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

Isokinetic Exercises

Isokinetic Exercises are career-saving exercises which benefit thousands of athletes every year.

Today, we will talk about everything you need to know about it, the science behind, and how they can benefit you?


Iso means equal.

Definition of Isokinetic is ‘at a constant pace’.

What are Isokinetic Exercises?

Isokinetic Exercises are strength training workouts, which make you work at a constant pace or consistent weight at a range of motion.

Most Isokinetic Exercises use specialized equipment, or dynamometer, which controls the amount of strength you exert. The stationary cycle is a basic example.

However, some isokinetic exercises use bodyweight or other lightweights but need to be worked manually at a constant pace.

Isokinetic exercises are mostly used for recovery and physical therapy.

What happens during Isokinetic Exercises?

During the isokinetic exercise, the specialized equipment puts you on a controlled and constant speed.

The strength gained from Isometric exercises is dependent on the specialized equipment. You can set the speed or weight yourself, but the motion remains consistent.

The Science – Isometric Muscle Contraction

Isometric muscle contraction occurs when the muscles contract and shorten during the motion in a constant speed.

There are two main types of muscle contractions: concentric and eccentric.

Let’s take an example of machine bicep curls.

Concentric: When the weight is pulled, the muscles shorten. Your strength exertion is more than the given weight.

Eccentric: When you curl back down the weight, the muscle lengthens. Your strength is less than the weight – therefore, the weight is bringing your arm to back to its initial position.

There is strength used in both moves. If you let loose the weight, your arm will snap back.

Examples & Equipment

Isokinetic exercises are not very common. They are also called Isovelocity exercises – which require a special machine that contracts muscles at a constant pace.

Most isokinetic machines are expensive and not usually found at your local gym. They are mostly found at rehabilitation centers.

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 can be found at your local gym or spin class. Imagine you pedal at 50 revolutions per minute – at resistance level 1. If your trainer increases the resistance level at 3, you need to pedal harder and keep the speed constant. That is a perfect example of an isokinetic exercise
  2. Treadmill is another great example but some would argue it to be an isotonic workout. Your speed can be constant throughout and incline can act as resistance. Adding resistance makes it an isometric exercise.
  3. Dynamometers are specialized equipment which measures and records the force output in a controlled environment. Exerbotics manufactures proprietary isokinetic machines that include nucleus abdominal, contralateral hamstring, chest press, shoulder press, leg press, and squats.
  4. Timing your reps is one manual way of working out at a constant pace. For instance, count of every motion when you squat, to keep a constant speed in your set. This one of the manual ways of keeping a constant speed and motion.
  5. Swimming is another example of keeping constant motion as it provides equal resistance through the water. However, you need to make a conscious effort to keep your speed and arm movement at a constant pace.

Without specialized equipment, you may not be able to measure the force but still, benefit from the 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.

Part of the studies above shows that these exercises:

  • Improve lean mass
  • Reduce body fat
  • Increase muscle strength
  • Increase muscle flexibility
  • Prevent injury


One of the major benefits of isokinetic exercises is the control injury-risk When you set a certain speed, the equipment won’t let you push harder than necessary.

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

Isotonic Exercises 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.

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