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Teaching the Benefits of Isotonic and Isometric Exercises in PE

By Dr. Robert Pangrazi, Human Kinetics Author, Professor Emeritus ASU

I focus solely on this aerobic fitness routine for this post because it is a unique sequence that can teach the benefits of both isometric and isotonic exercises. Most of the exercises we teach in physical education are isotonic (contracting muscles shorten). However, isometric exercises (muscles contract without movement of body parts) also develop strength. This routine is a great way to teach students both types of exercises.


Partners are needed in this lesson and I have found that partner resistance exercises work best when pairs are somewhat similar in size. I usually ask the class to line up in order from tallest to shortest and take a partner next to them. Levers for the activity will then have similar in length, making it easier for students to use proper technique. The exercises are performed through the full range of motion at each joint and should take 8 to 12 seconds to complete. The partner providing the resistance counts the duration of the exercise; positions are then reversed.


View K-2 Lesson Plan

View 3-4 Lesson Plan

View 5-8 Lesson Plan


Bob PangraziBob Pangrazi, PhD, taught for 31 years at Arizona State University in the department of exercise science and physical education and is now a professor emeritus. He is a best-selling author of numerous books and texts over the years, including multiple editions of Dynamic Physical Education for Elementary School ChildrenThis text is made even more practical in release of the 19th edition with the free interactive website Dynamic PE ASAP

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