GYM: Why Hands Free?

WHY HANDS FREE? Several people have asked me why it is important to perform exercises, such as lunges or utilize cardio equipment, hands free. The following action series will help to illustrate how eliminating a proprioceptive feedback loop can increase balance training of the external core muscles. External core muscle balance response can be all but eliminated if contact is made with the hands while performing exercise. Start by sitting on a Swiss ball with one side about 18 inches from a wall, with your feet as close together as possible and as close to the ball as you can get without touching your legs to the ball. Let your arms hang by your sides with your palms facing forward and allow yourself to find a balance point. Once you have found balance, close your eyes. Most people will notice a decrease in stability and an increase in bobbles on the ball. Once you realize the instability, reach out and put the pad of one finger on the wall. In the absence of neural issues, stability will return at the touch of a finger, even with your eyes close. Be sure you are in an area safe from falling. Do not try this if you know you have severe balance issues or do not feel confident sitting on the ball. To see this in action, you also can observe someone else completing the process. The application for cardio equipment is that the arms are either stationary and negating external core muscles or they are moving regardless so the arms are just going for a ride. If you are going to use the moving handles on a piece of equipment, be sure the resistance is adequate to require engagement of the muscles in order to keep the machine moving in a fluid motion.



WHY HANDS FREE? Several people have asked me why it is important to perform exercises, such as lunges or utilize cardio equipment, hands free. The following action series will help to illustrate how eliminating a proprioceptive feedback loop can increase balance training of the external core muscles. External core muscle balance response can be all but eliminated if contact is made with the hands while performing exercise. Start by sitting on a Swiss ball with one side about 18 inches from a wall, with your feet as close together as possible and as close to the ball as you can get without touching your legs to the ball. Let your arms hang by your sides with your palms facing forward and allow yourself to find a balance point. Once you have found balance, close your eyes. Most people will notice a decrease in stability and an increase in bobbles on the ball. Once you realize the instability, reach out and put the pad of one finger on the wall. In the absence of neural issues, stability will return at the touch of a finger, even with your eyes close. Be sure you are in an area safe from falling. Do not try this if you know you have severe balance issues or do not feel confident sitting on the ball. To see this in action, you also can observe someone else completing the process. The application for cardio equipment is that the arms are either stationary and negating external core muscles or they are moving regardless so the arms are just going for a ride. If you are going to use the moving handles on a piece of equipment, be sure the resistance is adequate to require engagement of the muscles in order to keep the machine moving in a fluid motion.



QUICKREAD

Allen Russell is a certified personal trainer at Crossroads Fitness Centers. For information about
training with Allen or to learn more, text “perform” to 77094. Pictured: Kelsey Charlesworth.



WHY HANDS FREE?

Several people have asked me why it is important to perform exercises, such as lunges or utilize cardio equipment, hands free.

The following action series will help to illustrate how eliminating a proprioceptive feedback loop can increase balance training of the external core muscles. External core muscle balance response can be all but eliminated if contact is made with the hands while performing exercise.

Start by sitting on a Swiss ball with one side about 18 inches from a wall, with your feet as close together as possible and as close to the ball as you can get without touching your legs to the ball.

Let your arms hang by your sides with your palms facing forward and allow yourself to find a balance point. Once you have found balance, close your eyes.

Most people will notice a decrease in stability and an increase in bobbles on the ball. Once you realize the instability, reach out and put the pad of one finger on the wall. In the absence of neural issues, stability will return at the touch of a finger, even with your eyes closed.

Be sure you are in an area safe from falling. Do not try this if you know you have severe balance issues or do not feel confident sitting on the ball. To see this in action, you also can observe someone else completing the process.

The application for cardio equipment is that the arms are either stationary and negating external core muscles or they are moving regardless so the arms are just going for a ride.

If you are going to use the moving handles on a piece of equipment, be sure the resistance is adequate to require engagement of the muscles in order to keep the machine moving in a fluid motion.


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