Editor’s Note: An isometric exercise is a form of exercise that strengthens a muscle without changing its length. This exercise is great for weight loss and can also be performed in a short amount of time. You can take one minute every day to exercise the muscles on the whole body including the chest muscles, back muscles, abdominal muscles, and thigh muscles.
For those who are unwilling to attend sports clubs or gyms, and those who have bought fitness equipment but failed to continue using it, we recommend “isometric exercise training,” a simple yet efficient exercise that can strengthen muscles.
Isometric exercise training was derived from the training theory established by German physiologists in the 1970s. The term “isometric” combines “iso,” which means “equal,” and “metric,” which means “length.” Therefore, isometric exercise is also known as “equal-length muscle contraction exercise.”
During the exercise, the length of the muscles and the angles of the joint do not change, while effort is made to contract the muscles. As one does not move the joints, isometric exercise can be performed in a crowded subway car or bus, in the economy class of an airplane, and in other limited spaces. As one holds the contraction for a long duration, this exercise is particularly suitable for weight loss.
The traditional way of exercising muscles is concentric contraction, such as in the flexion and extension movements with dumbbells. Concentric contraction increases the load on the muscles and tendons due to increased momentum, potentially leading to muscle and tendon injuries. With isometric contraction, however, one does not need to worry about the speed of the movement. It is a safe training method with excellent outcomes.
The key is that when you are performing isometric exercise by doing pushing and pulling motions, to also be aware of the muscle groups that are being worked on. Each movement typically lasts for 7 to 10 seconds. After 5 to 6 seconds of exertion, the muscles will have reached their maximum strengths, and as one holds the exertion for a few more seconds, muscle strengths will start to increase. When training, it is recommended that one exerts at least 60% of one’s energy, breathe normally, and stay focused.
The 1-Minute Workout
Exercise 1: Tighten your wrists, chest, back, and abdomen, to strengthen the muscles on the upper body (7 seconds). Clasp the fingers of both hands in front of your chest, and pull them to the left and right. The key is to keep your wrists straight. You can achieve better outcomes by being aware of the muscle groups you would like to work on, and train them accordingly.
Exercise 2: Tighten the neck, back and abdomen (7 seconds). Clasp the fingers of both hands behind your head, and pull them to the left and right. To prevent your body from leaning forward, try to keep your head up. The same posture will be used in the next 3 exercises (3, 4, and 5).
Exercise 3: Strengthen the muscles of the abdomen to tighten the waist (7 seconds). Clasp the fingers of both hands behind your head, maintain the standing position, and strengthen your abdominal muscles. You can achieve better outcomes by being aware of the muscle groups you would like to work on, and train them accordingly.
Exercise 4: Strengthen the muscles of the abdomen, thighs, and lower limbs, to tighten the waist, buttocks, and calves (7 seconds). Clasp the fingers of both hands behind your head, maintain the standing position while tightening both feet. When sitting in a chair, you should sit at the front of the seat. Then hold the end of one foot tightly with both hands and pull your body towards the back of the chair, while the foot is pushing the hands outward with force.
Exercise 5: Tighten the thighs and hips, to strengthen the muscles of the lower body (7 seconds). Stand with your hands clasped behind your head. Keep your back straight and your chest open. Inhale as you open your chest, while keeping your knees bent. Pause when your muscles feel strained, then slowly straighten your knees back to standing position as you exhale.
Exercise 6: Strengthen the muscles of the lower limbs (7 seconds). Stand on your tiptoes and hold the posture. This exercise has the effect of promoting blood circulation in the legs and eliminating calf swelling. Inhale through your nose as you strengthen your muscles, and exhale through your mouth as you relax them.
Insufficient Muscles in the Lower Body can lead to Diseases
There are many causes of high blood pressure.
It is possible that if one lacks muscles in the legs and waist, the micro-vascular blood that travels along the muscles will accumulate in the upper body, because it has nowhere else to flow to, resulting in high blood pressure.
Deep squats can exercise the lower body, increase the number of capillary blood vessels, and promote the blood circulation of the whole body by collecting excess blood from the upper body and transporting it to the lower body through circulation.
One performs the exercise as follows: In slow motion, squat down as you inhale, and then stand up as you exhale, thus completing one cycle. It is recommended to work 5 to 10 cycles per set, and after taking a 1-minute break, repeat for 5 more sets. Be careful not to strain your muscles too much.
Excerpted from “A Medical Book on Human Immunity against Diseases”, published by Shimao.