Fitness, Lifestyle

Work Dat Balance Baby

October 23, 2014

(Shown: Tyler Borchard and his daily stability practice)

Many young people take their balance for granted. It’s crazy that we don’t practice it more often considering balance (the ability to remain upright in an unsteady environment) is the base for any exercise program or sport. You have to master your stability at each stage before your progress to higher level workouts or you may end up with an injury.

Balance is the first thing to go as we age.  The consequences of losing our ability to stabilize as we get older are massive. How many of our grandparents or parents have fallen and hurt themselves? The injuries resulting from these falls can be brutal and effect your quality of life in a negative way forever. Balance is an important skill to maintain.

Start working on that balance now and never give it up!! You’ll be surprised to see improvements in your balance in a short time. In fact, a lot of people perform drastically better on only their second set of a stabilization drill.

There are countless ways to work on balance. Beginning with simply shifting your weight from one side to the the other and finishing somewhere around a backflip on a tight rope. I found a handsome gentleman in the gym to show you some skills to work on.. Here are a few practical balance exercises for you to try today!

 

 

1. Start with single leg balances. Hold for 45 seconds on each side and repeat twice. Make sure to put arms up in praying mantus position (jk)

**Make it tougher by adding in a dumbbell shoulder press or bicep curl on one leg!

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2. Jump on an Airex or a balance pod (shown) and do the same thang as #1

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3. Up the challenge by going single leg on the soft side of a Bosu Ball

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4. Flip that Bosu, get on the hard side and try some squats with an arm exercise… BOOM!

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5. You can work your core stability if you set up for a plank or a side plank (shown) on the Bosu soft side.

 

A COUPLE THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND:

– Start with low level exercises and master them before moving on

– Always revisit low level balance exercises to make sure you still got it

– Once low level exercises are mastered, find a way to challenge your balance. You can add weight, add more complex movements, or make the environment less stable (like with an Airex or Bosu Ball)

-Keep your eyes open while in balancing exercises and any other challenging exercises for that matter

WHY? YOU ASK…

Balance is the ability to maintain an upright position. Coordination is the ability to move through a complex series of movements while maintaining balance. Balance and coordination require these three systems of the body:

1. Somatosensory.

This system provides us feedback about our body’s movement relative to its base of support and about the movements of one body part in relation to other parts. It relies on proprioceptors located within muscles and joints like the legs and torso.

2. Vestibular.

This system is located within the inner ear and responds to movements of the head. It monitors motion in turning, moving forward and back, side to side, up and down.

3. Visual.

This is the system we rely on the most to provide feedback about our body’s movement in space. Vision provides necessary information on our body’s relationship to the world. It allows us to anticipate the terrain we are on, note objects around us and determine the appropriate response necessary for optimal navigation. Your body can move and sway, but your eyes can stay fixed straight ahead. With closed eyes, you may not have an accurate perspective on your body’s movement.

I ALWAYS keep my eyes open while completing a complex exercise. I believe that maintaining open eyes keeps you in the moment, focused on exactly what your body is doing, and helps you think about what is coming next.

 

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