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A balanced approach to fitness

October 1, 2015 1:00 am0 commentsViews: 5

(womenworkingout.eps)Every fitness program or routine should be considered with balance in mind. That is, any exercises chosen should be with consideration toward opposing muscles of the same area or joints on the body.

For instance one of the biggest mistakes often seen are with people who do a lot more bench presses or push -ups which both focus on shoulder protraction (think forward motion), while ignoring an equal amount of devotion to exercises involving retraction (think pulling back) of the shoulders like seated rows or reverse flies. This type of imbalance in a routine often leads to a hunched over or obvious protracted setting of the shoulders and bad posture.

Another common mistake leading to imbalance or incomplete development is too much focus on bicep exercises that flex or bend the elbow like dumbbell or barbell curls without devoting enough time to tricep exercises like push downs, dips or close grip pushups that extend the elbow. The biggest violators of this mistake are often women who usually use bicep curls as their ONLY arm exercise.

If it’s a toned look you’re aiming for you will never have visually good looking biceps without properly developed triceps. More importantly, lack of developed or conditioned triceps prevents proper upper body strength in general.

Women generally have less upper body strength than men to begin with so they often struggle with push ups. Overlooking the triceps affect the ability to perform this exercise and are one of the reasons women often struggle more than they should.

Too many leg extension exercises (think straightening the knee) without equal attention to leg curl exercises (think flexing or bending the knee)can actually lead to problems with the knee joint itself. A common mistake from an inexperienced person is focusing solely on leg extensions as their only leg exercise.

The seated leg extension exercise really only focuses on the quadricep muscle directly above the knee. A balanced program includes attention to both the quadriceps (think front of thighs) and hamstrings (think back of thighs).

No equipment? No problem. Two of the best exercises for the legs that include all of the muscles are the squat and the lunge. An added benefit to these exercises, especially the lunge, is that it helps develop the glutes (butt muscles). And we all want a nice………butt muscle.

Finally the most common imbalance in most programs comes from exercises focusing on the core. For those who even bother to include any core in their programs, many concentrate solely on forward flexion exercises (think bending the spine forward like in sit ups or crunches).

A balanced core requires attention to be given to the extender muscles as well (think arching the spine), and lateral flexion (think bending sideways). Without this balance, one of the things you will notice is that you’ll find yourself having to squeeze or hunch your body forward in order to show off that great six-pack.

Most importantly, working on extension exercises as well as lateral flexion exercises will ensure you are incorporating all of the muscles that support your spine. That way you’ll have no problem standing up straight and showing off that six-pack.

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