How To Do Isometric Squat Properly

The isometric squat is an exercise based on the creation of an environment that allows for the isometric contraction of muscles.

It is therefore a variation of the standard squat. To do this exercise:

  • Stand as tall as you can with your feet about shoulder-width apart.
  • Point your toes forward. Push your hips back, bend your knees, and lower your body until your upper thighs are parallel to the floor. You can also go as low as you’re comfortable doing
  • As you go lower, press your ankles, lower legs, and thighs outward. This ensures that you remain static and create the required amount of tension.
  • Hold your position for a while in order to maintain that tension.
  • After holding out for a while in the prescribed position, raise yourself to complete the rep

WHAT MUSCLES DO THE ISOMETRIC SQUAT WORK?

QUADRICEPS

The quadriceps are a large muscle group located at the front of the thigh. However, they also extend to the side of the thigh.

The quadriceps are involved in the regulation of momentum and propulsion in between completing an isometric squat rep and starting another one.

They are therefore crucial in ensuring that the target muscles experience the necessary amount of strain

GLUTES

The glutes are one of the more engaged groups of muscles when doing the isometric squat. This is primarily because they are involved across almost all of the necessary movements.

Their biggest role however is to hold the distributed body weight and keep you afloat as you’re mid-air, with no real support.

The glutes are also engaged when you need to propel yourself back upwards and also to provide balance throughout these movements.

It is recommended that you use your glutes for propulsion in order to achieve maximum efficiency.

HAMSTRINGS

While doing the isometric squat, the hamstrings are mostly used to do joint work. For instance, it enables you to flex your knee. The most crucial move in an exercise involves so much squatting.

The hamstrings run along the back of your thigh. However, its extension from the hip to below the knee is what grants this muscle such a vital role.

With each squat, you, therefore, engage the hamstring. Repetition and the room to break down and build stronger is what enables you to build strong hamstrings consequently enabling you to do more isometric squats.

ABS

The isometric squat is an effective exercise because it generates and maintains tension through the majority of your movements.

This is particularly the case around the abdomen region. When doing the isometric squat, your core undergoes a significant amount of tension.

A necessary environment in order to help you not fall over and also provide stability. Maintaining such intense levels of tension is however quite beneficial as it strengthens the core and abdomen region with every rep.

ERECTORS

Proper form while doing the isometric squat, requires that you keep your back neutral throughout your movements.

This is beneficial to the spinal erectors. Spinal erectors are responsible for keeping the back straight as the repeated practice of keeping the back neutral engages them as a muscle group.

ISOMETRIC SQUATS BENEFITS

IMPROVES YOUR RANGE OF MOTION

The intricate complexities that come with performing the isometric squat generally improve your flexibility and mobility.

For instance, anyone who takes up the regular isometric squat positions as a beginner is likely to experience buckling knees or struggle with maintaining the brace.

This is primarily due to squatting a heavy load. However, the isometric squats provide a perfect opportunity to practice maintaining position while squatting a heavy load.

This means you get to practice holding a position under maximal effort without maximal loading.

BUILDS STRENGTH

The isometric squat builds overall squat strength. A larger workload often forces the body to adapt in order to be able to handle the said load.

Therefore, the maximal loading that comes with doing the isometric squats is likely to increase strength in areas such as your knee tendon and reduce your knee stiffness.

That said, these movements should be done after an assessment of what positions you’re weakest in.

ALTERNATIVES TO THE ISOMETRIC SQUAT

PAUSE SQUAT

  • Set up your squat rack and ensure that the barbell is placed at shoulder height.
  • Face the rack, step under the barbell and rest the bar across your upper back.
  • Stand up to lift the barbell off of the rack all the while keeping your elbows up to maintain tension in your upper back.
  • Spread your feet about shoulder-width apart and keep your toes at a slight angle outward.
  • Brace your core and sit back with a hip-hinging motion to lower the weight, bending your knees until your upper leg is parallel to the floor.
  • Rest at this position for about 5 seconds, then push up back to the starting position
  • Repeat

STEP-UPS

This is a low-impact exercise with similar primary targets to the isometric squat. To do this exercise:

  • Start by stepping onto the bench with your right foot.
  • Straighten your right leg to stand on the bench while lifting your left leg
  • Keep your right foot on the bench, bend your right knee and lower your left foot to tap the floor with your left toes. Do not put all your weight into your left foot.
  • This completes one rep.

REAR LUNGES

To do this exercise:

  • Stand upright, with your hands at your hips.
  • Take a large step backward with your left foot.
  • Lower your hips so that your front leg is positioned parallel to the floor and your back foot is positioned directly over your ankle.
  • Your back foot should be bent at a 90-degree angle and pointing toward the floor
  • Return to standing by pressing your front foot into the floor and bringing your back foot forward to complete one rep.
  • Now alternate legs

MISTAKES TO AVOID

NOT KEEPING YOUR BACK NEUTRAL

Naturally, the isometric squat is a heavier squat than anything standard. This is especially considering a larger amount of strain is directed towards your back.

As a result, as a coping mechanism, your back should remain neutral, failure to do so leads to excessive strain on the back.

INITIATING THE SQUAT FROM THE KNEE

Propelling yourself from a low point directs a lot of strain to your joints. However, the hip is better equipped to handle the strain of initiating propulsion after a squat.

Propulsion from the knee can lead to knee injuries.

CONCLUSION

The isometric squat is a higher impact variation of the standard squat with intricacies that build your strength and improve things such as flexibility.

Before you attempt this exercise, you should however ensure that you’re able to squat a heavier load to avoid injuries.