Single-tool workouts include using exercise bikes, medicine balls, dumbbells, resistance belts and rowing machines. Each of these tools helps you isolate and work out specific muscles and areas of the body. 

Five Benefits of Single-Tool Workouts

Improve Core Stabilization

Your body’s core keeps you stabilized when using a single tool to work out. The core is the area between the diaphragm and pelvic floor and includes your abdominal muscles. The muscles on both sides work in unison to keep you steady and upright. So even when you’re only working one side of the body at a time, the other side is simultaneously getting a workout too.

Train Unused Muscles

Unused muscles are those you aren’t using while using a single tool. For example, when you use a dumbbell to build up the biceps on one arm, the other resting arm will also benefit from the biceps curls. The process is referred to as cross-education.

Identify and Eliminate Imbalances

The body naturally compensates when one part weakens. For instance, if one leg or arm isn’t as strong as the other, the body will compensate for this by shifting the weight of a load to the stronger limb when doing full-body workouts. Using a single tool for working out eliminates this process since you can isolate a limb and the body can’t shift the load from one arm or leg to the other.

Increase Range of Motion

You’ll focus your workout efforts on one muscle or muscle group. As you work out that muscle or group, you strengthen and add to its flexibility. This helps improve a muscle’s range of motion and enables you to move better.

Motor Skills Development

Motor skills include walking, standing, swimming, climbing or descending stairs and other physical movements involving large muscles. The movements are done without thought for most of us. Working with a single tool to strengthen one side of the body causes the brain to develop motor engrams. Motor engrams are memorized patterns for using muscles, and they help the body perform everyday functions more easily, such as picking up a pen from the floor or rising from a chair.

Single-Tool Exercises

There are a few exercise routines you can do when using single tools. These include:

  • Goblet squats: Done by holding a dumbbell to your chest while squatting down.
  • Single-arm Arnold press: Use a dumbbell to raise up to the ceiling and down to your shoulder. This helps build shoulder strength while using all three deltoid muscles (posterior, lateral and anterior).
  • Renegade rows: The rowing motion helps build upper-body strength by using the core, back and arm muscles.

Plate-to-ground-to-overload: This exercise strengthens the core muscles, arms, legs, shoulders and back. It’s done by raising a weight from the floor level until it’s fully extended over your head.