Life is busy and it can be hard to fit a workout into your daily routine. However, there is a way to maintain your strength without ever going into a gym. It’s called isometric exercise, or isometrics for short.

Isometrics is a form of strength training that doesn’t change your muscle length when you contract your muscle. Typical strength training depends on moving weights through a certain range of motion. Isometrics is performed in a static position with little to no movement of your limbs and doesn’t require any equipment or weights. To achieve benefits with isometrics, it is recommended that you perform each exercise for at least ten seconds.

Still unsure about what an isometric exercise is? Imagine yourself pushing against a wall or trying to open a stuck window. Your limbs don’t move, but you are still exerting yourself. You see, even if the object doesn’t move, you’re still working your muscles and thus getting stronger.

There are literally hundreds of ways to perform isometric exercise. But, here are some ideas just to get you started:


While sitting, tighten your abdominal muscles and lift your feet a few inches off the floor. You should feel the exertion in your abs and lower back. To make it harder, push down on your knees with your hands, and try not to let your feet touch the floor.

Palms Together

Push your palms against each other as hard as you can. You should hold for a minimum of ten seconds.

Strengthen Your Neck

You can either sit or stand for this one. Clasp your hands behind your head, pull your elbows out wide, and then push your head back using your neck muscles. At the same time, try to push your head forward with your hands. This exercise is great for your neck and upper back muscles.

Flex That Foot

While sitting, put your right hand on the outside edge of your right foot, and your left hand on the outside edge of your left foot. Push you feet out as hard as you can, and try to push inward with your hands.

Leg Lift

While standing, lift your right leg, keeping your knee bent. Try to push down on your leg with your right hand and then repeat the exercise on your left leg.

What do you think? It may seem awkward at first, but after awhile you’ll be able to incorporate these simple exercises into your daily routine without even thinking. And this list is just the start. You can literally come up with hundreds of similar exercises, as long as the movement involves one muscle or limb opposing another one.

While isometrics are a great way to maintain strength, it is recommended that you incorporate them into a broader strength training regimen. So, use the gym to make your biggest strength gains, and use isometrics just to maintain your strength on the off days.

Author's Bio: 

Brian values the ability of all ages to learn from the power of stories. His mission is to write about health conditions, educational topics, and life situations in an entertaining way in order to help children understand their own health conditions and daily circumstances. See more at

Brian Wu graduated with a Bachelor's Science Degree in Physiology and Neurobiology. Currently, he holds a Ph.D. and is an MD Candidate (KSOM, USC) in integrative biology and disease.