Isotonic exercises are an important part of any exercise plan. They provide constant tension on the muscles throughout the entire motion. In addition to the normal benefits of regular exercise, isotonic exercises carry additional benefits for bone, muscle and heart health. Be sure to incorporate isotonic exercises into your workout plan.
Isotonic means “equal tension.” During isotonic exercise, the muscle remains under fairly constant tension throughout the motion, while the muscle length changes. Bench pressing is an example of isotonic exercise, since the amount of the weight stays constant, keeping constant tension on the arm muscles, while the length of the arm muscles changes as you lower the weight toward your body and then push it away. This differs from isometric exercises, in which there is no movement of the joints.
Isotonic exercises have a positive impact on bone health. Isotonic force on your bones causes new bone to form, which increases density and overall strength of the bones. Isotonic exercises are very important in preventing osteoporosis, a disease which causes progressive loss of bone density and increases the risk for fractures. According to MayoClinic.com, isotonic exercises not only lower your risk of developing osteoporosis, but also dramatically reduce the risk of fractures if you have already developed the disease.
Isotonic exercises can greatly strengthen your muscles and help with balance. They help build muscle strength by making the muscles larger, and therefore stronger. Increase in muscle strength can prevent injury, not only by reducing the likeliness of overexerting your muscles, but also preventing damaging to your joints, such as sprains and fractures. If you push your muscles too hard, excess pressure is put on the joints, which can results in muscle tears, ligament tears or cartilage damage. Strengthening the muscles in the lower part of your body helps maintain balance and can help prevent injuries from falls, such as fractures.
Isotonic exercises can have a beneficial effect on your heart. They raise your heart rate and increase circulation to the rest of the body, lowering your risk for stroke, heart attack and other types of heart disease. Isotonic exercises have a positive effect on blood pressure and are recommended by the American Heart Association at least twice a week to help lower blood pressure. As with any exercise regimen, however, it is important to discuss your exercise plan with your doctor before you start.
Noelle Thompson has extensive experience with health and scientific research, including in the biotechnology/pharmaceutical industry. She graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, with a B.S. in cell and developmental biology. Thompson then went on to earn a Ph.D. in biological chemistry, with an emphasis on stem cell biology, from the University of California, Irvine.