Build a balanced workout plan by looking at the following pairs of movement themes. If you’re only getting one part of the pair, try including the other in your next workout!
1. Balance pushing with pulling: These two fundamental movement patterns are both essential to our health and fitness. If you’ve been bench pressing and doing push-ups, try pull-ups and band rows. (We like No. 2 in this workout.) Pulling patterns are helpful to balance out a long car commute or a day at the computer. If you need a new idea for pushing patterns, try this one-arm band walk.
2. Balance chaos with control (and vice versa): If you’re into fast-paced sports or fitness classes, you’re getting lots of reactive movement. Soccer, squash and basketball are all sports where chaos rules and players’ movements are quick and unpredictable. This makes for a fantastic workout, but it can lead to problems if you don’t balance all that reactivity with some controlled movement. Moving with control lets you focus on the quality of your movements and highlights any restrictions or imbalances you wouldn’t notice midgame.
If you’re a good-form-controlled-tempo kind of exerciser, then adding reactivity to your routine will be a brain booster and help with your explosive power, speed, agility and quickness.
3. Balance single-direction with multi-direction: Most strength-training machines and traditional lifts are all one-directional movements. But we live in a three-dimensional world, where life and sports are never quite as tidy. By moving in a variety of ways, you create stress in different vectors and generate tissue that is robust from any angle. (Learn more in this article.) This helps lower your risk of injury. Get started with something simple, like a lunge. Try lunging to the front, side, back or out on an angle.
4. Balance up with down (and vice versa!): Being on your feet is an important way to offset a sedentary workday, but the act of standing up is just as important. In fact, being able to get down to the ground (and up again) has been linked to living longer (and with a better quality of life) as you age. Check out some of our favorite get-up movements.
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