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Isometrics may help your game in ways you didn't expect.
Isometric contractions activate muscle fibers without placing stress on your joints. The more muscle fibers you build, the stronger you become. Isometric muscle contractions are static contractions. This occurs when you apply the same amount of force as resistance while holding the contraction. Most basketball players and trainers only use isometric training for rehabilitation and building resistance to movement.
It's Not for Jump Training
Isometric exercises are widely used to train for sports that require static upper- and lower-body strength such as wrestling or gymnastics. However, they are not the best method for dynamic actions like jumping or sprinting. One study completed at Australia's Southern Cross University showed that training with heavy weights improved vertical jump more effectively than isometric training. This study also showed that strength gains from isometric exercises usually plateaued between six and eight weeks, while training with heavy weights continued to increase vertical jump.
Isometrics Build and Maintain Strength
While isometric training may not be the most effective method for building running or jumping ability in basketball, it is often used for rehabilitation after an injury. Isometric contractions put little strain on the joints while building and maintaining strength. For example, isometric leg exercises can be used to build and maintain strength while healing from a hyperextended knee, which is a common injury for basketball players. Exercises such as a single straight-leg raise or a wall sit may be used in a clinical therapy plan. Always consult a trained clinician to determine the right rehabilitation plan for you.
Isometrics Teach Resistance to Movement
Isometrics can also be used to teach an athlete how to resist movement. This is important for boxing out your opponent before going up for a rebound and standing your ground while defending the hole. During an isometric contraction, the amount of force you exert matches the resistance so that there is no movement. For example, an isometric pushup involves getting your body in a pushup position and stopping just before your chest goes to the floor. Hold this position for 30 seconds to a minute before coming back up the starting position. This completes one repetition.
Warnings and Cautions
If you have high blood pressure or any type of heart issue, do not attempt to add isometric exercises to your routine. Isometrics significantly raise your heart rate during the contraction. It is important for anyone practicing isometrics to take extra precaution to breathe throughout the exercise -- especially while holding the contraction -- to keep oxygen flowing to your muscles.