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Isokinetic Exercises: Definition, Benefits, and Programming

What are Isokinetic Exercises?

Isokinetic exercises involve trainees performing activities at a steady pace, regardless of the force output. This is typically achieved through the use of specialized machines, which use systems (like hydraulics) to adjust the resistance based on the force output automatically. As a result, the muscles are trained consistently through the full range of motion, and the tempo is kept steady to help trainees build strength and regain their functional capacity.

What Benefits Do Isokinetic Exercises Offer

Ideal for Recovery

Isokinetic exercises are one of the safest ways to exercise because they allow for a high degree of control over the tempo, resistance, and range of motion. 

People recovering from injury, surgery, or illness can safely perform isokinetic activities to build strength and muscle.

Targeted Muscle Training

The high degree of control provided by isokinetic machines allows trainees to target the correct muscles and provide the necessary overload, even if they don’t have much experience with resistance training.

Regulate Effort and Range of Motion

Since isokinetic machines adjust the resistance based on the trainee’s force output, the tempo remains the same, and there is no risk of failing to complete a repetition or experiencing a sudden movement that can aggravate an old injury.

Additionally, many isokinetic machines have built-in options for controlling the range of motion. That way, each trainee can train through a range of motion they can handle comfortably.

Accurate Performance Monitoring

Isokinetic machines record numerous variables, including the change in resistance and force output during an activity. This allows specialists to closely monitor each client and their weekly progression.

On that note, Hevy Coach allows you to record these values for your clients and monitor their performance from week to week. 

Even if a specific movement is not part of our exercise library, you can create unlimited custom exercises for your clients and track the variables that matter most.

Suitable For Many People

Given the high degree of control during isokinetic exercises and the ability to provide an overload, these movements are suitable for many people––for example, top-level athletes recovering from injuries and elderly individuals looking to regain their fitness capacity.


1. How are isokinetic and isotonic exercises different?

Isokinetic movements are done with a constant tempo that’s regulated by a system (e.g., hydraulics) in the machine, regardless of the trainee’s force output. In contrast, isotonic exercises are those where trainees must overcome the same resistance, but the range of motion and speed can vary.

2. Who can benefit from isokinetic exercises?

Trainees recovering from injuries, doing physical therapy, or trying to regain their fitness capacity after a long break (especially due to an injury or illness) can benefit greatly from isokinetic movements.

3. Are isokinetic movements good for weight loss?

While isokinetic movements burn some calories and can help trainees hold onto more muscle while losing body fat, this is not their primary purpose. Plus, the most important thing for weight loss is creating and sustaining a calorie deficit through diet improvements.

4. Can isokinetic exercises replace traditional strength training?

Despite their numerous benefits, isokinetic exercises are more useful in rehab and should not replace the wide range of activities in strength training. Plus, isokinetic machines are expensive and more difficult to access, which can stop people from working out consistently.

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