What are the Different Types of Isotonic Exercise?

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  • Written By: Harriette Halepis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 31 January 2020
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There are various types of isotonic exercises that a person can engage in. One of the oldest and simplest forms of isotonic exercise is weightlifting. The term isotonic means creating constant or equal amounts of pressure. Thus, when weights are lifted, the amount of tension exerted remains constant while the muscle performing the action extends or contracts. Even though the weight involved in an this type of exercise is unchanging, the speed at which an exercise is completed can fluctuate.

Weight lifting is a form of isotonic exercise, since the weight remains the same even though the muscle lifting the weight contracts. Push-ups, pull-ups, and sit-ups are all types of isotonic exercises as well. Generally, these exercises are combined with a complete fitness routine in order to help a person reach a personal fitness goal. These types of exercises are also preferred by physical therapists who are attempting to help a person regain strength in one area of the body.

It is not recommended that anyone attempt any kind of isotonic exercise after experiencing a traumatic injury. In this instance, the help of a certified physical therapist is necessary. While exercises of this kind are do not have to be difficult, an injured muscle can become even more damaged if not tended to carefully.


While it is possible to create an exercise program by reading about different exercises, it is best to seek the assistance of a personal trainer, therapist, or coach before embarking on this type of muscle building routine. Nearly every part of the body can be strengthened with the help of a specific isotonic exercise. This is one of the main reasons why physical therapists prefer this type of exercise to any other kind. Pinpointing individual muscles through constant muscle conditioning is difficult to do without the help of a professional, though isolating any muscle is the best way to create an exercise of this type.

In most instances, people who partake in this type of strength training do not use weight machines. Instead, dumbbells, or free weights, are preferred by individuals and trainers alike. When performing any exercise, it is not a good idea for people to lift weights that cause a person to sway or swing. It is also wise to seek the approval of a medical doctor before performing any kind of new weightlifting routine. This is especially true for those people who suffer from chronic medical conditions.


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Post 4

A exercise trainer who headed a class I took explained to the class that the way to get the most from exercises to strengthen muscles is to use both isotonic and isometric exercises.

Isotonic exercises like weightlifting, push-ups, chin-ups, and sit-ups are excellent. You must be sure to use your muscles and joints in a full range of motion.

Isometric exercises are those that you find in yoga and Pilates. Isometric exercises are those that provide resistance as you hold a stationary position.

Important: Always do stretching before you begin these types of exercises. I've been guilty of not following this advice every time.

Post 3

@Subway11 - I agree, but I also think that flexibility exercises that you see in Pilates or yoga studios really make a difference in your posture and also lower or eliminate back pain.

It looks really easy, but it is not. The first few times it may be hard to do the poses, but after a while your flexibility will increase and you will find the exercises easier to perform.

If you can go to a studio it is best, because although many of the yoga and Pilates tapes are great you really need to maintain proper posture in order for the exercises to work. If you go to a studio the instructor will be there to guide you and once you get used to it you can then transition to a doing the exercises at home.

If you have a full length mirror, it will really help you keep proper form while you do these poses.

Post 2

I agree with the article that using free weights or dumbbells is an excellent way to get isokinetic exercise. I'm wondering why physical therapists think free weights are better than weight machines. Maybe it's because it's more effective to isolate the muscles that you want to strengthen if you use free weights.

I've been told that if you use dumbbells or weight machines, you should rest 2-3 days to let the muscles recover.

I also like to do exercises where you press different parts of your body against a wall. This strengthens muscles and helps to improve posture.

Post 1

I think that isokinetic exercises like the leg press help to strengthen the quadriceps and hamstring muscles. There are also hip flexor machines that offer various hip exercises that will help reduce inches off of the hips and tone the area as well.

I think that machines geared toward the abdominal muscles are the best exercises to not only strengthen the abdominals but to also protect the lower back. Exercises like sit ups can also be considered lower back exercises because if done correctly they will eliminate lower back pain because it will shrink the stomach which will put les strain on the lower back.

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