Balance training is a vital part of my workout routine and it should be a part of yours. Find out why it’s essential and how to incorporate it in your workout.
A common vision that comes to mind when we think of balance training is performing a single leg exercise (lunge) or performing an exercise on one leg. But there is so much more to balance training than just standing on one foot.
This week in the #BosuStrong Challenge, we are talking balance. I shared some ways I stay balanced in my fitness and personal life on Monday. I let you in one of my secrets to balance and productivity in my work life on Tuesday. Be sure to enter the giveaway, if you haven’t yet – it’s the last day! Today, I want to share why incorporating balance training to your workouts is so important and give you some progressions.
[bctt tweet=”Learn why balance training is so important & add progressions to your workout program #BosuStrong #SweatPink @fitapproach”]
First up, let’s talk benefits. Incorporating balance training can:
- improve coordination, specifically neuromuscular (It improves our brain to muscle communication)
- reduce the rate of ankle and other lower extremity injuries
- strengthen your core muscles (not just those abdominals, but the quads and glutes)
- strongly influence speed, endurance, strength and flexibility
- help improve athletic performance
- easily be added to any training program, as a warm-up, cool down, or within the workout itself
HOW TO ADD BALANCE TRAINING TO A WORKOUT PROGRAM
When adding balance training, it should stress your limit of stability, in a multiplanar, proprioceptively enriched environment, using functional movement patterns, improving neuromuscular efficiently and dynamic balance (My PT education is from NASM, so this is a modified version of their definition, found in this book).
Say what?! Let’s break it down:
LIMIT OF STABILITY refers to the distance outside your base of support that you can move, without losing control or your center of gravity.
PROPRIOCEPTIVELY ENRICHED ENVIRONMENT refers to an unstable, yet controlled environment. Ex. the Bosu Ball
DYNAMIC BALANCE is the ability to move or change directions, without falling, under various conditions. Ex. performing an ice skater without falling over.
- trying to perform Warrior 3 on the Bosu (see above)
- shuffling across the Bosu
- completing a single leg Romanian deadlift, with a bent row (we did this move in class on Tuesday!)
Now, while incorporating balance training into your program is important, it should be done in a systematic way. If you have trouble performing a single leg deadlift on the ground, it’s going to to be increasingly difficult for you to do it on the Bosu ball. That doesn’t mean you won’t be able to do it on the Bosu, you just need to structure your training in a progressive way, working up to the most unstable environment.
[bctt tweet=”Balance Training should stress your limit of stability, in a proprioceptive environment. #BosuStrong @fitapproach #sweatpink @bosufitness”]
I modified the table below from NASM. These are some tips for progressing your balance training.
I’d recommend starting with progressing 1-2 variables at a time and/or progressing through 1-2 components in th exercise selection section. Keep in mind, this will vary from person to person, and be dependent on your current fitness level. The key is to increase your awareness of your limit of stability and complete exercises in a proprioceptively enriched environment. Remember, although I am a trainer, I am not your trainer. Please stay smart and do not push your body beyond your limits. Progression takes time and practice. Don’t get frustrated, just keep working at it.
I’ll share some of my favorite balance moves tomorrow, along with another Bosu workout. In this workout, I’ll share some modifications and progressions, so it’s perfect for all fitness levels.
Do you add balance training to your workout routine? If so, what are your favorite moves?