With the second week of January upon us, I thought my readers and dutiful clients would enjoy a challenge that will change up your workouts and keep you from plateauing. I call it the Flamingo workout. No, you don’t parade around in pink feathers preening while you stand in ankle-high water. But you DO stand on one leg!
The simple beauty of this concept is that while performing almost all of the exact exercises you currently utilize, you can strengthen your core, improve balance, delivery extra tone to your legs, and burn more calories. It works like this: any and all exercises that can be executed standing up (vs. sitting on a bench) should be done so on one leg. Example: standing biceps curls (whether dumbbells, barbell, or cables) can be “flamingo-ed” as you stand on one leg for 10 reps, then 10 more reps while standing on the other leg.
“But what about exercises where you must to be in a supine (on your back) or seated position” you ask (like flat bench press, or seated lat row)? Then you become a one-winged Flamingo by holding only one weight or one machine arm handle or cable and challenging your core to keep your torso level and balanced (preferably with your legs in the up or out in the air as well). As for leg exercises, there are a myriad of single-leg focused exercises to choose from that will incorporate this concept: i.e., single leg touch downs, super-skaters, step-back lunges, etc.
The most important aspect of the Flamingo Workout is balance. If your ankles are weak or your core just doesn’t support you, start slowly, and be willing to tap your foot down as a balance check when needed. Some may think it’s easy to stand on one leg when they try it without any weights, but introduce one 15 lb. dumbbell into the equation and many a stable “flamingo” will fall over!
With practice soon enough you will find improvement in all the areas this benefits (balance, strength, stability, and muscle tone). So the next time you are standing around curling, pressing, pushing some weights around, do so on one leg and you will take your workout to another level.