Sitting Isometric Exercises

Isometric exercises help maintain muscle strength.
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Isometrics is a form of training where there is no joint movement and the length of the muscle remains the same during contraction. According to, this form of exercise is used more to maintain muscle strength and not to build muscle strength. Many isometric exercises can be performed while seated and no special training aids are required. Whether you are at home watching television or at your work desk, you can effectively exercise several muscle groups. also states that isometrics can increase blood pressure. If you have high blood pressure or heart problems, consult with your doctor before performing these exercises.

Neck Exercises

The neck extensors are muscles located at the back of your neck and are instrumental in holding your head up. An effective isometric exercise to target these muscles starts with you sitting up tall in your chair. Raise your hands above your head, bend your elbows and interlace your fingers together. Place your hands on the back of your head. While your hands resist the movement, push your head backward into your hands. The NYU Langone Medical Center recommends holding the position for five seconds, relaxing and repeating the exercises up to five times.

The muscles in front of your neck, the neck flexors, can also be worked while sitting. Place your hands on your forehead. While resisting the movement with your hands, push your head forward. Avoid lifting your chin during the exercise. Hold for five seconds, relax and repeat up to five times.

Chest Exercise

The palm press exercise focuses on your pectoral muscles, and also works your biceps. Sit up straight and put your palms together. Hold your hands with your fingertips pointing toward the ceiling as if you are praying. Keep your hands in front of your chest, bend and raise your elbows out to the sides until your forearms are parallel to the floor. Press your hands together as hard as you can and hold the position for 10 seconds. Relax and repeat up to 10 times.

Isometric Abdominal Exercise

To exercise your abs isometrically, keep your feet on the floor and sit tall in a sturdy chair with good back support. Tighten your abdominal muscles as if you are preparing for someone to punch you in the stomach. Place both hands on your stomach and press your fingers into your stomach. Resist the inward push by contracting your abs even harder. Hold 10 to 15 seconds, relax and repeat five times.

Thigh Exercises

The quadriceps and hamstring muscles can also be worked while seated. To target your quads, located at the front of your upper leg, start by sitting up tall and your feet flat on the floor. Slowly lift both feet and straighten your legs out in front of your body. Contract your quads and hold the position 15 to 20 seconds.

To focus on your hamstrings, located at the back of your upper leg, sit toward the front half of your chair. Hold onto the arms of the chair or a piece of furniture for support. Curl your legs under the chair as if you are trying to touch your butt with your heels. Tighten your hamstrings and hold the position 15 to 20 seconds.

Seated Calf Raises

Isometric calf raises are effective in working the muscles at the back of your lower legs. Sit straight in your chair and keep your legs hip-width apart. Start with your knees bent 90 degrees and place your feet flat on the floor. Lift your heels off the floor as high as you can. Contract your calf muscles, hold the position 20 seconds and then lower your heels back to the floor. Repeat three times.

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