Isotonic vs Isometric Exercise – Which one is best for you?

Exercises have been a remedial practice during these tough times. Many advisory and sports journals emphasized their benefits in helping people to enhance their body’s metabolism. There are different types of physical activities or exercises which people can do to keep them fit and fine.

Common fitness exercises
Common fitness exercises

There are mainly two types of regular exercises; they are isotonic exercise and isometric exercise. But the question which always pops up in our mind is which one is the best? So, it is up to your body and physical structure which speaks a lot about the best-suited exercises for you. Let us see what more you need to know about these exercises.

Difference between Isotonic and Isometric exercise

Isotonic and Isometric exercises are both one of the best physical activities as they cover all-around health enhancement. But each of them has its significance and differences. Isotonic is a Greek word that means a similar tone, so while performing these types of exercises the body muscles maintain the same tension and the same tone. There are muscle movements in isotonic exercises that involve activities like swimming, walking, jogging, hiking, and many more. But, when we talk about the isometric exercises, here we see a contraction of muscles but without any movement.

Both isotonic and isometric exercises help in building and strengthening muscles
Both isotonic and isometric exercises help in building and strengthening muscles

So, the major difference between isotonic and isometric exercises is in terms of their impact, as isotonic exercises help in strengthening muscles, whereas isometric exercises help in developing endurance in the muscles.

Understanding the Muscle Contraction Phenomenon

Both isometric and isotonic exercises involve muscle contraction while they are being done. Let us know about the difference between isotonic and isometric contraction.

In isotonic contraction the muscle contracts, while the joint’s movement causes the muscle to either shorten or lengthen. The best example to understand this would be working out with dumbbells. The main focus is on the bicep curl for which a to and fro motion is performed. Isotonic contraction can be further classified into concentric and eccentric contraction.

Muscle contraction phenomenon
Muscle contraction phenomenon

Concentric contraction involves the shortening of muscle as it contracts, so while performing bicep curls one has to move their straight elbow holding some weight to a 90-degree bent, where the muscle shortens. Eccentric contraction is the lengthening of the muscle where the bent elbow further goes to holding the weight into a straight position which causes the muscle to elongate.

In isometric contraction, the joints do not show any movement but the muscle contracts. An example to understand this would be plank exercise. Here, the body is on rest or support of the bent elbows kept parallel to the body. Thus, holding the weight of the body, we see there is no movement in the joints but the person feels the tension on the muscles in the arm region or near the belly. So, these are the major differences between isotonic and isometric contraction.

Examples of Isotonic and Isometric Exercises

People often do have a question about the exercises which fall under isotonic and isometric exercises. Many of them still keep their brain teased by trying to understand facts like, is jogging isotonic or isometric? is swimming isotonic or isometric? Since these are the most common forms of exercise which people do on regular basis, so these questions are obvious.

Most of the aerobic exercises fall under the isotonic exercise category; they involve activities like running, jogging, swimming, dancing, etc. Also, people often are confusing themselves with the fact that all resistance training exercises are isometric exercises. But, that is not the case with those exercises which involve some movement of the body such as pushups, pull-ups, bicep curls, squats, etc.

Swimming, an isotonic exercise
Swimming, an isotonic exercise

When we talk about isometric exercises, they widely focus on strength and endurance building. Some of the examples for isometric exercise are planks, overhead hold, bar hang, etc. We observe the fact that there no much movement involved in these types of exercises and they are more focused on just holding the key positions to develop endurance and get the best out of it.

Holding position is the key in isometric exercises
Holding position is the key in isometric exercises

Looking at the above example, we have a clear picture of swimming and jogging exercises. Since both involve the body and muscle movement while performing it, so we are going to consider them under isotonic exercises.

Benefits of Isotonic and Isometric Exercises

It’s human nature to know about the outcomes or returns before investing their assets into something. People are often motivated by the results of these various exercises which tend them to invest their time and energy into it. But the question still prevails in their mind, are isometric exercises better than isotonic? It depends on individual’s goals of shaping or maintaining their body which helps them to realize the fact which exercise is better for them. Some people desire to shred their bodies and burn out the extra fats or calories by working out, while some only work on their body strength and endurance.

Benefits of Isotonic Exercises

Since isotonic exercises involve rigorous body movements, hence, this will cause the fats to burn out quickly and also improve bone density. Isotonic exercises quite often are the best in business when it comes to lowering the risk of heart diseases. It is a medically proven fact that isotonic exercises help in strengthening the cardiovascular system quite efficiently. These exercises are quite easy to perform and most of them require the least equipment to carry them out. An activity like swimming or jogging involves the entire body movement of an individual which helps to focus on their entire body workout by performing them. A proper warm-up is always recommended before performing any of these activities.

Isotonic exercises help in improving Cardiovascular Health
Isotonic exercises help in improving Cardiovascular Health

Benefits of Isometric Exercises

When it comes to isometric exercises, as they lack much body movement, therefore it is centric towards developing the body strength. The major advantage of these exercises is, they reduce blood pressure. They help individuals getting stronger, and develop proper body endurance. These exercises often do not require much practice to perform with perfection. Considering the medical facts, these exercises are ideal for the person who is suffering from some medical condition that restricts body movements and also for those who are suffering from some injury. So, performing isometric exercises may also help in getting rid of body pains in different body parts. But, keep in mind the forms and postures are the keys in these exercises. If forms are not maintained, there are high chances of getting injuries.

People suffering from any medical condition must consult medical experts
People suffering from any medical condition must consult medical experts

Final Verdicts

Now, since we have got you covered with all the details regarding the two exercises which are widely followed worldwide, it is your time to take a call. Based on your body development goals and physical condition decide which one suits you the best. If you are someone looking to shred your body in a quick succession of time then definitely isotonic exercises are the one for you. But, in case if you are someone who is looking for building body strength and work on their endurance then you must think of isometric exercises as the best choice for you. Remember the fact, “Health is Wealth” and try to get yourself into physical activities. Stay healthy and Stay Safe!