Isometric Exercises Before Bed

If someone made a list of the top fitness secrets, doing isometric exercises before bed would have to be in the top 10.

Many people have a dilemma. It would be best if they exercised, and they’re busy, and they only have so much time in the day.

Regular exercise, after all, is part of maintaining the body.

Also, it’s essential to do exercises that benefit in several dimensions. For example, you want to maintain cardiovascular fitness, strength, and flexibility simultaneously. While an excellent overall exercise, walking does little for strength and flexibility. Lifting weights may not raise the heart rate much, making it a dubious cardiovascular exercise. Very few exercises offer the complete package.

Oh, and then let’s add another facet to body maintenance that often gets overlooked in these exercise-focused articles: nutrition. Your diet has an even more significant impact on factors like your weight than exercise. Are you eating restaurant food all the time? Unless someone is preparing home-cooked meals for you regularly, cooking, work, school, whatever, can add to the time crunch. Shopping, preparing food, cooking, and cleaning up takes time.

You need a trick, a shortcut.

Isometric exercise might be the secret to a well-rounded exercise program and fitting in exercise to your day. You can use them to build strength and flexibility, and they won’t necessarily upset your sleep as more rigorous exercise will. Not only that, but you don’t need to go out to a gym, and they’re convenient. They’re also very time-efficient. They typically exercise whole groups of muscles at once.

Walking, isometrics, and only a few other forms of exercise can fit in your day before bed without interrupting your sleep.

You need to know an isometric routine just in case

Getting exercise can be a challenge for some people in certain situations. Maybe they wake up too late. Perhaps it’s a matter of where they’re living. Maybe they can’t get to a gym for one reason or another. Whatever.

Your health is one of your most precious possessions. When your body works right, your performance is at its peak.

Isometric exercises before sleep are almost a secret, though examples of their effectiveness and validity are all around. Furthermore, it’s well known with examples all over the internet and in books published over the last 150-or-so years.

Knowing about this “secret” is an excellent way of meeting the challenge of sleeping well, getting in the best shape possible, and feeling and functioning well.

Why isometric exercise isn’t popular

Isometric exercises are well known but aren’t widely practiced; however, once in a while, they become popular and then fade away.

Why is this? Weightlifting enthusiasts point to the belief that the exercises don’t look impressive. Instead, they appear to be silly. You’re pressing against a wall, a floor, yourself. You’re pulling against a chain, a strap, something like that, and it’s not as impressive as lifting a barbell with a bunch of weight.

In other words, stupid vanity and pride. That will get you in trouble or limit your experience and performance every time.

Another strike against isometric popularity comes from the exercise and personal fitness industry. There’s not much to buy. Examples of isometric devices are the Bullworker or one of the isometric belts. Charles Atlas is famous for his isometric bodybuilding course, and there are others. (Do you know of any other isometric devices? Please comment below if you do.)

Further, once you get the hang of the breathing, you don’t need anyone to show you how to have you push against an immovable object like the ground or a wall. There’s little need for coaching.

There are a few principles to follow, too. For example, you want to work one muscle against another at different contraction levels.

It can be the secret to overall fitness, especially since it doesn’t usually lead to soreness the next day, and a modest 10-minute routine won’t mess up your sleep.

Bronze Bow Publishing is a good resource for books and DVDs (especially the Miracle 7, depending on your fitness goals), but YouTube and the internet are full of other free resources. You can still procure the Charles Atlas course on a website.

But even if your backup routine is simply “planking” when your day has been too complicated for exercise, isometric exercise can help you meet your fitness goals and maintain your personal performance.

You can also add a few stretching moves into the mix easily—another good fitness activity before bed.


James Cobb, RN, MSN, is an emergency department nurse and the founder of the Dream Recovery System. His goal is to provide his readers with simple, actionable ways to improve their health and maximize their quality of life. He has completed the Charles Atlas course, read and worked out with several of John Peterson’s isometric exercise books, and studied isometric exercise for twenty years.


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