Isometric exercises are among the simplest to perform because they don't involve large groups of muscles and don't move a joint through its full range of motion. The angle of your joints and length of your muscles don't change noticeably during these types of exercise, which include activities such as pushing against a wall and holding weights or heavy objects in a fixed position. While isometric exercises are not the most effective exercise type for burning fat, they do burn some calories and are a better option for burning fat than no exercise at all.
Fat Burning Basics
To burn fat, you have to burn calories. Every form of exercise burns some calories, and even sleeping and sitting down burn calories because your body needs calories -- which are just units of energy -- to keep functioning. The most effective exercises for weight loss are those that maximize the number of calories you burn. A pound of fat is equal to 3,500 calories, so you'll need to eliminate 3,500 calories -- usually through a combination of diet and exercise -- for every pound you want to lose.
Cardiovascular exercise -- also called aerobic exercise -- is the most effective exercise for losing weight. Cardio maximizes your caloric burn because it works large groups of muscles. It's also great for your long-term health. Cardio gets your heart pumping, which can improve your circulation and blood pressure and protect against heart problems such as heart attack and stroke. Any exercise that gets your heart beating rapidly and works several muscle groups at once is an excellent choice; try jumping rope, running, jumping on a trampoline or bicycling.
Isometric Weight Loss
Isometric exercises burn significantly fewer calories than either aerobic exercises or traditional weighlifting. The number of calories you'll burn depend upon your weight, the intensity of the exercise and the duration. However, isometric exercises do help to build muscle mass. Done in conjunction with aerobics, they can help your muscles become more visible as you shed pounds.
Isometric Exercise Benefits
Although they're not the best choice for losing weight, isometric exercises do offer other benefits. Doctors frequently recommend isometrics to injured patients and those with musculoskeletal problems such as osteoperosis and arthritis. These exercises are not hard on your joints and can help you slowly develop muscle strength and flexibility.
- MayoClinic.com: Are Isometric Exercises a Good Way to Build Strength?
- FitWatch: Isometric Exercises -- Do They Work?
- Exercise Physiology; William D. McArdle et al.
- Questformuscle.com: Isometric Exercise Discussed
Van Thompson is an attorney and writer. A former martial arts instructor, he holds bachelor's degrees in music and computer science from Westchester University, and a juris doctor from Georgia State University. He is the recipient of numerous writing awards, including a 2009 CALI Legal Writing Award.