Many of us are concerned with weight management these days. One important part of any weight management plan is exercise.
There is no doubt that there are many health benefits of regular exercise, and that it can contribute greatly to overall health, weight management in general, and weight loss in particular.
In the interest of expediency, due to busy schedules, and sometimes a desire to make things as simple as possible, many people turn to isometric exercises for weight loss.
The question is, “Are isometric exercises good for weight loss?”
Many people are not sure what isometric exercises are, so, let’s start there.
The simplest explanation is that an isometric exercise is one in which a muscle is tensed, exerting effort, yet is unable to move due to an opposing force or weight.
Physical fitness pioneers such as Bernarr Macfadden, and Angelo Siciliano (AKA Charles Atlas), popularized such exercises. Charles Atlas became famous in the mid 20th century, marketing his “Dynamic Tension” training in comic books and magazines, to “98 lb. weaklings” who wanted to learn how to build big muscles fast.
While early proponents had little but anecdotal evidence to go on, later scientific study, by such prestigious organizations as the Max Planck Institute, and NASA, proved their beliefs to be fact. A person could build muscle by trying to move an immovable object … often, as in many isometric exercises, pitting one set of muscles against another.
Today, many professional athletes include isometric exercise as part of their training program.
That’s an important point … “as part” …
There are drawbacks and limitations to isometric exercise.
Still, it IS a form of exercise, and since since exercise is proven good for weight loss, why would not isometric exercises be good for weight loss?
While isometric exercise CAN help build muscle, ie lean muscle mass, which can help burn fat, the actual exercise period is brief with isometrics, and there does not seem to be a lingering period of increased metabolic rate commonly experienced with other forms of exercise.
On the other hand, any increase in muscle strength, joint stability, and improvement in overall health can encourage an overweight, out of shape, person to get moving. Also, successful strength building can increase confidence and be a trigger to even more movement and activity.
For the individual who has not been active at all, isometric exercises can be good for weight loss by acting as a “gateway”, or complement, to more intense forms of exercise, such as weight training; or cardiovascular training, such as walking or running, which are the best and most effective exercise choices for weight management and weight loss.
Note, by the way, that many activities, such as gardening, woodworking, etc., can be good forms of “exercise”, but tend NOT to be balanced or very good for overall muscle strength building. Adding isometric exercises to any active lifestyle may be valuable to health, fitness, weight loss, and weight management.
So, the bottom line seems to be that, at least as a starter or add-on, isometric exercises can be good for weight loss, and should not be ignored.