Published: Sep 28, 2012 7:26 AM EDT
Updated: Sep 28, 2012 7:52 AM EDT

Once you realize that those textbook equations can be used to sculpt a phenomenal physique, science suddenly becomes sooo much more interesting. Wink News Fitness Expert Mike Drumm is here to help you achieve a leaner body by applying these laws of physics to your workout!


Your body is a highly technical machine, governed by the same principles of physics that make an apple drop from a tree or a seesaw teeter up and down. With simple tweaks to your fitness routine, like how you position your hands and feet during an exercise, you can get better results in less time. You don't have to be Isaac Newton to ace this lesson, let’s talk about some simple concepts to put into motion.


Newton's Law’s of Motion
·         The first law of motion dictates that an object at rest will stay at rest, and an object in motion will stay in motion. I use this for mental motivation and often say, a person on the couch tends to sit on the couch… but a person who gets up and moves around will keep moving around. An exercise example is the bicep curl. Until your biceps contract to pick up the weight it’s at rest, and gravity constantly tries to pull it back to  rest on the ground.
·         Newton's second law of motion states that force equals mass times acceleration. A good example of this when exercising is illustrated when you perform a bench press. The amount of weight you can lift is directly related to the amount of force exerted on the weights by your muscles. Increasing the weight requires more force to lift it. Also, doing reps faster (increasing acceleration) requires more force to be exerted.
·         Newton's third law of motion is probably the most familiar, and states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. I always picture the YouTube videos of kids running into each other holding the big stability balls haha, but an example of this would be the physics of running.


Improve Your Stride
When your foot hits the road (or treadmill) you apply a force to the ground, which responds with an equal and opposite force, helping to propel you forward. As you speed up, either the length of your stride or how frequently your foot hits the ground increases. Working to improve your running stride can help make every run feel less taxing, increasing both the speed and distance you can cover.
Try This: To improve your running, try increasing your step rate by 5 to 10 percent. A good trick, fill your playlist with songs that have 180 beats per minute and run to the beat!
Stability
The biomechanics of stability, the less an object’s surface area touches a solid base, the less stable that object is. Applying this basic principle into exercises makes our whole body work harder, meaning a higher calorie burn, plus a more challenged core.
Try This: Make any strength move more challenging by narrowing your base (bringing your hands closer together during pushups or feet closer together during squats), removing a point of support (doing single-leg dead lifts or planks with arm raises), or replacing your sturdy surface with a wobbly one (placing your hands on a stability ball during planks and pushups, or stepping onto a BOSU trainer during lunges).
Leverage Yourself
Your muscles, bones, and joints act as a system of levers, working together to allow you to move heavy or light loads. As you increase the distance between the object you're trying to lift and the joint that's moving, it decreases your mechanical advantage. Your muscles are put at a disadvantage, so they have to work harder which makes this a no-brainer strategy if you're looking to get stronger and leaner without spending more time at the gym.
Try This: Exercises like lateral raises require the load to be at a greater distance from the fulcrum (your shoulder in this case). Or raise your arms overhead during squats, lunges, and even weighted crunches. Too hard? Split the distance by bringing the weight to your shoulders, rather than above your head or down at your sides.
Learn to Twist
Most exercises happen in one of two geometric planes, up and down/front to back and side to side. But there's a third plane, called the transverse, think “rotational” movements. Adding motion in that third plane engages your core, which increases the number of muscles recruited and therefore calories burned. These movements are more in tune with how we naturally function, but most neglect the transverse plane in the gym. Working this principle into your routine will give you strong, show-off-worthy abs AND make hauling groceries feel easier.
Try This: Rotate your body to the right or left in exercises such as the walking lunge and situp, or bring your knee across your body during moves like the mountain climber.