Hi guys,  Kris from Custom Fitness here, your personal trainer in Amarillo.  How can you build better muscle tone by using balance and unilateral exercises?  This may be something totally new for you. Many  people don’t correlate these movements when they are attempting to build muscle tone.  When you think about getting some great-looking arms or great looking legs, you may envision hours on at the gym sweating like a pig on big machines.  That’s not always the case.  There are actually some easy ways to build these movements into your current exercise plan and have your hard work show some results a little faster.  If you have any questions about this or would like to know other ways to pump up your workout, give us a call: 806-322-3188.

Number one: Utilize Balance

When you balance you work every muscle inside and out, causing those fibers to react consistently to keep you in your desired position. Give it a try it by balancing on one leg; try not to move your foot at all.  You’ll notice a slight sway. That is your body responding to the new task you’ve given it and is trying to keep you upright. Anytime you balance, your body is actively working all of your muscle groups continuously while you hold yourself steady. Combining balance with weight or cardio training, you will burn more calories while working the muscles in a different way. Invoking this trick tones those muscles quicker.

A good example of this for cardio would be to jump to one leg, hold for a split second, then jump to the other leg. You only want to hold it long enough to get your muscles to activate.

Number two: Unilateral Movement:

Meaning anything you do that moves one side of the body and then the other. The previous example where you jumped to one leg then the other is an example of this. Another would be something like a lunge where most of your weight is focused in one area.  A arm curl that moves one arm is also unilateral.

If you’ve met me or you’ve been a frequently viewer of our vlogs, you know that I despise wasting time with isolated exercises if muscle tone and burning fat are your key objectives. Sure, there is a time and place of isolated work, but 95% of the time you want to employ multi-body, multi-joint exercises to get multi-function out of your workout than just one single muscle being trained.

Let me show you one of my favorite exercises for this: A Bent Over Row with one arm.  Take your weight in one hand, bend over with feet slightly more than hip-width apart, and bring your weight up towards your rib cage, and back down into a slightly bent arm position. This allows your body to row upward. Using only one weight at a time allows you to rotate through the spine, activate more of your core, and your legs are working.  

How can you incorporate balance too? If you are modifying or are new to exercise, bring your feet together, bend over, and row while keeping your body from swaying too far one way or the other. Another option would be to stand on one leg. You may notice that might be too tricky to keep your balance while rotating your spine when you bring the weight towards your ribcage. If so, put your toes on the ground for added support.  If you are lifting your leg, you may need to make your shoulder rotation a little smaller in order to not fall over.  Regardless of which method you choose you are still getting a lot of work done.

When you balance you are working every muscle inside and out causing the body to activate and reactivate them repeatedly to keep the balance. Balance is great then adding a unilateral movement means you work one side just as much as the other.  If you were to get onto a fully loaded  row machine where you were to pull with both arms simultaneously in a compound row, you aren’t going to be working your arms equally.

Here’s a tip that gets past a lot of the “fitness experts” brought to you by your favorite personal trainer in Amarillo.  Imagine you are on a machine, such as the aforementioned row machine, moving your arms together. Someone walks by you on your right hand side. You turn to look at them and maybe strike up a conversation. What happens is your your right arm (the side you are looking towards)  begins to take over and pushes harder than the left. Your left arm is getting a free ride.

Alternatively, if you do independent, unilateral, exercises, you will naturally work them equally. You don’t have an option for one side to mooch off the other if you are using your body independently on each side. As you are at the gym, remember that you will get more benefit out of free weights – if you know how to use them- than if you were to use a big bulky machine.  That is because you are going to apply more balance, work more of your core, and use your body in a whole new way rather than relying on a machine to keep your body in position.

We have Downsize coming up on August 28th, if you know you want in or would like an application, give us a call. We are only taking 20 participants this round. If you lose a total of 15 inches or more during the 6 week program you will get a 100% refund.  One of my favorite comments from clients who graduate from the program is, “even though the program is over, how do I keep going with it?”  Downsize isn’t a crash diet. We teach you healthy eating habits that you can adopt as a lifestyle change well after the program ends. It is actual food, but we teach you how to eat healthy.  You can share these foods with your family, too. You don’t have to feel like “I’m on a diet, but my family can eat the good stuff.”  No, this is aimed at getting everyone to eat better so you can sit down around the table and share a meal. If you have 20 pounds or 15 inches you’d like to lose in the next 6 weeks, sign up now at our website, facebook page, or comment “I am in!” down below.

As always, if you have any questions about our personal training, nutrition counseling, or group classes and programs, please contact us at: info@customfitness.biz or 806-322-3188. At Custom Fitness we are YOUR personal trainers in Amarillo, Texas. Have a great day everybody.