What are they?
If you've been to the Physio before chances are you've heard of isometrics!
Isometrics are exercises under static load. They are performed by contracting a muscle in one position, for example a front plank and are very effective in the early stages of rehabilitation.
When are they needed?
Isometrics are great to perform when you have range of movement restrictions (eg. when injured) or a specific area of your range where you wish to strengthen.
Let's look at an Achilles Tendinopathy!
We now know that tendinopathies can become aggravated with overstretching or repetitive lengthening. Completing isometrics avoids these aggravating factors, but still allows us to maintain or develop strength!
Other instances include...
All tendinopathies (eg. rotator cuff, hamstring, gluteal, patella)
What are they like compared to other training?
Although isometrics are great strengthening exercises, they are very specific to one position. This means that you will get strong in that position, but may not translate to the entire movement.
If you are looking at developing more functional strength, then you are better off completing dynamic exercises as it targets the tissue in its entire movement.
How do I do them?
Isometric exercises will be different depending on your requirements.
If you don't have an injury, a strength and conditioning coach can develop a plan to get the most out of your training.
If you're recovering from injury, it is essential to be assessed and guided by a Physiotherapist.