Monday, April 28, 2008

Strength, Flexibility, Balance

Strength, flexibility, and balance are all parts of your one whole. Without one the other three are ultimately doomed to fail. If we are not strong then we can not possibly balance ourselves when we are lifting for strength. If we are not flexible then we can not possibly move within our full range of motion getting the optimal benefit from whatever fitness move we are trying to do. If we are not balanced, then we will fall when we lift and when we stretch.

It seems like we fall into one category or another, but mostly into the strength or flexible category. Often we will see mostly men lifting to get strong, often neglecting certain areas that should be worked more than others. With women we see the opposite and they usually go the flexibility or balance route more so than the strength route in fear of becoming bulky.

In all fitness we need to have all three. I have been working on a plan to incorporate all three of them. I have taken ideas from articles I have read and past experiences and this is what I have come up with.

In the mornings three days out of the week comes my strength. I am trying to build up to more complex movements, but mostly focus on my main areas of my body. My chest, back, shoulders, quadriceps/hamstrings/glutes. I do dumb bell bench press to isolate each arm separately to work my chest and upper arms. I do leg press to focus on my quads/hams/glutes. I also know that squats may or may not be better for me, but this is what I choose to do for now. I do bent over dumb bell rows again to isolate my arms and to provide a wider range of motion for my lats. I finish with pull ups/chin ups to work basically everything, my shoulders, biceps, triceps, lats, traps, delts, and even a little of my abs for good measure.

In the evenings I take a chapter from yoga/pilates and work on conditioning my core and lengthening and stretching my muscles as well as adding flexibility. I like to do this in the evenings as it tends to relax me a little more and it's not as intensive. I try to do this every day, especially on my strength days to help get the tension out.

Balance is going to be coming by way of Ray Allen and men's fitness. I read an article about him and it shows him doing different things for balance. I found it interesting looking at him standing on one foot usually with a band around his quads, knees, or ankles and then throwing him things, medicine balls and the like. I think doing some off balance things such as using a wobble board, or a bosu ball, or just standing on a pillow once or twice a week and just moving will help to incorporate some of the smaller stabilizer muscles. I know that you shouldn't be doing everything with an aid ( bosu ball ) since you won't be getting the strength bang for your buck as you can not lift as much weight, but once or twice in a week should help out your balance.

I know this one is lengthy and technical or at least more technical than previous posts, but I wanted to share a little insight on where I was in my 365 Fit goals and plan so that you can see that I am a real person, doing real things, just like you. In the following days/weeks I will be going a little more in depth on each of the three areas, strength, flexibility, and balance and will hopefully clear up things, or add too things as we go along.

Here is to all of you doing your thing and getting 365 Fit, even if the rest of the world isn't. Good things.

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