How To Add Variety to Your Workout: Change the Base of Stability.

If variety is the spice of life, many of our workouts might be tasting a bit like cardboard. When we perform the same routine over and over again, our results plateau and our muscles become trained. But fear not: There are a number of ways to inject a little excitement into your workout - and one of the best methods is by changing your base of stability.

Take lateral raises, for example, which target upper back and primarily shoulder muscles:

  • Stand shoulder-width apart and grasp a dumbbell in each hand. Let your arms hanh at your side.
  • Simultaneously raise both arms out to the side, bringing the backs of your hands up toward the ceiling. Keep your arms as straight as possible.
  • Once your arms are parallel to the floor, hold for a second, and then return your arms to your sides.

Perfect. Lateral raises are a common and effective exercise, but they can become a bit repetitive. A few years ago, a trainer recommended that I try lateral raises on a Bosu ball. It was a whole new world.

Bosu balls are those inflatable balls that look like they’ve been cut in half. They’re usually blue, and the flat side is made of a thick plastic. They are also relatively affordable - so if you don’t have a gym membership, you may want to order one for home use.

Place the round side of the ball against the floor. Try standing - and balancing - on the flat side. It’s no small feat! Once you’ve found your footing and if you feel comfortable enough, try performing those same lateral raises. It will feel like an entirely new and totally challenging exercise.

Lateral raises and Bosu balls are just once combination of exercise and base of stability. You can change the base in almost any free weight exercise, and here are just a handful of ideas:

  • Try performing the exercise standing. Or sitting.
  • Stand with one leg on a bench.
  • Balance on one leg.
  • Elevate your legs.
  • Sit on a Swiss ball (the large inflatable balls available at most gyms).

If your workout is feeling stale - give it a try, and let me know what you think. And, if you have any other ideas for changing the base of stability or adding variety to your workout, please share them in the comments below!

About Davey Wavey

Davey Wavey is a certified personal trainer and YouTube sensation with more than 250 million video views. For Davey's fitness tips and secrets, sign up for his free monthly newsletter - or download any of his affordable and effective workout programs.


  1. Alex Webb says:

    Thank you so much for this! I am definitly going to try the lateral raises with my brother’s weights and I am looking into finding a cheap swiss ball to open up a wider variety of exercises. I’m looking forward to trying to keep fit now =) Thanks again!


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