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THE SECRET TO LIFTING HEAVY: BALANCE

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Ever try to get your one-rep max up on the bench press only to realize that you haven’t been able to increase it by more than a few pounds?  It may sound counter intuitive at first, but the reason you aren’t able to bench, squat, pull, push, or shove more weight may very well be because your body’s stabilization system is weak.

 

Our physical implementations are extremely complex in nature.  Things work in perfect conjunction to perform the exact motions we need. Our bodies’ stabilization systems are one way of protecting ourselves from injury.  If you can’t properly stabilize or balance something, why would your body allow you to move it?  Also, if your body is spending energy trying to stabilize itself, less energy is devoted to actually lifting the weight.  You’re not a stone statue—the ability to even stand still while curling weight requires energy in more places than just your biceps. If your stabilization system is weak or underdeveloped, you’ll be spending a lot of time consciously balancing yourself and wasting energy trying to keep still and stable.  More of that effort could’ve gone into lifting the weight and strengthening the target muscle group.  The better your stabilization system is, the more efficient your body will be. So, how do we improve our stabilization system? Fitness expert Steve Lam of Slam Dynamics recommends a range of exercises that simulate that type of environment for your body:

Exercise Ball Dumbbell Bench Presses

Helps to Improve: Bench Press Strength and Core

Equipment:

  • Exercise Ball
  • 2 Dumbbells of a challenging weight that you can chest press for 12 – 16 reps on a flat bench

The Movement:

  1. Hold the dumbbells and sit on the ball.
  2. Gently lie back until your upper back is flat against the ball.
  3. Position the dumbbells as if you’re performing a bench press with the arms bent at 90 degrees.
  4. Instead of doing a chest press with both weight simultaneously, alternate the pressing.
  5. Press one arm up and back down to 90 degrees.
  6. Press the other arm up and back down to 90 degrees.
  7. Repeat so that each arm has 8 reps and rest for 1 minute.
 

Exercise Ball Dumbbell Military Presses

Helps to Improve: Military Press Strength and Core

Equipment:

  • Exercise Ball
  • 2 Dumbbells of a challenging weight that you can shoulder press for 12 – 16 reps on a seated bench

The Movement:

  1. Hold the dumbbells and sit on the ball.
  2. Position the dumbbells as if you’re performing a military press with the arms bent at 90 degrees.
  3. Instead of doing a military press with both weight simultaneously, alternate the pressing.
  4. Press one arm up and back down to 90 degrees.
  5. Press the other arm up and back down to 90 degrees.
  6. Repeat so that each arm has 8 reps and rest for 1 minute.
  7. Perform this for 3 sets.

BOSU Ball Weighted Squats

Helps to Improve: Squat Strength and Core

Equipment:

  • 2 BOSU Balls
  • 2 Dumbbells of a challenging weight that you can squat for 12 – 16 reps on a flat floor

The Movement:

  1. Align the BOSU balls next to each other.
  2. Hold the dumbbells by your side and stand on the BOSU balls.
  3. When you have stabilized, perform a full squat with the dumbbells at your side.
  4. Repeat for 8 reps and rest for 1 minute.
  5. Perform for 3 sets.

BOSU Ball Dumbbell Curls

Helps to Improve: Curling Strength and Core

Equipment:

  • 2 BOSU Balls
  • 2 Dumbbells of a challenging weight that you can curl for 12 – 16 reps

The Movement:

  1. Align the BOSU balls next to each other.
  2. Hold the dumbbells by your side and stand on the BOSU balls.
  3. When you have stabilized, perform a full curl with one arm.
  4. Now, perform a full curl with the other arm.
  5. Repeat so that each arm has 8 reps and rest for 1 minute.
  6. Perform for 3 sets.

BOSU Ball Dumbbell Squat to Curl to Military Press

Helps to Improve: Overall Balance for Standing Exercises and Core

Equipment:

  • 2 BOSU balls
  • 2 Dumbbells of a challenging weight that you can curl for 12 – 16 reps

The Movement:

  1. Align the BOSU balls next to each other.
  2. Hold the dumbbells by your side and stand on the BOSU balls.
  3. When you have stabilized, perform a full squat with the dumbbells at your side.
  4. When you stand back up, curl the dumbbells up.  And in one fluid motion, go into the military press.
  5. When you recover from the military press, gently curl the dumbbells back down so that they’re by your sides again.
  6. Repeat for 8 reps and rest for 1 minute.
  7. Perform for 3 sets.

Alternate Planking

Helps to Improve: Core Strength and Overall Balance

Equipment:

  • None, just body weight.

The Movement:

  1. Go into a plank position.
  2. Once you have stabilized, lift up your right arm and your left leg so that only your left arm and right leg are in contact with the floor.
  3. Hold the position for 30 seconds and rest for 1 minute.
  4. Alternate legs and arms.
Don’t be discouraged if you’re unable to fully perform all exercises without losing stability.  The exercises will not only improve your balance, but will also expose any imbalances and stabilization issues you may have.  You will improve week by week. Don’t forget to share this post with your friends!
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