There are only a finite number of ways to exercise. However, the manner in which we complete those movements changes the benefit provided to the body. There are 3 commonly known pillars of fitness – cardiovascular, flexibility, and strength. At Upright Kinetics, we include a fourth called Erasers. Each pillar has its own benefit, all of equal importance. Cardiovascular training is beneficial for heart health and blood flow. It is achieved through quick movement of the body to elevate heart rate above 140 beats per minute. Flexibility training is important for maintaining joint mobility, muscle pliability, and good range of motion. It is achieved through holding poses at a muscle’s threshold for extended periods of time. Strength training is important for building strength, muscle growth, and maintaining bone density. It is achieved by fatiguing the muscle with sets, reps, and/or weights to stimulate growth. Erasers are important for releasing any acute tension in the body. It is achieved by relaxing the area of tension and loosely moving it to let the tension dissipate.

Although these four pillars have unique definitions, an exercise can be altered to fit these definitions.

For example:

Lunge: This movement typically falls under the Strength pillar of fitness. But:

  • What happens if you add a jump to your lunge or do walking lunges? It would still be a strength exercise for the legs but you’ll get your heart rate up a lot higher, increasing  cardio endurance. Just like that, your Lunge now falls under the Cardiovascular pillar of fitness.
  • What happens if you get into Lunge position and just hold it here? What will happen if you deepen the Lunge? You will likely increase the mobility/pliability of the hip flexor and quad of the back leg. Now, you’ve had your Lunge into a Flexibility exercise.

Knee Pumps: This movement is very commonly used as an Eraser in an Upright Kinetics program to release tension in the lower body. But:

  • What happens if we increase the speed of the knee pumps? Heart rate will increase into a cardiovascular range.
  • What if you grabbed your knee and pulled it into your chest? You’ll likely feel a stretch in your hamstring and buttock, making this a Flexibility exercise.
  • What if you had a platform in front of you and stepped up and down on the platform either with or without weights? Then you’ll turn this into resistance training, thus strengthening your leg muscles.

Arm-Across Body: This movement is a classic stretch we all did in gym class for the shoulder girdle. But:

  • What if we were to add some movement to this pose and swing the arm open and closed? You would get some dynamic tension release in the shoulders, making this an Eraser. We call this movement Wrap’n’Slaps

This post is an invitation to try out different variations of the exercises you typically do to gain some of the other possible benefits these exercises can offer you and your body. Try pairing these sister exercises together for maximum benefit.

Happy exploring!