7 Isometric Exercises for a Full-Body Workout

This article originally appeared on Greatist.com

Some fitness trends make it seem like in order to get in shape, you have to bounce around like crazy, throw tires into the air, or leave a pool of sweat on the ground after every workout. But believe it or not, you can build serious strength—without even moving a muscle.

It's called isometrics. In these exercises, your muscles tense up, but don't actually move. Say what? Imagine pressing your hands together in a prayer position as hard as you can for 10 seconds. You'll feel tension in your chest and arms, yet your arms didn't move at all. There—you just did an isometric exercise. Holding a plank is another example you're likely familiar with. And if you've ever taken a barre class, you know how hard it can be to simply hold still while your muscles are contracted.

In positions like these, the muscle fibers are activated but since there are equal forces against each other, there is no movement. (Compare this to picking up a 20-pound dumbbell to do biceps curls—the force of the weight pushing down is less than the force you are using to lift the weight up.)

With isometrics, you can take a break from jumping on boxes, lifting heavy weights, or doing endless crunches (your lower back will thank you). And the best part? Isometric exercises have been found to help take off inches around your waist, increase overall strength, and even decrease high blood pressure.

Besides that, you don't need any equipment, and they're actually fun. So if you're looking to take a break from yet another set of heavy lifting, chill out and stay home, try these exercises.

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