Isokinetic exercise is far more specific than most other types of exercise. It allows specific control of resistance and, therefore, has much less potential for causing an injury. Isokinetic exercise is most commonly used in physical therapy, but it is gradually being used more by the general public. Most isokinetic exercises use only bodyweight or very light weights.
What Are Isokinetic Exercises?
Isokinetic exercises are exercises in which variable resistance is applied to a limb in constant motion. While performing isokinetic exercises, you contract your muscle while you quickly move your limb. Equipment such as stationary bikes -- for which you can establish a number of revolutions per minute -- and resistance bands can allow performance of isokinetic exercises, although specialized equipment is necessary in many cases. A dynamometer is a piece of specialized equipment that measures your movements and the strain on your muscles. This feedback allows you to modify your exercise patterns to meet your fitness goals.
Isokinetic Exercise Benefits
One of the major benefits of isokinetic exercises is the reduced likelihood of injury. Since the resistance and speed of the exercise are controlled, straining the muscles is highly unlikely. For example, an exercise bike may have safety precautions that limit you from pedaling too fast. Another benefit of isokinetic exercises is close monitoring of muscle activation and strain, allowing for more controlled muscle development and increased muscle flexibility.
A safe, simple isokinetic exercise is walking on a treadmill. Walking at a brisk pace several miles per hour will suffice. If you are not a beginner, you can hold on to dumbbells and increase your speed to a slow jog. You can also perform a basic squat. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands behind your head. Squat down slowly for five seconds. Hold for two seconds at the bottom, then take five seconds to return to standing. Do 10 to 15 repetitions.
Future of Isokinetic Exercise
Isokinetic exercise is most commonly used in physical therapy. But its ability to control stress on muscles and optimize progress means this form of exercise shows great potential to reach the general public, specifically for purposes of injury treatment and prevention. It may be adapted for higher levels of training by adding more resistance.