How to Do Isotonic Exercises

Step-by-step Instructions

Here is what you need to do...
Step 1

Isotonic exercises are the platform of almost every single exercise routine every developed. They require any specific set of body parts to extend and contract in order to move some sort of resistance. Exercises that would be included are squats, curls, dips, skull crushers, bench press, pull-ups, push-ups...the list goes on for a long time. But just doing isotonic exercises isn't enough; you have to be able to do them well. This requires near-perfect form and attention to the speed of each repetition.

Step 2

For our example exercise we're going to use Standing Bicep Dumbbell Curls, which can be done with either one or two CAP Barbell Color Coated Hex Dumbbell, Singles. For our example, we will pretend that there are two to be used.

Step 3

Form is the most important part of every isotonic exercise. In order to do a proper standing bicep dumbbell curl, you must have great form from the bottom of your body to the top. Feet should be shoulder width apart, with toes pointing forward. Your knees should maintain a very slight bend. Your core should be tightened throughout the entirety of the exercise. Your lower back should maintain a slight, natural arch. Your head should be looking straight ahead. Finally, your shoulder blades should be pinched together, which will slightly jut out your chest.

Step 4

Now that we know how the body should be postured, let's take a look at form during the isotonic movement. You are going to start with your palms hanging at your sides, gripping the weight and facing inwards to your body. You will then begin to lift your palms upward, turning them outwards as you move the weight up. Make sure that your assumed body posture stays perfect throughout the movement, and that your elbows never move from the sides of your body. The lifting should come from your forearms only, which will be a result of your contracting biceps. After the dumbbells reach 90°, hold them for a brief moment and then lower back to the starting position, rotating your palms back inward on the way down.

Step 5

This kind of form is absolutely necessary to getting the most out of the exercise. With this form, tons of resistance will be put on the biceps, which will cause them to work hard and grow large. However, as ultra-important as form is, it isn't everything...

Step 6

Another very important factor to consider during isotonic exercises is the rate of speed at which you are performing repetitions. For our standing bicep dumbbell curl example, the speed of each repetition should go as follows: 2 seconds on the way up, 1 second hold at the top of the movement, then 2 seconds on the way down. This deliberate rate of speed will ensure that the muscle is getting the most from every single rep. A good line from a smart man I once met is worth inserting here: "Don't count the reps, make the reps count!"

Special Attention

Difficulties people often experience or parts that need special attention to do it right.

Isotonic exercises are pretty much the most common form of exercising. However, while virtually everyone has done an isotonic exercise at some point in their life, they might not have been doing it correctly. That's the most difficult thing about isotonic and really any exercising: the ability to do it correctly, which ultimately comes down to an increased attention to form and speed. By applying the attentive details above to every isotonic exercise you do, you will have no problems getting the most out of your workouts.

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This Student Author's Background

Funny or interesting story about this topic...

I have trained a lot of people throughout my days of lifting weights, and isotonic exercises are essentially the only kinds of exercises that I implement- aside from the occasional isometric exercise at the very end of a difficult workout. Everyone I have ever trained has either tried or understands the basic concept of isotonic exercises, yet they usually don't have an initial grasp of the gravity of form and repetition speed. After a few days of training, they all realize I'm very strict on form, and usually they get frustrated with me for pestering them so much. But that's okay, because by the time they're workout out on their own, I always get thanked for the attention to detail in form and speed of repetition, as they can see powerful development in their personal physiques. Hopefully You will too.

When did you first do this & how did you get started?

I started doing isotonic lifting early in high school. My father was always very strict on the importance of form during any exercise, so I naturally developed a habit of attempting to do every exercise perfectly in order to extract the maximum amount of benefits and gains.

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