• 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
    • Eating healthy not losing weight

      Working out, eating well but not losing weight?


      Here’s why. So we’re well into the New Year now, and after December’s festivities you’re back into the swing of things with your training and healthy eating. You’ve done the dreaded weigh in and calculated your BMR (basal metabolic rate - the amount of calories your body needs to function at rest). From this you’ve

      Read More
    • How to get the most out of your sleep for weight loss

      7 things you can do to get the most out of your sleep


      Unless you’ve been living in a cave (in which case you wouldn’t be reading this), you’ll know that sleep is important. Most of us are probably guilty of not getting enough shut-eye and although it will vary from person to person on how much sleep we require (for most it’s 8 hours) we all need

      Read More
    • train around Lower back pain

      How To Train Around Lower Back Pain


      “In the United Kingdom, low back pain was identified as the most common cause of disability in young adults: with more than 100 million work days lost per year.” – World Health Organisation The first thing we want to point out here is that we are absolutely not trying to advise people on how to

      Read More
    • Summer bodies made in winter

      Telegraph Feature: Summer bodies are made in the winter


      "Don't save your beach-body programme for the six-week summer bootcamp dash, make it easy on yourself and start now" says our fitness blogger, W10 Founder - Jean-Claude Vacassin. It might seem a little premature to be talking about summer bodies in early January, what with the cold and dark mornings and the baggy jumper season

      Read More
    • Superfoods inhibit fat loss goals

      Are superfoods actually inhibiting your fat loss goals?


      The superfood craze: why “super” foods may not always be the best choice. Superfoods are buzzwords in health circles right now. From Buddha bowls, to raw energy balls to goji berries, it seems that everyone is jumping on the health food train. With their 100% natural, whole food tag line they must be super, right?

      Read More
    • W10 5-day fitness retreat: Ibiza 2018


      Event: Training Places - Ibiza Date: Saturday 1st September 2018 - Friday 6th September 2018 https://youtu.be/Yb2_WydS-8w Taking W10 Fitness to new places... After an incredible trip to Ibiza earlier this year, we’re excited to announce that we are going to be running the fitness retreat again in September 2018. Set on the hills of s’Estanyol near

      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