An isometric workout is great for strength training without equipment or weights, but even further than that, isometric strength training is great for maximum safety on any joints that may be having pain or issues. Many times when my clients are feeling pain in their knees we will do an isometric wall sit instead of the usual leg extensions. My favorite workout (and the safest) is Super Slow under the guidance of a fitness instructor but an isometric workout plan (strength training without weights) is a close second.
There are lots of other strength training exercises without equipment or weights to incorporate into your isometric workout, but let's get started with the absolute essentials to begin strengthening your muscles to their maximum potential. There are SO many benefits of strength training and once you've gotten started into strength training for a few weeks you'll absolutely see how powerful and effective isometric strength training can be to improving daily life.
Some important guidelines apply, like always, even for your isometric workout, the method of strength training without equipment or weights. I always recommend hiring a trainer for strength training but if you can't, always follow these guidelines. For a more in depth coverage of strength training safety guidelines go here.
The first exercise for our strength training without equipment workout is a plank. This one will be focused directly on three major muscle groups – Stomach, Biceps, Triceps. You'll want to keep your back as straight as possible here, think about it as making your back as flat as a coffee table, if there were a cup of coffee on your back it wouldn't spill. Your elbows should be just below the shoulders while you engage the stomach muscles fully. Just like every exercise, breath deep. Your objective here is to maintain this position for AS LONG AS POSSIBLE and even longer.
The second exercise for strength training without equipment or weights is the Superman. This exercise will focus on the Glutes, Lower Back, Lats (mid back), and Hamstrings. You may feel other muscle groups engage also, as long as there's not an over tension in your neck you are likely holding good form. As we lay flat we will want to bring our hands and feet gently off the ground at first, paying attention to where the muscles begin to engage. The idea is always to bring the hands and feet off the floor for as long as possible, the longer you can hold this pose, the more effective it will be on growing your muscles and getting all the extra benefits of strength training.
If you feel any over working or tension in the neck at all, you can bring your arms behind you into the Airplane position. This takes a lot of the muscle engagement from the arms and localizes it into the larger muscles we are looking to engage. This is an easier version of the Superman that can be better for beginners or also ideal for individuals with neck replacements or fused neck vertebrae.
Our next strength training without equipment exercise is the Wall Sit. Our target muscle group is the Quadriceps, directly above the knees. These stabilizing muscles strengthen the areas around the knees, many times decreasing knee pain and making every day life so much easier. For maximum results it's best to keep the knees at a 90 degree angle ( but if your knees hurt you'll want to modify this exercise to the picture further down below.) It may be very useful to put a chair, a cushion, or a large exercise ball right beneath you so you can gently lower yourself down after the completion of this exercise in this isometric workout. As always, DO get as deep into muscle fatigue as possible. When your muscles begin to burn, that's when the real training begins, the longer you hold this, the better.
This is the adjusted position for the wall sit if you have any knee complications at all. We want to really stay in the muscles without affecting any joints whatsoever. Never push through any pain in the joints or the neck. We are here to strengthen our muscles, not damage our bodies. Safety first, always.
These are just some of my favorite exercises for strength training without equipment or weights. This isometric workout will give you a basic beginning to really jump starting your muscle growth and in turn reinstating your metabolism! I'll continue to update this and add to to this isometric strength training workout, but in the meantime get started here! You can do it! Try these positions for as long as your body allows, get into full muscle fatigue, and always allow your muscles time to rest between each workout.