Sunday, 30 September 2012

Isometric Exercises for Soccer

Isometric exercise or isometrics are type of strength training in which the joint angle and muscle length do not change during contraction. Isometric exercise is a form of resistance training in which the participant uses the muscles of the body to exert a force either against an immovable object or to hold the muscle in a fixed position for a set duration of time. In this type of exercise, the muscle is contracted but does not change length during the exertion of force. Additionally the joint most closely associated with the effort remains static throughout the exercise.

Whilst actions in soccer are mostly dynamic, muscles may be employed isometrically to stabilize body parts whilst other muscles are active. Examples are the muscles in the standing leg during kicking or the muscles of the trunk. In these instances isometric training of these muscles is relevant. It can also be used to target areas of weakness within the range of motion at a particular joint. Various forms of resistance can be used for facilitating isometric training. A partner may provide an opposing force to limb or whole-body motion. The individual may attempt to move a load that is too heavy, for example pushing against a loaded leg press machine. Typically the effort can be held for 6–10 s with a longer period of recovery before a further attempt. Up to 20 repetitions may be performed for large muscle group work, 10–12 for light muscle groups. Electrical stimulation has been used in experimental conditions to elicit maximal contraction and the force generated may exceed that produced voluntarily. Its main use is in rehabilitation. Since the central neural input is bypassed when the muscle is stimulated electrically, this form of increasing strength is not advocated for soccer players.

Some of the common isometric exercises which will definitely improve your strength are discussed here

1. Plank

The plank is done for abdominal improvement. It engages the lot of muscles; in addition to strengthen your abs, you will also condition your back. This is one of the best core exercises that exists.
  • Start out by lying flat on the floor.
  • Slowly raise your body so that you are resting on your toes and forearms.
  • Keep the back flat and abdominal muscle taut.
  • Hold the position for 10-30 seconds.
  • Repeat this 2-3 times.
2. Isometric shoulder raises:

 This exercise is for improving your shoulder strength. 
  • Stand with the feet shoulder-width apart and the knees slightly bent.
  • Grasp the dumbbell in each hand and raise the weight out towards your side until it is at your shoulder length and your arm is parallel to your ground.
  • Hold the position from 10-30 seconds.
  • Repeat this exercise 2-3 times.
If this is too difficult, try lifting weight with one arm at a time until you can handle both weights at a time. 

3. Isometric squats:

This exercise is for quadriceps improvement.
  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your back firmly against a wall.
  • Slowly slide down the wall until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  • If necessary, move your feet away from the wall to ensure your knees do not extend past your toes.
  • Hold the position from 10-30 seconds.
  • Repeat this exercise 2-3 times.
4. Isometric Calf raises:
This exercise is made for strengthen and improving calves.
  • Stand next to a wall on one foot and touch the wall lightly for balance, if necessary, but do not allow yourself to rest against the wall.
  • Rise up onto your toes.
  • Hold the position for 10-30 seconds.
  • Repeat this exercise 2-3 times.
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