension should be in the shoulder muscles of the arm you're lifting up. Now press upwards with the outstretched arm as hard as you can, while holding it in place with the other arm. You other arm should not be tensed too much and should only hold the outstretched arm (the one you're lifting up) in place.

Hold the movement for 10 seconds and then switch it over to the other side.

If you're sitting at a sturdy desk, press upwards with your outstretched arm against the underside of the desk for the same effect. Keep a slight bend in your elbow to ease the strain on your joints.

Alternatively, if you find yourself standing against a wall, face the wall and press with your fist against the wall in such a manner as if you wanted to lift your arm upwards in front of you.

For added movement, twist your body to the side and repeat the exercise, although this time lifting your arm up towards the side of your body.

2. After that, pull your shoulders backwards and try to make the small of your back as small as possible. At maximum tension, hold the pose for 10 seconds, then push your shoulders forwards as far as you can, without hunching you back. Again, hold the pose for 10 seconds at maximum tension. Finally lift the shoulders upwards in a shrugging motion and hold at the top for 10 seconds.

After shoulders, move on the the muscles of the back:

1. Put your hands behind your head and interlock your fingers. Your elbows should be as wide apart to your sides as possible. Now try to bring your elbows backwards as far as possible, while your hands remain interlocked behind your head. At the same time as you try to move your elbows as far backwards as possible, attempt to pull your hands apart. You should not actually pull them apart, your interlocked fingers should keep your hands from slipping. At the point of maximum tension, hold the pose for 10 seconds and then release.

Follow up the back movement with chest exercises:

1. On a level plane in front of your body, put your hands together while bending the elbows. It should be as if you're trying to squeeze the juice from a lemon with the palms of you hands. Now push your hands together as hard as you can. At maximum tension, hold the movement for 10 seconds. After that, lower your hands into your lap and repeat the movement. Again, imagine you're squeezing a lemon between your hands. Hold for 10 seconds and then put your hands above your head. Again, squeeze together as hard as you can and hold for 10 seconds. 

These three isometric chest presses are extremely good for firming up the muscles of the chest as well as preventing breast tissue from sagging. Perform these regularly to stay pert and perky! 

Click here to see exactly how to perform an isometric chest squeeze.

The chest is followed by exercises for the abs:

1. While sitting perfectly straight, draw your lungs full of air. As you exhale clench and draw in your abdominal muscles as far as you can. It should almost be as if you're trying to touch your abs to your spine. This movement is also known as ab vacuums. At maximum contraction, hold for 10 seconds and then release.

From the abs move downwards to exercises for the legs:

1. With your hands push against the sides of your thighs. With your thighs, push outwards as hard as you can. Once again, you should only use your hands to provide a resistance to your leg muscles. The actual pushing should be performed by your legs. Push outwards with your legs against you hands and at maximum contraction, hold the movement for 10 seconds before releasing.

Once again, if you're sitting at a sturdy desk, or in a chair with sturdy sides, you can push outwards with your legs against the sides of the chair or against the legs of the desk. This may ease the strain on your arms and shoulders. Just be careful not to break your desk!

2. Repeat the same exercise but this time put your hands on the inside of your legs and push with your legs inwards. You could also use a pillow or a basketball or similar item between your legs and push hard against that. Hold the movement for 10 seconds and then release again.

3. Move your chair somewhat away from your desk. Then put your feet together and lift them until you legs are horizontal with the floor. You should be able to feel tension in your upper leg muscles. At the top of the movement, at maximum upper leg contraction, flex your muscles as hard as you can and hold the movement for 10 seconds, then release.

4. Sitting perfectly straight in your chair, clench the muscles of your backside (your glutes) as hard as you can. Imagine you're trying to bend a penny between your cheeks. While you're doing this, also tighten the pelvic floor muscles and the abs. It should feel like you're trying to squeeze off the need to go to the bathroom. Hold this contraction for 10 seconds then release. 

Squeezing the glutes like this firms and tones the backside which will give you a really nice round little booty. Tightening the pelvic floor muscles also helps to strengthen the muscles in the genital areas. For both man and woman, this may help to improve sex life tremendously.

5. Finally, with your feet put together and flat on the ground, lift your legs up on to your toes. At maximum lift, really flex the muscles of your calves and hold that position for 10 seconds before relaxing again. You should feel a nice warm tension in your calf muscles.

Follow up your isometric workout with some cardio:

I always recommend that everyone attempt to do some low intensity cardio after a workout. If you're strapped for time and cannot get to a gym or maybe go for a jog outside, don't fret too much. You can get great cardio workouts in just by tweaking the way in which you take on the day. These examples will show you how:

1. Walk to work or bike to work if you can.
2. Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.
3. Do your job standing and minimize sitting time behind the desk.
4. Try to get a cordless phone, or a mobile phone and then take all you calls standing. Every time the phone rings, stand up before answering the phone. If you need to take a note and need to sit down, get back up immediately after the note has been taken down and walk around the office.
5. Go for a walk during lunch time.
6. Attempt to live an active lifestyle while not busy at work.

As long as you can keep yourself busy and moving, your heart will keep on pumping and your lungs will keep on breathing deep. This keeps your cardiovascular system going and continues to burn more and more calories during the day.

An isometric workout like the one described above is a great way to get your workouts done especially if you have hectic busy days. You could potentially perform your first workout in the shower in the mornings, and then another on your way to work. Then perhaps another during lunchtime or while mindlessly replying to the tons of emails you get everyday. Nothing stops you from doing another one on you way back home again and finally, you could end the day by doing one last workout in the shower, or while running your bathwater. You could even perform one of these workouts while lying in bed in the evenings! That's up to six mini isometric workouts per day! If you keep up a schedule like this, you'll definitely start to notice more firmness, shape and tone to your muscles and if you participate in a healthy nutrition program as well, you should soon start to see the pounds dropping like ice cream melting in the hot sun.

Fortunately, now that you've read this post, nothing stands in your way of getting your workout in anymore. You've seen just how easy it is to firm and tone your muscles and to burn more calories. Even just one quick 5 minute session will do wonders for your body. Now that you're armed with the right stuff, you know it is definitely possible to perform a total body workout in the comfort of your chair!

Have you tried and tested this workout? How do you find it? Is it easy and convenient? Can you see definite improvements? Are there any additions or improvements you'd like to make? All comments are appreciated. Tell us if you find this a good workout and if it works for you or not. 

Until next time friends, STAY TRUE AND TRAIN HARD!


  1. Really Isometric exercises is very useful and it plays very vital role in our physical fitness.
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    1. I totally agree! It is extremely important to stay healthy and fit in today's age and an isometric workout is an ideal way to get some training done when you're really strapped for time. It can be done anywhere and everywhere!