A strong upper body promotes good balance
|Joseph Pilates with Clara: Back Rowing|
In my experience, women tend to focus their exercise efforts on the legs and butt. And why not? If toning your legs can do away with a paranoia about the size of your thighs, I say go for it. However, a balanced workout calls for attention to all muscle groups, and there is virtue in focusing on the upper body as well.
An article recently published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research indicates your upper body muscles are central in helping your body maintain its upright posture, and maintaining balance calls on a strong upper body as well. When participants in a study fatigued both upper and lower body muscles, researchers found those with an exhausted upper body had a more difficult time maintaining balance than those with an exhausted lower body.
Go ahead and strive for lean, sexy gams, but get on the reformer and throw in some Back Rowing and Front Rowing, too.