• Health and Fitness Magazine Feature: What Are Isometrics?

    By The W10 Team

    What are isometrics, isometrics, isometric exercises, plankIn the second of a three- part focus on key training methods, Jean-Claude talks about tensing your muscles.
    Isometric exercises are strength- building moves where you create tension, or contract your muscles, without the angle of the joints changing (for example when you do a plank). Famed strongman Alexander Zass credited much of his great strength to his isometric training as a prisoner during World War I. He would push on the bars and chains that held him captive and quickly saw benefits. He went on to promote this method of training through his mail-order courses. Interested?


    Do these movements and you’ll strengthen and stabilise your body and improve your form for more dynamic movements, burning calories along the way. If you’re weak in a certain muscle group, or recovering from an injury, they can strengthen you without the wear and tear inflicted on joints from dynamic exercises, which also means you can train more often to bring these areas up to speed. You can also easily adjust the intensity and duration of the hold to suit any level of exerciser.


    Isometric holds can help new exercises reinforce positions and improve body awareness. They are also fantastic for getting over a sticking point in a certain exercise. Do you lose form or fail at one point in a certain movement? Take chin-ups for example, where there are three common sticking points: at the top, middle and bottom. Try holding yourself, with correct form, in each position for 10 seconds, during your weekly workouts, for six to eight weeks, and you’ll notice the movement becomes much more fluid and you’re able to do more reps.

    You can also add isometrics into your usual dynamic movements to strengthen and reinforce the effects. Add a thirty- second hold at the top of your bent-over row for example, pulling your shoulder blades together, or pause at the bottom of your squat for the count of three. This helps reinforce technique, ensures you use the correct muscles and, in turn, helps to improve your posture.


    You have to think about actively squeezing all of the muscles involved in keeping you in the position for it to work properly. So in a tall plank, for example (one of the best isometrics as it uses multiple muscle groups and strengthens your core) you should be squeezing your thighs and glutes, pulling your shoulder blades together and engaging your abdominals.

    Three Top Isometrics Exercises:


    Grip a chin-up bar tightly in an overhand position, with your hands just wider than shoulder width. Keep your abs engaged – think about ‘tucking your ribs in’. Squeeze your glutes too, and hold that position for as long as you can. Start with 4 x 15-second holds and work up to a minute and a half.


    Half kneel on the floor, one leg bent out in front of you, so that you have a 90° angle at both knees. Engage your glutes and abs,by tucking your bottom under, before pushing into both feet, so that your back knee is an inch or so from the floor. Hold this for 15-30 seconds, before returning to the start position. Repeat four to six times.


    Start at the top of a push-up position, arms and legs fully extended, palms under your shoulders and forearms vertical. Squeeze your abs, glutes and thighs and hold that position for as long as you can, keeping your torso parallel to the floor. Start with 4 x 15-second holds and work up to two minutes.


You Might Also Like

Quick Browse
    • Hydration how much water should I drink

      Water: How much should you drink a day?


      A bit like nutrition, we’ve heard it all before when it comes to the importance of hydration, but it keeps being highlighted for very good reason – hydration is key for all of us (and sometimes it's good to be reminded of this) Hydration plays a pivotal role in both fat loss and muscle gain,

      Read More
    • 6 common ways to get injured in the gym

      Six Most Common Causes Of Gym Injuries


      Unless you subscribe to the fantasyland of diet pills and six pack shortcuts, then consistency, enjoyment and effectiveness are going to be the three pillars your exercise programme needs for it to be successful. Injury however, is a sure fire way to screw up all three of these in one foul swoop. It doesn't have

      Read More
    • Health and fitness magazine feature strong in 6 moves

      Strong in 6 moves | Health And Fitness Magazine Feature


      In the first of a new series of workouts from top PT's, trainer Amy Darch offers a time-saving, total-body workout Do you seem to spend hours in the gym and still not see the benefits? You need to take your workout back to basics with a more targeted approach. Enter Amy Darch, trainer at London’s

      Read More
    • Is W10 the right gym for you

      Is W10 the right gym for you?


      We often get asked why W10 is different to other gyms. Our intention is not to blow our own trumpet here or to rubbish other gyms, that’s not how we roll, but we do want to offer a little insight in to what we do. You can decide for yourself if it sounds “different” to

      Read More
    • W10 Ibiza training camp

      W10 5-day fitness retreat in Ibiza


      Thank you to everyone who came along to our 5-day fitness retreat in Ibiza last month, what an amazing trip with a great bunch of people.   This was our last "adventure club" of the year but if you missed out this time, don't worry, there will be many more...such as our Mount Kilimanjaro adventure

      Read More
    • Getting your first dead hang chin up

      Why you should aim to get your first strict chin up


        There are many benefits of chin ups (done properly). We could go on about the importance of this exercise all day, but we’re going to give you the top 5 benefits and also a few tips on how to progress up to them. Working towards getting your first strict, dead hang chin up is

      Read More

Start Your 30 Day Trial Today

If you’re ready to make a change, you can start now. Register online and book your first session today.

Start Today

Set up in 2009 by founder Jean-Claude Vacassin (a regular health and fitness contributor to the Daily Telegraph) the W10 Performance gym is located in West London at 202-208 Kensal Road, London W10 5BN. W10’s Gym memberships offer personal training, nutrition advice, yoga, boxing, HITT and other functional fitness classes. They also have physio and sports massage practitioners onsite. They are proud to offer a high level of fitness to residents and local workers in Kensal Rise, Kensal Green, Queens Park, Willesden, Kilburn, Harlesden, Ladbroke Grove, Notting Hill, Kensington and Westbourne Park areas.


Find us The Basement, 202-208 Kensal Road, London W10 5BN

Call us on 020 3489 5428