What are some ways to incorporate balance training into my workout?


A great way to incorporate balance into your routine is to complete some balance training in-between exercises.  An excellent and easy balance exercise is to balance on one leg.  While balancing, extend the leg that is elevated forward, to the side, and diagonally backwards.  If you are able to do this with ease then good for you, your balance may be better than you realized!  However, if this is challenging then keep working on it until you feel your balance start to increase.

Balance is very important, especially as we age.  As we age our center of gravity will decrease so finding ways to improve our balance is going to be very beneficial.

Yoga is a great way to incorporate balance into your current training program as part of your warm-up or cool-down. If you are really serious, you can participate in a beginners group yoga class or opt for one-to-one instruction on your non-training days to add some variety and a different kind of intensity. Either way yoga is an excellent medium to improve balance, agility, flexibility, and overall strength using your own body weight. I hope this helps and have fun!

My clients generally warm up on the balance beam doing single walking forward & backward, lunging, squatting and performing lateral movements.  This 10 minute routine is both a "warm up" & "tune up" as it primes their senses for increased movement awareness during the rest of their workout.

It's also effective to perform presses & pulls from a standing or "ground based" position while incorporating steps.  For example, stepping backwards and performing a one arm row develops strength and dynamic balance.

Whether you are walking down the stairs or sprinting across the basketball court proper levels of balance are needed throughout all movements . The brain will send signals to the rest of your body telling which muscles to stretch (or contract), which joints to move, how to move them, and at the proper rate of movement. All of this will be achieved successfully if your body is able to establish optimum posture, reduce outside forces, stabilize itself, and produce enough force to create the movement you are telling it to do. Listed below is an exercise to help start you on the right track.

Unfortunately, many traditional training programs do not place enough emphasis on developing the body's balance mechanics. Instead they focus mostly on producing strength through isolated exercises. Most experts agree that in order to improve levels of balance, you need to challenge how your body handles moving in unstable circumstances. However, don't go jumping onto a BOSU ball or half foam roller just to add a "Balance" exercise to your workout. The best type of balance exercise should be using the most unstable environment that you can control. Types of balance equipment (surfaces) include soft exercise mats, AirX pads, dyna disks, Bosu balls, alternating standing legs, even switching from walking on pavement to soft sand!

If you are new to balance training, try to think of learning balance exercises as if you were learning how to ride a bike all over again. At first, you may be really unstable! Your body will learn to improve balance faster if it can control the environment you place it in.

Start first by balancing on one foot, standing with one foot on a hard floor with tall posture, and then switching stances without falling over for 10 seconds on each leg. Then progress to reaching one leg out to the side and holding for 5 to 10 seconds. Repeat for up to 15 repetitions on each side (or until you fatigue) and add additional sets if desired. Once you have mastered standing on a single leg on hard flooring, then progress to standing on something a little bit more unstable for the added challenge. There are many exercises that can be combined with single leg stances. So, have fun experimenting with different exercises in your routine for an increased fitness challenge! Remember, developing high levels of functional balance will help your body to increase it's ability to perform movement outside of the gym as well.
You can add an element of balance to many exercises. First, do as many exercises as you can in a single leg stance. For example, take a simple standing bicep curl and perform it with one leg off the ground. The next step would be to add an unstable surface such as a BOSU, half foam roller, or an airex pad.
Balance training can be incoporated by standing on unstable surfaces such as a Bosu, Dyno Disks or just standing on 1 leg.  Start by practice standing on an unstable surface such as a towel or a rolled up rug for 10-30 seconds. Maintain an erect posture throughout the time you are standing on these unstable surfaces. Kneeling on the unstable surfaces  can also challenge balance (keep your feet off the ground)  because they work on postural muscles such as your erector muscles(back muscles) and transverse abdominals(inner ab muscles). Once you have mastered just standing on some unstable surfaces try challenging your self by doing an activity such as a dumbell bicep curl or just bouncing a basketball in place.
Do dumbbell exercises on your toes, or do one set standing on one foot then switch for the second side. For more ab work, bring one knee up in front of you hip height, do a set and then switch legs for the next set. Really draw your stomach in. Also you can do opposite arm to leg exercises. At the end of your workout-balance on your toes and close your eyes without try to master this for 1 minute without moving your feet or opening your eyes. Balance is a talent all to itself, but the more you practice it the better you will get.
Balance training is easy to incorporate into your workout, just stand on one leg. Start by standing on one leg for a specific amount of time, say 30 seconds. Next try performing regular weight lifting exercises on one leg like bicep curls, tricep kickbacks, lateral raises, shoulder press, single leg squat, etc. Balance training will burn extra calories, because your body is working extra hard just trying to stay stable. Have fun, remember everything is more fun on one leg.
Something that I love to do is use balance training as my rest period exercise. What I do is once I finish a exercise, let say a squat, once I am done with the squat, and my rest time starts which is usually 15sec-30sec, I would right then and there do single leg toe touches. This way I can get my balance training and put that rest period to good use. This not only helps with implementing balance training but also helping your heart rate up, which in turn helps you burn more calories.
Try using a balance board or Bosu ball under one or both feet while performing upper body exercises.  Another option is to roll up a towel and use that instead.  The point is to put the body on a slightly uneven surface to train the mind and muscles to stabilize while doing biceps curls, lateral raises or any upper body movement.  You will notice that maintaining balance while moving both arms simultaneously is easier than trying to compensate while moving one arm at a time.   Start balance training with easy exercises and gradually increase the challenge.

Continue Learning about Types Of Exercise Programs

Types Of Exercise Programs

Types Of Exercise Programs

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.