June 5, 2020

A Simple Seated Isometric Exercise Workout For Seniors

First of all, let me tell you that I am 70 years old and have been doing this basic exercise program, along with some other activities for several years.

Since you might not be familiar with isometric exercises, just a quick run down.

These are exercises done where one muscle group, for example the biceps (front of upper arm… curls the arm), pulls or pushes against either another muscle group, for example the triceps (back of upper arm… extends the arm), or, an immoveable object.

The muscle is tensed in contraction or extension for between seven and ten seconds.

I always do a slow count to 10, myself.

Caution, while the recommendation for most rapid results is to tense the muscle to 75% of its maximum capacity, you have no way of measuring this, and, at first, you are at greater risk of injury, so, as you start, just tense until you feel resistance and gradually you will begin to sense the “sweet spot”. Also, supporting muscles may not be as strong as the main muscle being exercised, and you don’t want to have to stop because you have injured some smaller muscle.

There is a tendency during extreme effort to hold your breath.

This is another little rule of thumb of mine. If I have to stop breathing to do the particular isometric exercise, I’m trying too hard and risking injury… not just to the muscle, but to the heart.

The goal is to help you get, and stay, in shape, not make you into a professional athlete. Isometric exercises should never be your only exercises. You should walk or do other forms of aerobic activities, at the least. It’s also a good idea to do some exercises which actually require movement, as an isometric exercise contraction does not exercise a particular muscle through its entire range.

That’s why, by the way, I do some exercises of the same muscle in different positions.

At the end of the workout itself, I will give you a couple of hints to improve your result, both with the isometric exercise workout itself, and with adding a bit of aerobic activity in the process.

THE WORKOUT

Get yourself a sturdy chair without arms. Kitchen table style will do. Set it in position.

Now, walk around the house for a minute or two to “get the blood flowing”.

You will want to do the exercises one right after another, once your body is acclimatized to the isometric workout, but, at first, don’t push it and always take as much rest between exercises as you need. This is supposed to help you get healthier… not push you into becoming an Olympic level athlete… or having a heart attack.

Slowly lower yourself to a seat on the chair… BUT…

Just before you are actually seated and still in sort of a skier’s pose, stop and hold position for a slow count of 10.

To save time, and typing, from now on, I won’t say “slow count of 10”, I will just say to hold the position.

Sit on the chair as far forward as you can as later you will want to rock back and forth a little.

ARMS, CHEST, BACK

These exercises will be done in three groups of threes to let the individual muscles rest a bit between the exercises. At the same time, this allows you to get a small amount of aerobic results from isometric exercises, which is hard to do.

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First set:

Arms Exercise 1:

Hold one arm so that it is at your side and forms a 90 degree angle at the elbow in almost the classic “look at my muscle”. Put the palms of your hands together and, pull up with the first arm while pushing down with the other and hold. Reverse hand positions and repeat.

Chest Exercise 1:

Put the fist of one hand into the palm of the other in front of your chest. Push them against each other, and hold.

Back Exercise 1:

With hands still in front of you, grasp hands, pull, and hold.

For Set 2, repeat the isometric exercises with your hands in a low position, at or below your waist.

For Set 3, repeat the exercises with your hands in a high position.

Don’t worry about form. You are doing this for you, and, how you look doesn’t really matter. Also, as you get stronger, become more familiar with the exercises, and how they feel, you will begin to realize that you can concentrate the contraction where you want it.

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