Friday, March 13, 2015

The Balanced Body

Remember when you were a child and you were taught to eat a “balanced” diet?  This meant eating the necessary servings from the various food groups.  When approaching an exercise routine or fitness program, you should aim for a “balanced” body.  Being in balance is making sure you have a good mixture of flexibility, cardio and strength training that works all parts of the body.
Is your body out of balance?  According to Erin Bried of Self magazine, there are five easy tests you can take to see how in balance your body is. This series requires no equipment and targets potential imbalances that, over time, can lead to pain, injury and decreased performance. 
Overhead Squat
This tests the range of motion in the hips, back and shoulders. Perform this routine with the feet hip-width apart, holding a light bar overhead.  Bend your knees and sit back to squat, keeping the body upright.  You ace this test if you can perform 10 reps aiming to get hips below parallel without leaning forward.
Single-Leg Lift
This tests the glutes (butt muscles) and core (abdominals) strength and your balance. Perform this exercise balancing on the right leg, bend the knee slightly as you hinge forward and reach your left hand to the floor in front of the right foot then stand up.  You pass this test if you can do 10 reps without losing your balance and even better if you do it without wavering.  Repeat on your opposite side.
Alternating Plan Lift
This exercise focuses on core strength.  Do a plank on forearms and toes.  Lift your right arm and left leg and extend both, then lower them. If you have a strong core, you should be able to do 10 reps per side, alternating sides.  Imagine you are balancing a full glass of water on your lower back. Keep your torso stationary so that the water doesn't spill.
Single-Leg Bridge
This tests your core, back and hip strength.  Lie on your back, arms at your sides, knees bent and feet flat.  Lift your left foot, knee bent at 90 degrees.  Lift hips, pause then lower.  Too successfully pass this test you should perform 10 reps, keeping your hips level instead of dipping them as you lift and lower.  Repeat on the opposite side.
Shoulder Stretch
This tests the flexibility in your shoulders and chest.  Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Reach your right arm up, left arm down.  Bend elbows behind your back, reaching your fingertips toward each other in middle of upper back.  You get an “A” if you can hold this for 30 seconds, working to clasp your hands together. Repeat on the other side.

HERE’S TO BEING FIT FOR LIFE! Chris is a Certified Personal Trainer, USA Triathlon Level 1 Coach, Group Exercise Instructor, exercise and endurance enthusiast.  He competes yearly in numerous running races, marathons, ultra marathons, triathlons and other endurance events.  He is a member of the 2015 QT2 Systems Advanced Team.

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