What Are the Benefits of Isokinetic Exercise?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 25 September 2014
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After an injury, isokinetic exercise can help the sufferer rehabilitate quickly. Isokinetic exercise is any exercise performed with specialty equipment that maintains a constant speed of movement no matter how much exertion is placed on the machine. In other words, if a user is sitting on a bicycle and pedaling at one cadence, the machine will adjust the resistance if the user begins to exert more pressure on the pedals, or if the user exerts less pressure on the pedal. This helps maintain a constant speed, and it encourages a high degree of muscle contraction while still allowing the limbs of the body to move freely.

One of the greatest benefits of isokinetic exercise is the ability to challenge the muscles without risking straining or tearing them. This is possible because the resistance of the isokinetic exercise is variable according to how much pressure is exerted, so the level of the workout can be easily controlled. Such a variability is particularly useful for injury rehabilitation, where risk of re-injury is high. Athletes benefit from isokinetic exercise because the muscles are being used at an optimal level — not hard enough that strains can occur, but hard enough that the muscles are getting worked thoroughly.

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Isokinetic exercise also promotes increased range of motion by working the muscles in such a way that they are more balanced in terms of strength with the tendons. Leg muscles in particular are affected positively by such exercise, and many users of isokinetic workout routines often find themselves to be more flexible and balanced than when they started. Isokinetics promote muscle growth as well, preparing the body in turn for more strenuous muscle building activities such as weight lifting.

While isokinetic exercise machines are very expensive — so expensive that even many gyms and fitness centers cannot afford them — some simpler isokinetic machines can be purchased inexpensively and used in the home. The best option for a home isokinetic machine is an exercise bike with adjustable resistance. The exercise bike should have a computer or manual control that limits the amount of revolutions per minute a rider can achieve. This prevents the rider from going too fast to reap any benefits from the exercise. These types of exercises on the exercise bike are a less precise form of isokinetic exercises; for a more precise form that will ensure proper muscle development, one should visit a health center or rehabilitation center equipped with the proper machines.

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