Our bodies are designed to move. We are capable of moving in all three dimensions of space: forward and backward, sideways and diagonal. We can even add rotation to our movement, meaning infinite ways to exercise.
So why do we typically train our bodies in one plane of motion? How many times do you see a fellow lifter packing on the weighted plates or repeating an exercise 3 times? For the longest time we would train in this fashion hoping to accomplish two main objectives: to increase muscle mass and endurance (think chest presses, traditional squats or over-the-head shoulder presses).
Now researchers are finding that while this type of one-dimensional exercise is not bad, it may not be the most effective way to train a body. Turns out, it's not the best for muscle mass, endurance or movement performance.
Here are some tips on how you can add full three-dimensional movement to your routine:
1. Shoulder press with rotation: Start with your feet hip-width apart and a moderate weight (it's very important that you don't go too heavy until you get used to the movement - with these types of exercises, form is everything). Place your hands at your shoulders as your press upward with your arms. The trick is to add a slight rotation, starting from the foot and continuing up to the shoulder. Return to the starting position, making sure to perform this exercise on alternating sides.
2. Squat with rotation: Start with feet hip-width apart. Rotate your body, keeping feet on the floor, as you squat down. Return to the starting position, making sure to perform this exercise on alternating sides.
3. Plank with rotation: Begin in a traditional plank position (either on your hands or elbows - similar to a push-up). Shift your weight onto the left hand or elbow and rotate from the hips so you end up facing right. Drive your hips towards the ceiling, extend the right arm overhead, and make sure to pivot on your toes. Rotate back to the plank position and repeat on the right side.
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