What you need to know about isokinetic exercise
| FLOW Athlete
An isokinetic exercise is a form of training that uses specialised equipment to focus on variable resistance. This can come in many forms, with a particularly common example of this principle being the leg press - an individual can adjust this to offer different levels of challenge and build conditioning.
Exercise bikes work on a similar principle, with different levels that provide more resistance to the efforts of the biker as they press on. By focusing upon a constant speed (e.g. 50 rpm), you are performing an isokinetic exercise. That being said, the bike itself is technically not isokinetic even if that particular exercise is – though you can get special isokinetic variants of an exercise bike.
You have probably done many isokinetic exercises without even knowing it before, and there is plenty you could benefit from knowing before you get back to it.
1. Isokinetic vs isotonic vs isometric
To fully understand isokinetic exercises, you will need to understand their isotonic and isometric equivalents. Whereas isokinetic means ‘same speed’, isotonic means ‘same tension’, and isometric means ‘same length’.
Isotonic exercise is any kind of exercise that keeps the muscles at the same tension throughout, with no added resistance to speak of. This includes many exercise moves such as squats and bench presses; they may get harder as you do them, but not because more tension or weight has been added.
Isometric exercise involves not moving or bending your joints, and this encompasses a litany of exercises that emphasise stability. The ‘plank’ position is a prime example, as it entails holding a position. After a short while, you can feel the burn upon it even if you are technically not moving at all.
As you can see, isokinetic exercise involves a combination of movement and added tension. This gives it several benefits which are outlined below.
2. The uses and benefits of isokinetic exercise
Isokinetic exercises are often used for sports rehabilitation because they help you regain your strength and power gradually. This is crucial to helping athletes slowly make their way back to their previous level after an injury and is often done with special isokinetic equipment such as dynamometers.
The exercises can also reduce fat, increase muscle strength, and increase your body’s flexibility. In essence, they do everything you would expect from a moderately intense workout.
3. The risks of isokinetic exercise
When doing isokinetic exercise, the tension and resistance added throughout ensures that you do not push yourself too far. The goal of the different resistance levels when doing isokinetic exercise is to keep you at a steady pace while increasing your efforts.
That does not mean it is impossible to reach your breaking point, but being cautious and smart is usually the way forward. So long as you know the basics and stop when you feel like you should stop, isokinetic exercise can be practically risk-free.
Isokinetic exercises are just one type of exercise that you probably do in every workout, but you must never underestimate the strong impact it can have on your growth as an athlete or exercise enthusiast. For any kind of exercise, you will need the right gear and clothing.
At FLOW, we stock all manner of gym clothes and workout clothes for any gender. If you need new running shorts or just some advice for your next gym session, then and we will get back to you as soon as we can.