Isometric vs Plyometric Exercises: The Pros and Cons

There are three types of muscles contractions that help build strength: isometric, eccentric and concentric. Isometric contractions are the basis of isometric exercises, while eccentric and concentric contractions are used in plyometric exercises. Each of these types of exercises has its pros and cons. This guide will examine the differences between these exercises and talk about the pros and cons of each.

What Are Isometric Exercises?

Isometric exercise uses isometric contraction to build muscle strength, rather than eccentric or concentric contraction, described below in plyometric exercises. Isometric contraction exerts force on the muscle, but does not change its length. Resistance is the key to stronger muscles, and isometric contraction gives you this resistance without having to move. The idea behind isometric exercise is that you don’t have to move a weight or your muscles to give them a workout.

Examples of Isometric Exercises

  • Pushing against a wall
  • Plank pose, a yoga position
  • Carrying groceries or other objects

Pros of Isometric Exercises

  • You can perform them at any time and in any place.
  • There’s no need for any exercise equipment.
  • The exercises are short, so they can be done even when you don’t have much time for exercise.
  • You can be doing an isometric exercise without anyone even knowing you’re doing it.
  • They work muscles that you use for everyday activities, so it increases your endurance for things like carrying boxes or squatting down.
  • These exercises activate muscle fibers that help your muscles get stronger during strength training.
  • They develop strength to push, pull and hold objects.
  • There is little pain associated with isometric exercise.

Cons of Isometric Exercise

  • They are not a replacement for a full body workout.
  • These exercises restrict blood flow, so can be dangerous for those with high blood pressure or heart problems.
  • When performing an isometric exercise, only the position of the muscles in that exercise is strengthened, not the full-range of motions.

Some of these disadvantages can be minimized by combining these exercises with other training programs.

What Are Plyometric Exercises?

As discussed earlier, plyometric exercises use eccentric and concentric contractions to build muscle strength. Eccentric contraction occurs when the muscles are lowered or lengthened during an exercise. Concentric contraction, on the other hand, is when the muscles contract and become shorter.

Plyometric exercises are those exercises that use high-force eccentric contractions followed quickly by concentric contractions. This type of training is often known as stretch shortening cycle or shock training and usually involves some kind of jumping.

Types of Plyometric Exercises

  • Depth jumping
  • Skipping
  • Bounding
  • Jumping rope
  • Hopping
  • Lunges
  • Jump squats
  • Clap pushups

Pros of Plyometric Exercise

  • These exercises can create explosive power in athletes of power sports such as football, basketball, etc.
  • Since these exercises shock your system, you’ll see results faster.

Cons of Plyometric Exercise

  • These high intensity exercises can cause tremendous strain on muscles, joints and bones in those who are not conditioned for it.
  • Plyometric exercise is not recommended for young people that are still growing.
  • Done incorrectly, these exercises can cause injury.
  • Overdoing this type of training, as with any training, makes it less effective as your body gets used to it.
  • In addition, this training can add stress to your knees and overtraining can cause injury.

Knowing what different exercises do for you is a key component in developing a workout regimen for you. Using this guide, you can decide what type of exercise will give you the most benefit.


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  • Aline

    This is a well written article. Clearly explains what is isometric and plyometric exercise, and the pros and cons. Thank you! ~Aline

  • Jarell Lindsey

    It isn’t true that only the position of muscle worked for an isometric exercise gets strengthened. When you do an isometric exercise, the WHOLE muscle gets strengthened, not just a specific angle. For that to be true, the muscle would have to contract it parts, but which it doesn’t. When a muscle contracts, the ENTIRE muscle contracts, the only thing that changes is the strength of the contraction. Also, there should be no problem with blood flow if one properly breathes during a movement.