The simple act of balancing over gravity as you exercise, for one thing, mimics sports activities more so than does sitting on a bunch of exercise machines. Studies conducted over the past decade support this idea. When their subjects trained in free-standing exercise, they had better results than when they sat at machines – now known as functional training. As defined by former Olympic coast John Philbin, functional exercise “improve(s) sports performance” by teaching you to “use multiple muscles and joints” and to “stay balanced.” Add a bar to this concept and you’ve got a way to work simultaneously on balance, coordination and strength. To put it another way, you’ve got functional exercise on steroids. In Modus thigh-work, for example, students use their thighs, hamstrings, glutes, calves and back muscles all in one exercise. In fold-over they use their pecs, deltoids, abs, hip-flexors and thighs. This multi-tasking format improves balance much more quickly than other exercises.