Week 4: movement pairs

To sculpt a body of perfect proportions, you need to rethink the way you workout.

As we head into our final week of the movement pairing series, let's recap:

It has been well established that diversifying your workout is key. It’s only through hitting every muscle group from every angle that you can develop a body that both looks and actually is completely balanced. But while the theory is simple, putting the idea into practice can be a bit more complicated, making it tough to organize your workout. It's time to move beyond the old thinking of "upper body days" and "lower body days" and adopt a new mentality to speed results: working in pairs of antagonistic movement patterns, or types of motions. When teamed up, these seemingly opposing exercises become powerfully complementary.

Today's combination: arm balances and leg balances. "Training arm balances and leg balances together in a workout literally integrates and maximizes your muscular expenditure," says Lashaun Dale, senior national creative manager for group fitness who co-designed the entire movement pairing series with her counterpart Lisa Wheeler, "You cannot achieve either balance without coordinating all of your muscles together — especially the core."

According to Lisa Wheeler, "Practicing single leg balances that challenge the stability of the foot and ankle as well as the hip, lumbar and thoracic spine is a great way to ensure efficient walking, jumping and running activities." But we're partial to the arm balance. "Arm balances are excellent for building strength, coordination and increasing body awareness and mental concentration," says Dale, "When you master them, you feel like you are defying the laws of the universe and are a general physical badass."

Channel your inner badass by mastering the moves in the slideshow above modeled by LA-based trainer Autumn Calabrese. Hold each position for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times, alternating leg and arm balance.

And for more perfect pairings, try the moves from weeks one, two and three.

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  • Side Plank

    Side Plank

    Lie on right side, resting on right palm and right hip, knees and feet stacked, left arm at side. Lift right hip into a side plank and extend right arm to sky, keeping abs tight (as shown). Hold for 30 seconds. Switch sides; repeat.
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  • Tree Pose

    Tree Pose

    Stand with feet hip-width apart, then bend right knee and place right foot on the inside of left thigh as you raise arms above head and bring palms to touch (as shown). Hold for 30 seconds. Switch sides; repeat.
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