Upper-body isometric exercises can be performed as part of your strength-training program or can be used to rehabilitate an injury. Isometric exercise causes the muscles to activate, but they stay at a constant length; they don’t lengthen or shorten and joints are not activated. Benefits of isometrics are that no equipment is required, little space is needed and you can perform these exercises at home or at the office. A disadvantage is that your blood pressure might be elevated. Consult with your doctor if you have heart disease or hypertension.
Isometric exercises to strengthen the muscles that run along the front, sides and at the base of your neck behind your head can be done while at your office. Hold your head up straight in a neutral position. Take you right hand and place it on the right side of your head. As you gently push your head to the left, tighten your neck muscles to resist the push. Resist for five seconds, relax and repeat 10 times. Perform additional sets with your left hand pushing against the left side of your head and your hands pushing at the front and back of your head.
With the use of a wall and its corner, you can perform several isometric exercises to strengthen the muscles that are used to extend your shoulder and rotate it to the left and right. Stand with your back against a wall and your feet hip-width apart. With your arms hanging comfortably by your sides, keep your elbows straight and place your palms flat against the wall. Push against the wall for 10 seconds, relax and repeat. Perform 10 sets.
Turn with your right shoulder against the wall. With a 90-degree bend in your right elbow, push against the wall for 10 seconds, relax and repeat. Perform 10 sets, rest and repeat with your left arm.
Stand at the corner of the wall, bend your elbow 90 degrees and place your forearm and palm against the wall around the corner. Push against the wall for 10 seconds, relax and repeat. Perform 10 sets and repeat with your other arm.
This exercise primarily targets your chest muscles, but also works your shoulders and the backs of your arms. Stand with your back straight and feet should-width apart. Bend your elbows 90 degrees, place the palms of your hands together and hold your arms out in front of your body. While keeping your forearms parallel to the floor, breathe normally, tighten your chest muscles and push your hands together. Hold the tension 10 seconds, relax and repeat. Perform 10 sets. A variation is to bring your hands up under your chin, as if you were praying, and repeat.
Focus on your biceps, which are the muscles at the front of your upper arm, with this exercise. Sit in a sturdy chair in front of a heavy table or desk. Bend you elbows and place your forearms under the table with your palms facing up. Tighten your arm muscles and push up against the underneath side of the table as if you were going to lift it. Hold the tension 10 seconds, slowly relax your muscles and repeat. Perform 10 sets. Breathe normally and concentrate on keeping your back straight throughout the exercise.