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Isokinetic Exercises: The Science, Examples and How You Can Benefit?

Isokinetic Exercises

Isokinetic Exercises – An Overview

Isokinetic exercises hold immense potential in your fitness journey, especially during injury recovery. Whether you’re an athlete in rehabilitation or recovering from an injury, isokinetic exercises aid your journey. With constant speed, regardless of the force or resistance applied, isokinetic exercises build muscle functionality while boosting recovery.

What Are Isokinetic Exercises?


Isokinetic exercises are all about keeping things steady. It means doing strength training where you move at a constant speed and use a consistent weight within a certain range of motion.

You’ll often see these workouts done with special equipment like a dynamometer, that controls how hard you have to push. Think of a stationary cycle as a simple example.

But here’s the thing, not all isokinetic exercises need fancy gear. Some use just your body weight or lightweights, and you have to control the speed yourself. In fact, you may even incorporate some beginner level calisthenics.

These exercises are mainly used for recovery and physical therapy to help you get back in shape and stay injury-free. They also help alleviate different types of body pains.

What Happens During Isokinetic Exercises?

In isokinetic exercises, specialized equipment guides you to maintain a steady and controlled speed. This consistent motion is key for effective results. Unlike other workouts where you adjust speed and weight, isokinetic exercises keep you moving at a constant pace. This makes them unique and beneficial for your fitness goals.

The Science – Isometric Muscle Contraction


To really understand the science behind isokinetic exercises, you need to know about the isometric muscle contraction.

Understanding the isometric muscle contraction will help you understand why you’re doing the isokinetic exercise. It will also help you build mind-muscle connection for maximum muscle engagement during your workout.

It’s all about your muscles working to stay the same length while you move, keeping a steady pace. This concept is essential because it’s at the core of how isokinetic exercises work.

To make it simpler, let’s look at the bicep curls exercise in the image as an isokinetic exercise example.

There are two main muscle actions:

  • Concentric Contraction (When you lift the weight): Your muscles get shorter, and your strength is more than enough for the weight. This is a big part of isokinetic exercises.
  • Eccentric Contraction (When you lower the weight): Your muscles lengthen, and your strength is a bit less than the weight. This helps your arm go back to where it started, which is another important aspect of isokinetic exercise.

Both of these actions use your muscle strength. Knowing about isometric muscle contraction helps you get the most out of your isokinetic workouts and reach your fitness goals smoothly.

Isokinetic Exercise Examples & Equipment


Isokinetic exercises are also called Isovelocity exercises. These exercises require special machines to ensure muscle contraction at a steady pace.

These machines are quite expensive, which is why they’re mostly at rehab centers – not in your regular gym.

The specialized machines create consistent resistance either electronically or through hydraulics.

Here is a list of some isometric exercises and the equipment.

  1. Stationary Cycle (Concentric-Concentric): You might have seen this at your gym or spin class. Picture pedaling 50 times per minute, consistently. If the resistance level goes up, you’ll need to pedal harder to keep that steady pace.
  2. Treadmill (Concentric-Eccentric): Some debate whether it’s isokinetic or isotonic, but a treadmill also counts. You can keep your speed steady and use incline to create resistance.
  3. Dynamometers (Concentric-Concentric): These are fancy machines that measure the force you use in a controlled setup. There are different types for various exercises like chest presses or leg squats.
  4. Timing Your Reps (Concentric-Concentric): You can make any exercise isokinetic by counting your reps and keeping a steady pace. For instance, when doing lunges, make sure each motion takes the same amount of time.
  5. Swimming (Eccentric-Eccentric): Swimming is another isokinetic exercise. It gives you constant resistance in the water. Just remember to keep a consistent speed and arm movement.

Without specialized equipment, you may not be able to measure the force. But you’ll still benefit from the isokinetic exercises.

Isokinetic Exercise Examples – No Equipment

If you don’t have the time or resources to go to a rehabilitation center, you can always do isokinetic exercises at home or at the gym. For these isokinetic exercises, you don’t need any special equipment.

You only need to make to make sure you performing these exercises at a steady pace and with resistance.

Here are some no-equipment isokinetic exercises:

  • Isokinetic Squats: Do squats while making sure you go up and down at the same speed.
  • Isokinetic Push-Ups: When doing push-ups, lift and lower your body at a steady pace.
  • Isokinetic Planks: While holding a plank, keep your core muscles engaged without any sudden movements.
  • Isokinetic Lunges: When you lunge forward, do it at a controlled speed, ensuring each lunge takes the same amount of time.
  • Isokinetic Jumping Jacks: During jumping jacks, keep a steady rhythm, making sure your arms and legs move at a constant pace.

These exercises are about maintaining a steady speed and controlled movements – this is what isokinetic training is all about. They can help improve your muscle endurance and overall fitness without any special equipment. However, it is recommended that you wear proper gym shorts or gym tights to ensure maximum efficiency and avoid chafing.

Benefits of Isokinetic Exercises

Isokinetic exercises are different from the normal isotonic and isometric exercises because they need a controlled environment for muscles.

Isokinetic exercise is a huge part of exercise science and sports rehabilitation. Physical and occupational therapists use isokinetic machines to help people recover from injuries, imbalances, and other physiotherapies.

A study shows that professional athletes get their knee muscles strengthened with isokinetic exercises. Another study shows that isokinetic can also treat knee osteoarthritis and people with obesity.

Here are some benefits of isokinetic exercises:

  1. Effective for Recovery

Isokinetic exercises are highly regarded in rehabilitation. They are excellent for recovering from injuries, surgeries, or conditions like strokes. These exercises provide safe and effective ways to rebuild your strength and functionality.

  1. Tailored to Your Needs

One of the best things about isokinetic training is that it can be customized for people with different abilities. Whether you’re an athlete with back pain or someone on the road to recovery, isokinetic exercises can be adjusted to meet your specific needs.

  1. Lower Risk of Injury

Isokinetic exercises are designed with safety in mind. No matter how hard you push, the machine keeps the speed steady, reducing the risk of muscle or tendon injuries. Your physical therapist can set limits on speed and resistance to ensure safe and controlled movements.

  1. Improved Muscle Recovery and Balance

These exercises aren’t just for rehabilitation – they can also help with muscle recovery and balance. Studies have shown they can increase muscle strength and address muscle imbalances. This can be particularly helpful for individuals with conditions like Down’s syndrome.

  1. Pain Relief

Isokinetic exercises may help ease pain, especially in people dealing with knee osteoarthritis. These exercises can keep your joints functioning well and minimize discomfort, making them a valuable part of pain management. They build knee strength, helping you recover from pain and prevent it in the future.

  1. Precise Muscle Workouts and Analysis

Isokinetic exercises provide precise workouts by keeping resistance consistent throughout your movements. This controlled resistance is great for targeting specific muscles effectively. Plus, it allows therapists to track your progress objectively.

  1. Suitable for Many

Isokinetic exercises are versatile and can benefit a wide range of people. Whether you have osteoarthritis, have had a stroke, deal with obesity, or have a muscle injury, these exercises can be adapted to your needs.

  1. Better Quality of Life

Beyond physical benefits, isokinetic exercises can improve your overall quality of life. They enhance muscle tone, strength, flexibility, balance, and coordination. This means you’ll find daily activities easier. They can even boost your cognitive function and well-being, especially as you age. You can also do running and strength workouts to stay young.


Isokinetic exercises are absolutely risk-free. In fact, they’re considered the safest method of training when you’re in post-recovery phase.

The controlled environment for your muscles is what makes the exercises efficient for injuries and recoveries.

Isokinetic vs Isotonic vs Isometric

As mentioned before, isokinetic exercises promote muscle contraction in a controlled environment.

Whereas isotonic and isometric exercises are more common and don’t require a controlled environment. However, you can find somewhat similarities to isokinetic exercises.

Isometric Exercises

These are strength exercises where your muscles contract while you hold a still position.

Isotonic Exercises

These are the everyday workouts you do at the gym which involves a range of motion. It involves your muscles contracting – either shortening or lengthening.

Find out more about isometric and isotonic exercises though examples, differences, and benefits.


Key Takeaways

To recap, isokinetic exercises are incredible for many reasons:

  • Recover: Safe recovery with isokinetic exercises.
  • Customizable: Adaptable for all fitness levels.
  • Safety First: Minimize injury risk.
  • Stronger Muscles: Boost strength, balance, and recovery.
  • Pain Management: Useful for knee osteoarthritis.
  • Precision Workouts: Target specific muscles effectively.
  • Versatile: Suitable for various health conditions.
  • Better Life: Enhance overall well-being.
  • Pro Tip: Consult a pro, start slow, and enjoy the benefits!

Take charge of your health and fitness journey with isokinetic exercises. Whatever your goals or fitness levels, they offer a safe and effective path to a healthier you.

Get started today!


What are 3 examples of isokinetic exercises?

Leg extensions, shoulder presses and bicep curls are examples of isokinetic exercises. Leg extensions target your quads and hamstrings by adding resistance for improved leg strength. With shoulder presses, you engage your front, side and rear delts to build strength. Lastly, bicep curls also engage your bicep muscles through constant movement for boosted arm strength. More isokinetic exercises include swimming, brisk walking. Pushups, etc.

Is Pilates isometric or isotonic?

Pilates is considered an isotonic form of exercise. Isotonic exercises involve muscle contractions with a range of motion, where the muscle length changes during the movement. In Pilates, movements like leg lifts, arm circles, and spinal twists contract your muscles and lengthen them, making it an isotonic workout.

However, some Pilates exercises may incorporate isometric elements, where muscles contract without changing in length. These may include holding a plank position. Overall, Pilates combines both isotonic and isometric exercises to promote strength, flexibility, and stability.

What is the difference between isokinetic and isotonic exercises?

The basic differences between the 3 is – isokinetic exercises are about steady speed, isometric about holding a position, and isotonic exercises involve muscles changing length as you move.

Isokinetic exercises are when you move your muscles at a steady, unchanging speed against consistent resistance. For example, when you pedal a stationary bike at the same speed, no matter how hard you pedal, it’s isokinetic.

Isometric exercises involve a position where your muscles are working hard but not changing length. Think of holding a plank or pushing against an immovable wall. Your muscles contract, but you don’t move.

Lastly, isotonic exercises are the everyday exercises you’re probably most familiar with. In isotonic exercises, your muscles change length as you move through a range of motion. For instance, when you lift weights, like doing bicep curls or squats, your muscles get shorter and longer as you lift and lower the weights.

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