3 Gravity-Training Moves to Boost Endurance

Bridge With Ball Squeeze

Most athletes will overwork their quadriceps without giving much attention to the back of their legs. The hamstrings are involved in knee flexion, stabilization and hip extension, which allows the leg to pull forward efficiently at top speeds. Strong and flexible hamstrings are vital in improving speed, so cyclists and runners can really reap the benefits from this exercise.

The gluteus medius is a pelvic and lower-body stabilizer. Weakness in this muscle could lead to IT band syndrome or ACL injuries.  We combine these moves for a one-two punch.

Primary Muscles: Gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, hamstrings, adductors, rectus abdominis, erector spinae

Gravity Tower Setting: Level 2 to 3

Do It: Lay on your back, ball in-between your inner thighs (avoid putting it between your knees), feet hip-distance apart. Lift your glutes until your hips are fully extended and in line with your spine and knees. Once at the top, squeeze the ball. Release the ball as you lower back down to hover over the glide board.

Sets/Reps: 2 to 3 sets of 15 to 20 repetitions

CHALLENGE: Try it with one leg, same amount of sets and repetitions for each side.

More: Pose of the Month: Bridge Pose

Rear Deltoid Fly (Shoulders)

Have you ever noticed how many runners finish a marathon with a round or hunched upper back? This tends to happen to athletes who are tight or proportionately stronger in the chest. This is people do to many pushups or chest presses, spend a lot of time in a flexed/aero position (cycling or sitting all day). Or, runners become tired after a long distance and lose god form. Better posture translates into better efficiency, speed and stamina.

Primary Muscles: Posterior deltoid, lateral deltoid, middle trapezius, lower trapezius, rhomboids

Gravity Tower Setting: Level 2 to 3

Do It: A great part about the gravity machine is that you can work in multiple planes. This exercise can be done facing the tower, sitting on the knees and heels, or it can be done facing sideways, sitting on the knees with glutes up off of the heels.

If facing the tower, use the cable pulleys with both arms at the same time. If facing sideways, use one arm at a time. Think of yourself as a ballerina, sit up tall, keep shoulders down, and pull your shoulder blades together as you pull the handles towards your back. Watch to see if your shoulders roll forward, you want to avoid this from happening. Slowly bring the hands back to starting position.

Sets /Reps: 2 to 3 sets of 10 to 12 repetitions.

CHALLENGE: Overtime, work up to 15 to 20 repetitions

Where to Find a Class

You can search for Gravity training in your area at http://www.totalgym.com/gymLocator.aspx.

More: Quiz: How Fit Are You?

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