Isometric Exercises: A Routine To Tone Your Body

Isometric exercises are an ideal option for body toning, and therefore, they're integrated into different training programs and routines. The foundation of these exercises lies in keeping your muscles tense without stretching them.
Isometric Exercises: A Routine To Tone Your Body

Last update: 21 February, 2020

Finding a body toning routine is one of the most common goals for people who exercise regularly. Isometric exercises are a good option and they’re especially helpful for people in the midst of a recovery process, due to injuries or surgical interventions.

What do isometric exercises consist of?

There are two common routines to work and build muscles. The first one is a part of what we know as, traditional exercises. Also called isotonic exercises, they seek a constant stretching and contraction of the muscles.

On the other hand, we have isometric exercises. Their execution involves the contraction of the muscular apparatus, without modifying its length. The goal is to generate muscular tension during a certain period of time without contracting or stretching movements.


This body toning routine manages to strengthen the musculature in a smooth and progressive way; without generating stress on the joints. Isometric exercises are ‘adapted’ to the physical condition of each person; although it’s always the motivation, discipline and perseverance of each athlete that ensures they achieve tangible results.

Although anyone can do these workouts, isometric workout routines are especially recommended within rehabilitation programs.

Physiotherapists and fitness specialists often recommend them to reduce the risk of an injury. At the same time, they’re an efficient method to combat low back pain and back pain in general.

Practicality and comfort

Although you can use dumbbells and other equipment, these exercises use your own body weight during their execution. This allows you to do a routine practically anywhere, including at home. On the other hand, workout sessions usually don’t take more than 20 minutes.

A toning routine

Yoga, as well as some variations of the Pilates routine, can be considered as isometric routines. In fact, most of the training under this modality, include traditional exercises.

Front plank

It’s the most common isometric exercise, frequently integrated into many training routines. Exercise experts define its execution as ‘quite simple’, although it’s a very demanding exercise.

You rest your forearms on the floor, keeping your elbows bent at a 90 degree angle. The other part of your body that serves you as a support, are your toes; your must hold your legs and core in a straight line position, parallel to the floor. You should maintain this position for as long as possible, until you come close to 50 seconds.

People with better physical condition can choose to lift their right leg slightly, and keep it in the air for 25 seconds. Then proceed to lift their left leg for the same period of time.

Side plank

These plank exercises offer different variants that are included in any body toning routine, practically without exceptions. The side plank is another classic exercise.

For its execution, you should support yourself with just one of your elbows , keeping it at a 90 degree angle. You must place your body on its side, and only the foot (that corresponds to the side you’re working out) should be on the floor. Your free arm should rest on your hip, in a typical jug position; your free leg should be in a straight line and on top of your other leg.

In an advanced level, you  raise the  foot (that isn’t serving as a support) slightly, until it is in a straight line aligned to your hip. Meanwhile, stretch your free arm as much as you can, pointing it towards the sky. In this exercise you should use the same timings that are used in the front plank exercise.

Isometric push-ups

Their execution is exactly the same as traditional push-ups. With the exception that the movement is interrupted or suspended midway through the exercise. When you’re flexing your elbows, you must stay in this position for as long as possible; the goal is to reach 30 seconds.

Your back should stay in a straight line, in relation to your hips and legs. Your core and face should be located as close to the ground as possible. Optionally, you can put your knees against the floor. The work that your upper body will do here–mainly in the pectoral muscles, will be equally efficient.

Final considerations

Squats, sit-ups or strides are other exercises that have isometric ‘versions‘. Within this body toning and strength-building routine, correct breathing also plays a vital role.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.