Gym and weight training always leave us feeling sore and tired, thus an exercise called isokinetic exercise is discovered. This type of exercise helps build muscles, and at the same time will not tire us out.
Will it also burn our fat, increase body flexibility and keep the injuries away?
Let’s dive in and get to know more about the isokinetic exercise.
What Is Isokinetic Exercise?
According is Squatwolf isokinetic exercise is a strength training exercise where the pace of the exercise remains constant. Generally, it is used for physical therapy, physiotherapy, and recovery of patients who have undergone surgery or accidents. Also known as Iso-velocity exercise, full-range movement of training is possible.
The pace of the exercise remains constant, but the resistance force varies. In other words, as we begin the exercise, the muscle is strong, and it moves the load. But as we come to the mid of the exercise, the muscle starts tiring out. Consequently, the repetition stops midway. We generally call this muscle fatigue.
It happens because the weight of the exercise or the resistance is constant. Besides, as the muscle contracts to lift it, it reaches its fatigue point. Clearly, beyond this, it can no longer lift the weight. In general, such kinds of exercises are known as isotonic exercise.
The weight is fixed. The speed lowers as the muscles’ tires. What we generally do in the gyms is isotonic exercise. In brief, the resistance is constant, and speed varies in isotonic exercises.
However, in the case of isokinetic exercises, the speed remains constant, and the resistance drops as the muscle tires and is not able to lift. Depending on the capacity of the muscle, the resistance weight adjusts itself automatically. So if we are strong, the resistance is high, and as we weaken, the resistance drops down. And all this happens automatically.
To sum it up, isokinetic exercises are constant speed and variable resistance exercise. Whereas isotonic is continuous weight and variable speed exercises.
Isokinetic Exercise: How Do The Isokinetic Machines Work?
How does this happen? In the good old days, cams, pulleys, cone pulleys, differential gearbox, and hydraulic managed to do this. But the isokinetic machine has gone hi-tech in recent times.
The isokinetic machines are state of the art technology machines with a dynamometer. The dynamometer senses the force of the user and, in real-time, keeps adjusting resistance accordingly. It is the heart of the isokinetic exercising machine.
The dynamo-meter automatically adjusts the resistance depending on the strength of the exerciser.
Isokinetic Exercise: Is Isokinetics A Recent Addition?
According to the information we collected from mountaintherapycenter strangely this form of exercise has been around since 1960. James Perrine developed the concept of isokinetic. However, the popularity of this form of workout has picked up in recent years.
Apart from rehabilitation, it is also very popular with athletes and sports-persons. Isokinetic exercises do not strain the muscles to fatigue levels. As a result of this, the muscle does not get sore or burnt out.
Athletes resort to isokinetic exercise just before the games. Another great advantage of this exercise is the complete range of movement. After all, if the muscle does not get dead tired midway or maybe having exercise intolerance, the whole range is executed.
That is the reason why it is popular in physiotherapy and rehabilitation therapy. To overcome the stiffness of joints, the range of motion is an important consideration.
As was mentioned earlier, we have automatic, sophisticated equipment for isokinetic exercises. These types of equipment’ are worth a fortune. Hence, health gyms cannot afford it. We can find this only in rehabilitation centers or big sports foundations.
Isokinetic exercises are very good to:
- Build lean mass
- Reduce body fat
- Increase muscle strength
- Increase muscle flexibility
- Prevents injury
Isokinetic Or Isotonic Exercise: Which Better?
This question is rather tricky to answer outright. It needs a little more in-depth analysis and understanding. Furthermore, the objective of exercising also strongly influences the decision.
What Happens In Isotonic Exercises According To ScienceDirect
During the isotonic exercise, the muscles fatigue out. What happens is the muscle fibers get injured and damaged because of excessive strain. With appropriate rest and protein intake, the body repairs and recover the muscles. The muscle fibers fuse, and this increases the bulk or the size of the muscle.
This whole phenomenon of muscle damage and recovery is known as hypertrophy. It is possible only in the case of isotonic exercises. Hence, the bodybuilders go in for isotonic exercises.
Besides, in the case of isotonic exercises, the heart rate shoots up. Thereupon the blood circulation goes up. Subsequently, it reduces the chances of a heart attack. Lack of blood supply to the heart results in a heart attack. Now since the blood circulation increases, the blood supply will be good.
The probability of stroke also goes down. The brain receives a good supply of blood. The bones and the skeletal structure also strengthen because of isotonic exercises. So, the chances of contracting osteoporosis reduce. The joints also work well because of isotonic exercises.
It also increases stamina and metabolism. Additionally, it burns off the fat.
What Happens In Isokinetic Exercises?
In the case of isokinetic exercises, the muscles never fatigue out. Therefore, hypertrophy is out of the question. So, it is not suitable if someone is looking to bulk the muscle size.
The most significant advantage of isokinetic exercise is we can perform the full range of training. Consequently, it is an excellent choice if we have to exercise our joints.
There is minimal chance of muscle injury. That explains the reason for its use in physiotherapy and other physical therapies. It does make the muscles strong, but not because of hypertrophy. Body toning and endurance also increase.
So, the winner is….
If it’s a matter of muscle building and bulking, isotonic exercises get a thumbs up. It is relatively economical too, in comparison to isokinetic exercises. Even for general toning and maintaining agility, the isotonic is a better choice.
On the other hand, if it is physiotherapy or recovery after surgery, the isokinetic is good. It is much suitable for all kinds of rehabilitation exercises. Additionally, for sportspeople, who look out for general fitness and fear injuries, isokinetic is ideal.
On the whole, both isotonic and isokinetic are excellent for respective objectives and applications. It is not fair to say one is better than another. However, the selection depends on our goals.
What Are The Risks?
As such, the isokinetic exercises are perfectly safe. The chances of muscle or any injury are almost nil. Nevertheless, consult a doctor to judge its suitability.
To do isokinetic exercises, we need specialized machines. These machines are a bit complicated to set and use. Hence it would be great to have a tutor along. Trying to do it all alone is not a good idea. Some wrong operations may hurt us or damage the machine.
Until the time we become an expert, we will have to do the isokinetic exercise under supervision
If we are using it as rehabilitation therapy, we should be cautious. Monitor your exercises very closely. Ensure that it does not aggravate the medical situation and lead to complications.
How To Begin?
If we are exercising for the first time, it is crucial to set our personal goal. What is it that we desire? Is it fitness, muscle power, or any other thing.
Once you set the goal, decide as to how you wish to achieve it. You can consult with some fitness instructors or experts in the field. We can also learn from some tutorial videos. Depending on which muscle you wish to work out, you may have to select an appropriate isokinetic machine.
The setting of the isokinetic machines is generally complicated. Hence you will have have to take expert help on that. If possible, join a class or training center. Thereupon get acquainted with all the settings and working of the machine.
It is always advisable to read the user manual and look into safety and emergency instructions before we use the machine.
Begin your exercises with minimum weight, and better would be zero weight. It is also known as a dynamic warm-up.
We can use the isokinetic treadmill or the stationary bicycle anywhere between 30-60 minutes.
Perform 2-3 sets of 8-15 repetitions on the strength machines. Plan workout and rest on alternate days.
All exercise movements should be slow and in control. We should never move with jerks.
We should maintain a log of exercises and the settings that we do on the machines and note our progress as we proceed further in training.
As with any other style of exercise, proper form is very crucial. It will ensure maximum benefits and minimum risk.
Exercise Safety Tips
We should always warm-up before exercise. Every muscle of our body should be shaken and warmed up. It is to ensure that there is no muscle injury or cramps or muscle pulls.
You should always wear comfortable gym clothes for exercising. Go in for warmer suits in case of cold climates. It is advisable to keep the body warm. For warm weather, cotton knitted gym suits would be best.
Always carry your hand towel, sanitizer, and drinking water with you. It is always a healthy practice to sanitize your hands before and after exercising.
While exercising, it is reasonable to sweat. But if you sweat profusely and feel uncomfortable, stop the exercise immediately and see a doctor.
Some Warm-Up Exercises
- Hops on the spot: Hands on the hip. Hop on the spot for about 30 seconds. Maintain your balance.
- Side to side hops: Do side to side hops on the same spot. Keep your hands on the hips.
- Chest expansions: Open up your arms and swing it on the sides.
- Arm rotation: Keep the arms on the side at the shoulder level. Move the arms in small circles with the shoulder as the fulcrum.
- Torso rotations: Rotate the torso, right and left.
- Shoulder rotation
Doing the above circuit for about 4-5 minutes before beginning the exercise is sufficient to warm up the body. Warm-up increases the blood flow and oxygen intake in the body, which is very good. It also loosens the body and brings in flexibility. A warm and flexible body can exercise much better than a cold, rigid body.
Once you have finished the exercises cooling down is also very important. During the exercise, the heartbeat increases substantially. If you suddenly stop the exercise, it may not be good for the muscles and the heart. The muscle and the heart may go in for a shock. Normal reactions in such cases are cold, muscle cramp.
For cooling down, do the same exercises as for warm-up; just reduce the time by half and do it very slowly.
Breathe normally when you exercise. As the metabolism of the body increases, the demand for oxygen also goes up. Do not hold your breath. Otherwise, it will lead to giddiness and nausea.
Keep yourself hydrated before, during, and after the exercise. The dehydrated body tends to develop painful cramps. The dehydrated body tends to heat up very fast.
Hence, keep drinking plain water in a few sips throughout the exercise.
Essentially, isokinetic exercises are very safe and great for rehabilitation. However, its utilization as regular exercise machines is gaining popularity.
Quite a few manufacturers who focused on building isokinetic machines for rehabilitation therapy have come out with models for home and gym.
There are pro models for professional athletes and sportspeople. Isokinetic is not a free form of exercise. It can be performed only with the aid of specialized machines. Hence many consider this to be a costly form of exercise. However, the benefits accrued from the exercises more than compensate for the price.
Except for core muscle and bodybuilding objectives, isokinetic is an excellent option for other purposes. The biggest and the best feature of isokinetic is it being an injury-free form of exercise.
There are many instances of muscle pull, sprains, and cramps in the isotonic form of exercises.
So if you are looking out for some useful and safe exercising option and are ready to spend a little more, isokinetic is for you.