Affordable and convenient to use, resistance bands are a portable piece of equipment that can be utilized in a variety of ways, then easily stored when not in use. Resistance bands allow you to complete a total-body workout or specifically target a particular muscle group. Unlike isotonic exercises which work muscles through a range of motion, isometric exercises place tension on a muscle group without changing the angle of the joint.
Isometric exercises are often used in a rehabilitative setting, but may also be included into your regular workout program. An example of an isometric movement using resistance bands is pulling the band apart with each hand, maintaining equal force so that neither hand moves. Though not effective for building muscle mass or increasing cardiovascular function, isometric exercises are ideal for maintaining or regaining strength in a target muscle group.
Perform a hip abduction by creating a loop in the resistance band and placing both legs in the loop. While sitting, lift the band loop to your upper thighs. Begin by opening your thighs so that tension is placed on the band. Hold this position for 10 to 15 seconds before returning to the starting position. Do an isometric squat by placing both feet on the middle portion of the band. Reach down and grab the band with both hands. As you stand up, the tension on the band will increase, making the upward movement more difficult. Once you reach a standing position, hold for 10 to 15 seconds, keeping your core tight. Squat back down to the starting position. Repeat each exercise two or three more times.
Do an overhead press by standing on the resistance band while holding the handles or ends of the band. Press the band over your head until your arms are fully extended. Do not lock your elbows. Hold this position for 10 to 15 seconds before slowly returning to the starting position. Complete a wall push by wrapping the band around your back. Place your hands on a wall while holding the ends of the band in each hand. Push yourself away from the wall by extending your arms. Resistance in the band will increase. Hold for 10 to 15 seconds before returning to the original position. Repeat each exercise two or three more times.
While isometric exercises provide variety to your workout and are effective for rehabilitative purposes, certain dangers do exist. Isometric exercises are not recommended for individuals with hypertension, as the constant muscle tension can significantly increase blood pressure levels. In addition, because very minimal cardiovascular benefits are achieved through isometric exercise, incorporate other training methods into your workout program for optimal health. When using resistance bands, always inspect the bands before use to ensure there are no tears or other damage. You should always consult your doctor before beginning an exercise routine.