The only idea of gaining speed strength with static exercises sounds crazy! There is far more to isometric exercises than just holding a steady contraction for a fixed time. If you’re not pretty sure what isometric exercises are basically, then let me break this down for you. Isometric exercises are the type which involve contraction of a muscle tissue at a specific angle. There is no movement in these exercises, or better said, that the measurement of your muscles remain the same during this training. For developing speed, you need to strengthen your muscle fibres. There are three types of muscle fibre; slow twitch, intermediate and fast twitch. The muscle you want to build is not determined by your training speed but your training intensity. This is where isometric exercises do their magic! Not only this, isometric exercises are good for improving overall agility. While there are a number of such exercises, I have picked the best 9 isometric exercises for speed.
Whether you’re a sprinter or a marathoner, a strong core is the basic requirement in running and improving this will get you faster and better. Planks are one the most important and popular isometric exercises as they work on your complete body and specifically target legs and arms. To get started with planks, I’d first recommend some warm up exercises. Now that you’re done with it, get into a push-up position. Make sure your arms and legs are fully stretched straight and your body is in line. Set your abs tights, bellybutton sucked in and do not slouch while performing this exercise. Now hold this position for 10 to 15 seconds and gradually increase your hold time.
Side bridge is often seen as a replacement to oblique ab crunches. While the notion is quite true, it is not just a replacement to the exercise but is a better version of it. Side bridge works on your core and majorly on your upper and lower back muscles (up to 40%, which is more than any other common back exercise). It not only works your oblique well, but every muscle that touches the oblique or is related to, is effectively worked upon. To perform side bridge, get into a push up position, but this time shifting into a lateral stance. Place one hand on the top of your hip and lift your hip upward. Your legs should be straight and stress must be on your arm to maintain the balance. It is very important to maintain balance. So, do this one very carefully!
When it comes to sprinting, squats are one of the most effective exercises. According to a new study, the key to improving your sprinting speed isn’t speeding more time, but boosting your squat. This improves your stability and strength while preventing injury. A squat hold can be done with the support of a wall or as a free standing/isolated squat. So, get yourself into a nice squat position. Now once you reach the bottom most point of your stance, instead of standing back up, hold it there for a nice 30 seconds and repeat it 4 times. Keep all your weight on the heels and be sure to maintain an upright position.
This is a Yoga pose which improves your shoulder strength, balance and stamina; all the important things for excelling speed. Stand up straight with your legs apart, at a distance of approx. 3 feet. Turn your right foot by 90 degrees and left by a little 15 degrees, basically you have to make sure that the heel of your right foot is aligned to the centre of your left foot. Now, lift both your arms sideways to the height of your shoulder and your palms facing the sky. Bend your right knee and turn your head to look on the right side. Now that you’re in the pose, stretch your arms and push your pelvis down. Hold this pose for some time and repeat.
Pull up and Hold:
This is a lot like your regular pull-ups with just some pauses and holds in between. All what makes it different is where you hold the pose. Different positions will strengthen different muscles. Use your underhand grip to hold a bar with shoulder width and raise your body upwards till your chin aligns with the bar. Hold your body for 10 to 12 seconds. Increase the hold time gradually.
Bend your knees and put your feet on the ground, keeping in between the width of your hips. Open your arms so that they are perpendicular to your torso. Now, lift the hips off the floor by pushing it with your heels. Your body should be in the air making a straight line, hold this position for a few seconds. Lower your hips and repeat.
This one is a very uncommon but great exercise for runners. It is another Yoga pose, good for maintaining balance and connecting your body to the mind, improving shoulder, spine and neck muscles, everything you must work on if you are a runner. For beginners, it is wise to use a wall for support. Stand on your knees, facing the wall (try to keep some distance from the wall because you will be bending in front afterwards, so leave some room for yourself) and clasp your elbows. Put your forearms on the floor and interlace your fingers, your thumbs should be pointing upwards. Now rest the back of your head against the base of your thumb and try to straighten your legs. Keep your shoulders above the elbow and slowly move your feet towards your hand in a walking style. Lift yourself off the floor and bend both the knees against your chest. Slowly open your legs, and there you go, you are now in the headstand position! Remain calm and steady throughout the process and you will excel it in no time.
Shoulder extension is an easy but important isometric exercise for arm and shoulder strength. This one works against the resistance of a wall. Just stand with your back against the wall, leaving some gap between your body and the wall. Lift your arm up in front of it to make your wrist touch the wall. Try to push your wrist upwards against the resistance provided by the wall. Hold it for 5-10 seconds.
Dip holds work your chest, legs and upper body strength. Hold the bars of a dip station and lift your body up, making sure your arms are straight. Slowly, lower yourself by bending the elbows until your upper arms are below the level of your elbows. Now hold this position for a few seconds and repeat.
While isometric exercises are great for improving muscle power, patients with heart problems should avoid these as exercising at a higher intensity can cause a dramatic increase in your blood pressure.