Isometric: Definition and What It Is

Medically and clinically reviewed by Jonathan Lee, MD and Dylan Peterson, PT, DPT

Isometric Definition and Meaning

Isometric refers to a type of muscle contraction where the muscle length remains constant while generating force. Isometric exercises or actions involve maintaining a static position, engaging muscles without as much bending at the joints or moving the affected body parts. Essentially, you're holding a position, resisting against an immovable object or the force of gravity. For example, planks and wall sits are isometric exercises because your muscles are working, but there's no joint movement, as opposed to dynamic movements like running, lunges, and jump squats. Isometric exercises also tend to be low impact.

Isometric Exercise Examples

Several types of exercises and activities involve isometric contractions:

  • Plank: Holding your body in a straight line from head to heels.

  • Wall Sit: Leaning against a wall and holding a seated position.

  • Isometric Push-up: Holding the push-up position at the bottom of the movement.

  • Banded Biceps Curl: Holding the arm at a 90-degree angle.

Benefits of Isometric Exercises

Isometric exercises are beneficial for building muscle endurance and strength over time. While isometric exercises can be especially useful for rehabilitation purposes or for individuals who may not be able to perform dynamic exercises due to injury or joint pain (say, from arthritis), they’re good for anyone to incorporate into a well-rounded exercise regimen. In fact, a study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that among their many benefits, isometric exercises can also help lower blood pressure.

Isometric vs. Isotonic Exercises

While isometric exercises involve muscle contractions without movement, isotonic exercises, on the other hand, involve muscle contractions with movement. In isotonic exercises, the muscle length changes, like when you do a pull-up or bench press or go for a run. By adding a long pause to an exercise, like the top part of a glute bridge for example, you can build isometric contractions into most exercises.  

How Hinge Health Can Help You 

If you have joint or muscle pain that makes it hard to move, you can get the relief you’ve been looking for with Hinge Health’s online exercise therapy program.

The best part: You don’t have to leave your home because our program is digital. That means you can easily get the care you need through our app, when and where it works for you. 

Through our program, you’ll have access to therapeutic exercises and stretches for your condition. 

Additionally, you’ll have a personal care team to guide, support, and tailor our program to you. See if you qualify for Hinge Health and confirm free coverage through your employer or benefit plan here.

This article and its contents are provided for educational and informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice or professional services specific to you or your medical condition.


  1. Edwards, J. J., Deenmamode, A. H. P., Griffiths, M., Arnold, O., Cooper, N. J., Wiles, J. D., & O’Driscoll, J. M. (2023). Exercise training and resting blood pressure: a large-scale pairwise and network meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 57, 1317–1326. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2022-106503

  2. Mills, A. (n.d.). Isometric Exercises: Examples, Benefits, and Applications. NASM. 

  3. Onwunzo, C. N., Igwe, S. E., Umunnah, J. O., Uchenwoke, C. I., & Ezugwu, U. A. (2021). Effects of Isometric Strengthening Exercises on Pain and Disability Among Patients With Knee Osteoarthritis. Cureus, 13(10). doi:10.7759/cureus.18972

Related Terms