The isometric workout: a smart exercise hack you’re going to love. One way to get a slimmer figure? By simply standing still. It’s a strength-training style called isometrics, and it’s a great way to sculpt and tone your body.
Ok, sure, we’re all aware of holding still during planks, but the principle applies to nearly every other form of exercise, meaning you can laze your way into a toned physique – if you’ve got the grit to endure it.
By holding still and allowing gravity to do its job, your body works harder against the gravitational pull. Results? Muscle tone for days, and, if you rope in your workout partner in a fun competition, some pretty great bragging rights.
Here’s how it works: Instead of lifting and lowering your body or a dumbbell, you hold yourself in a fixed spot, says personal trainer Ashley Ntansah, who designed this workout. “It not only creates definition but also strengthens the smaller muscles, which have to work harder to keep you stabilised.”
Do this total-body isometric workout three days a week. Starting with the first exercise, hold the position for 60 seconds, rest for 30 seconds, and then repeat the exercise three to five more times.
Plank With Glute Squeeze
Lie facedown on the floor, prop yourself up on your forearms and flex your toes. Your body should form a straight line from head to heels. Contract your abs and glutes – tightly. Hold.
Quick Tip: Brace your core (imagine someone is about to punch you in the belly) throughout the move.
Isometric Lateral Raise
Hold a 1- to 2.5kg dumbbell in each hand and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, arms hanging straight down at your sides, palms facing in. Slowly raise your arms until they are in line with your shoulders. Hold.
Start in a push-up position, then shift your weight onto your right hand and rotate your chest to the left as you raise your left arm towards the ceiling, feet stacked together. Hold, then return to start and repeat on the other side. That’s one rep.
Quick Tip: Make a T: keep your body in a straight line and both arms in line with your shoulders.
Isometric Wall Squat
Stand and squeeze a stability ball between your lower back and a wall. Lower into a squat (as if you’re sitting into a chair), letting the ball roll up your back until your knees are bent 90 degrees. Push down into your heels and hold.