4 Exercises To Blow Up Your Muscles While Going Easy On Your Joints

Kirsten Curtis |

Build a better body without moving

If you’re a lifter whose goal is to attain bigger muscles, adding more sets or more weight may not be the best answer, according to a new report from the University of Mississippi. Instead, you need to work those muscles more frequently. But how do you do that without wearing down your joints? The solution, says Chad Waterbury, D.P.T., an L.A.-based physical therapist and trainer, is isometrics—that is, contracting a muscle as hard as you can without actually moving anything.

The isometric holds that Waterbury uses with his clients target the stabilising muscles in their hips. The holds are quite effective for relief of back or knee pain. But to Waterbury’s surprise, he also found that they could increase glute size. This benefit, he realised, didn’t come from occasional practice. Frequency was key: His clients did three isometric holds a day, most days. The holds he uses most successfully—two for the glutes and one each for chest and calves—are shown below.

You can experiment on other muscle groups as well. The targeted muscles should feel as if they’re working hard, and your joints shouldn’t feel any strain or discomfort.

Do these isometric holds three times a day and watch your muscles grow.

DIRECTIONS: Do the exercises 6 days in a row. Start the first day with a 20-second hold in the morning, afternoon, and evening. Every third day, add 5 seconds to each hold. In 3 weeks, you’ll work up to 60 seconds per hold. Do these isometric holds in addition to your regular workouts.


Slide a mini-band around your lower thighs. Lie on your left side, hips and knees bent. Raise your body into a side plank. At the same time, raise your right knee until you feel a contraction in your right outer glute. Hold. Switch sides.



Use a thicker mini-band on your lower thighs and lie on your back, hips and knees bent and heels 12 inches apart. Raise your hips to form a straight line, and push your knees out until you feel a contraction in both glutes. Hold.


Stand holding a Swiss ball between your forearms, your upper arms parallel to the floor. Pull your elbows in against the ball until you feel a contraction in both pecs. Hold.



Rise up on your toes, going as high as you can, feeling the contraction in both of your calf muscles. Hold.

Originally published on menshealth.com

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