Building a Balanced Workout Plan

Regardless of what motivates you, getting active is always a good thing. That being said, many people do begin exercising with a rather narrow and unbalanced set of goals in mind — for example, aiming to “get a six pack,” or exclusively build bicep mass. In the end, however, such workout programs tend to be ineffective at best, and dangerous at worst. (A lesson that some novices insist on learning the hard way.)

If you want optimal results and a truly healthy body, then a balanced exercise plan is a must. (And don’t worry — the biceps, the six pack, and the all-around rockin’ bod will come naturally!) Below, we have outlined the five basic components that all well-rounded workout routines include:

Aerobic Training

This category encompasses any and all workouts that increase heart rate and speed up your pace of breathing for an extended period of time. Examples include running, swimming, biking, and non-combat boxing exercises. Benefits of aerobic training include a healthier cardiovascular system, better endurance, and calorie-burning.

Balance Exercises

They say that practice makes perfect — so it should come as no surprise that many so-called “balance exercises” oftentimes consider of, well, balancing yourself in different positions. Yoga and many martial arts are a few good examples of this workout style — and benefits include better hand-eye coordination and an improved sense of balance.

Core Workouts. Abs, obliques, and other muscles in the core group are difficult to work through traditional forms of resistance training. Instead, body-weight exercises such as raised knee-ins, planking, and flutter kicks must be used in order to develop a strong, healthy core. Because this group of muscles is used in virtually all forms of exercise (and the vast majority of day-to-day activities, for that matter) performing core workouts will allow you to progress faster and more safely toward your other fitness goals.

Strength Building. For both the upper and lower body, weight-based strength-building exercises such as bench press, squats, military press, and calf raises can make a tremendous difference in your life. Reducing your risk of injury, improving your day-to-day energy levels, and boosting your metabolism are common benefits of this workout style. Moreover, like aerobic exercises, strength building exercises are idea for those looking to lose body fat.

Flexibility Routine

A well-balanced set of stretching exercises can dramatically reduce your risk of injury while improving your flexibility and even reducing stress! However, there are several different types of flexibility workouts that you should incorporate into your routine for optimal results:

  • Dynamic stretching, which works best as a warmup to be done before more strenuous exercise. Examples include walking lunges, weightless squats, and arm windmills.
  • Static stretching, which includes activities such as sustained toe touches, hamstring pulls, and behind-the-head arm extensions.
  • Holistic stretching, an overlapping category which includes balance exercises such as martial arts and yoga.

Learn more about working toward a balanced, healthy, and rewarding lifestyle by reading more about fitness routines and optimal nutrition at Top Fitness Mag.