It is common practice to work out different parts of the body in isolation, especially in a strength training setting. But this isn’t how our bodies are meant to move. Focusing only on the legs and ignoring the position and engagement of the upper body, for example, requires stressful compensation from the hips, spine, and shoulders. What’s more, when the entire system isn’t engaged—when you aren’t getting at foundational muscles, like the deep hip flexors and thoracic spine—the smaller stabilizing muscles you’re trying to strengthen aren’t allowed to fire at maximum capacity.
Elev8d Fitness, the new home workout program from the experts at Sonima, is designed and sequenced to position the body for complete engagement. The exercises are slow and deliberate with an emphasis on form. “Our focus is on putting the body in the right place to tax all systems at once,” explains Brian Bradley, Fitness Director of Elev8d Fitness. “When you go slower, it requires a huge amount of stability.”
This also reduces the risk of developing dysfunctional compensations and ensures your body is aligned so you establish proper posture and functionality. When the body is working in concert like this, it can fire all the muscles at once. And that, Bradley explains, is where real transformation happens. “We train the body to function properly to give you a better metabolic reaction from your muscular system all day, long after you’ve finished your workout.” Here’s how it works:
The Plank Problem
When you load up into a forearm plank position, the impulse is often to round the back and shoulders and tuck the tailbone. In this version, you clasp your hands together and wing your elbows out, creating a triangle base to hold up the rest of the body. “And there’s nothing stronger than a triangle,” Bradley says. “But what are you compromising?” In this position, the shoulders and upper back are taking the workload. Sure, you may be working your abs, but nothing is gluing it all together. The abdominal wall is trying to work in isolation and the shoulders are trying to work in isolation.
“When your form is out of whack, your body takes the path of least resistance,” Bradley explains. “That group of muscles is only firing because it’s trying to take over for what the other muscles aren’t doing.” The position of the body in the plank is so compromised that you’re actually exacerbating the compromise rather than strengthening from a position of correct posture.
How Do I Fix It?
If you pin the shoulder blades together and drop the chest cavity, you establish a functional curve in the lower back. This fires the core like crazy but also engages the rest of the body. You may not be able to hold this position as long but that is the point. When you are deliberate with form, your workout engages the whole body and becomes infinitely more efficient. “You are decreasing the time and increasing the work,” Bradley says. “And you’re working six hundred muscles, rather than about twenty.”
And this is what makes the Elev8d Fitness workouts so powerfully efficient. The increase in muscle and joint demand is where caloric burn comes from. An exercise with correct form fires not only the deep core muscles but also the smaller stabilizing muscles around the joints. And that is the key to kicking up your metabolism and efficiently toning the body.
The 8-Minute Total Body Transformation
At first glance, this eight-minute workout may not seem particularly challenging. Unlike HIIT, Elev8d Fitness workouts are low-intensity. “Remember, we slow down the exercises to focus on the quality of movement,” Bradley says. By focusing on form, you are asking the body to work in concert. Proper alignment allows the deep core muscles to fire all at once. As these larger muscles fire and do the heavy lifting, you further refine the functionality of your eight load-bearing joints (shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles).
There’s also an inherent feeling of wellness that comes along with proper form and deep muscle work, Bradley says. After a true total-body workout, your metabolic rate will stay raised for hours. You may even find that you’re not craving sugar and you’re sleeping better. “These are the long-term effects of a functional, form-focused method like Elev8d Fitness,” Bradley says. “Your body is working in harmony.”
Head over to the Elev8d Fitness Vimeo page to check out the 8-Minute Total Body Transformation Workout.