Find out What an Isokinetic Muscle Contraction Is

Specialized equipment is needed for this kind of muscle contraction

An isokinetic dynamometer used to diagnose an injury.
Science Photo Library/Getty Images

An isokinetic muscle contraction happens when the muscle contracts and shortens at a constant and consistent rate of speed. It's not a very common type of muscle contraction and requires specialized equipment to produce one. But this type of training is one of the fastest ways of increasing muscle strength and overall muscle endurance.

Isokinetic Equipment

The other types of muscle contractions can be produced just about anywhere, such as in a gym or just by pushing against a wall, and they are how you use your muscles all of the time.

But isokinetic muscle contraction requires special training equipment that increases the load as it senses that the muscle contraction is speeding up. 

An isokinetic dynamometer is necessary to induce isokinetic contractions. This piece of equipment is utilized to measure the speed of isokinetic muscle contractions and to make sure that the speed of such contractions is constant throughout the full range of movement.

Many exercises can be made isokinetic if the equipment is designed for that purpose. For example, a lat pulldown machine or a stationary cycle can be made isokinetic.

Since it's an expensive piece of equipment, an isokinetic dynamometer is not very common in public gyms, schools, universities, or other rec centers. Such equipment can often be found in rehabilitation centers and specialized sport training facilities. Professional sports franchises also often purchase such equipment for their players.

Benefits of Isokinetic Muscle Contractions

The benefit of isokinetic resistance training is that the targeted muscles gain strength evenly and consistently all through the entire range of movement and exercise. Such training it is one of the fastest ways to increase muscle strength.

More Common Muscle Contractions

An isokinetic muscle contraction is a specific type of muscle contraction.

Muscle contractions are also known as muscle fiber activations. They occur when a muscle fiber or group of fibers is signaled by the brain via nerves to activate and increase the tension within the muscle. As they require specific equipment, isokinetic contractions are not the most common type of muscle contraction when it comes to weight training.

The other common types of muscle contractions include:

  • Concentric Muscle Contraction: Tension is increased in the muscle during concentric contractions, and muscle strength is built during this type of contraction. This is the actual lifting phase of an exercise. For example, during a bicep curl, this would be when the arm holding the weight is lifted and brought toward the shoulder area.
  • Eccentric Muscle Contraction: In weight training, this is the phase in which the muscle returns to the starting position of the exercise. For example, during a bicep curl, this would be when the arm holding a weight is returned to the waist area.
  • Isometric Muscle Contraction: Isometric exercises are those that do not cause movement of the joints. An example of an isometric muscle contraction is simply pushing up against a wall.

Continue Reading