The Best Isometric Exercises With Resistance Bands

by Catherine Field, Demand Media
    Resistance bands can replace weights in your workout.

    Resistance bands can replace weights in your workout.

    Easy on the wallet, flexible resistance bands are both budget-friendly and versatile. With resistance bands, you can get a total body workout or focus on isolating and tightening a muscle with isometric exercises. Since your body won't be moving much with isometric exercises, get in some cardio to lose weight and keep fit. Check with your doctor before starting an exercise routine, especially if you're new to exercise.

    Isometric Exercises

    You may be doing isometric exercises throughout your day -- at your work desk or while stuck in traffic -- and not even know it. A wall push against your cubical releases mid-day shoulder tension, and a hand press while sitting in rush hour traffic eases tired arms. No matter where you do them, isometric exercises build muscle mass and bone strength, according to California State University's Lee E. Brown.
    Isometric exercises benefit from holding the joint still -- for at least six to eight seconds -- and not flexing the muscle you're working. Increase resistance by adding resistance bands. Because there are different tensions, ask a physical therapist, a certified fitness instructor or a sporting goods clerk for a suggestion that works for your fitness level.

    Upper Body Exercises

    Add a resistance band to your upper body isometric routine. When you do, you target the muscles as if you were holding dumbbells. Look for exercises that use your upper body muscles. While you're toning those pecs, delts and triceps, you'll also tone an ab muscle. The rectus abdominis starts at pelvic bone and ends at your rib cage. Try overhead presses combined with a squat for lower body toning. Get on your knees for triceps pushups and chest press. For a triceps pushup, get on all fours with the band looped behind your shoulders. Move into a modified pushup and take hold of the band’s loose ends. Lower your upper body to the floor and hold the position for four seconds before rising. Try 10 reps, or until you feel tightness in your triceps.

    Lower Body Exercises

    Isometric exercises using resistance bands can tight the glutes, hamstrings, quads and outer thighs as well. With upper thigh and calf exercises, you can increase the resistance by wrapping -- or looping -- the band. This trick adds extra resistance when you don't want to invest in extra bands.
    Pelvic pushes and skater squats are isometric lower body exercises using resistance bands that tone the hamstring and glutes. Stand in the center of the band and place your feet shoulder-width apart for skater squats. Grab each end and pull the band's ends until they're waist high. Do 16 squats, one leg at a time, leaning into the band. Hold each squat for four counts. Stand between each rep. Switch sides and repeat another set.

    Considerations

    Be careful doing isometric exercises. Since you're holding a contraction, your blood pressure rises. If you have high blood pressure or a heart condition, let your doctor know you're doing isometric exercises. Add these moves to your strength and cardio routine for overall fitness.

    About the Author

    Having studied at two top Midwestern universities, Catherine Field holds degrees in professional writing and patient safety. Writing since 2000, Field has worked with regional newspapers while publishing fiction online. She conducts medical communication research at a Midwestern medical institution and is slated to write a book based on her research findings.

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