The Basics

Why should you include balancing exercises into your fitness routine? Because having good balance can help prevent injuries and improve the quality of your life. We take our ability to balance for granted now, but it can become a challenging task when we get older.

We incorporate balance in our lives everyday. Every time you take a step, you are actually standing on one leg as you transfer your back foot to the front. When you lean forward and reach out to grab an item you are shifting you weight around and you have to control your body’s motion.

A word of caution. When practicing balance work, make sure the area around you is clear with nothing you can trip on. Developing a program that incorporates balance exercises into your routine is a necessity. Always design your programs in an order that is safe and takes into account your own fitness abilities.

There are many ways you can incorporate balancing exercises into your workout routine. You can practice different techniques in-between sets of different exercises or even make your regular exercise routines more challenging by adding an element of balance into your routine. For example, try doing a set of arm curls while standing on one leg instead; don’t be surprise if the weight feels heavier. It takes a lot of energy to stand on one leg.

Advance Training

Another advanced method for improving balance is what I like to call falling lunges. I do not recommend anyone trying these without direct supervision of a personal trainer. There are also numerous medical conditions that may prohibit someone from doing this exercise, so consult your trainer before trying these or other exercises.
There are two segments to this exercise. The first one (left video) is a good warm up and a way to test your ability to control your forward motion. When leaning forward there should be very little motion in the waist area; or what is called “spinal flexion”. A person doing this routine should feel their toes curl and abs tighten as they lean forward; this is not a big movement. The key is to control the end point (forward motion).

For more advanced balance training. (It is always advised that you only try these advanced exercises with a trained personal trainer assisting you) this exercise incorporates isometric work on your hips as well as coordinating lifting your opposite leg back and forth over a band. This is also a great exercise for those who suffer from knee valgus.

Anyone who has trouble walking, standing stable without a cane or walker, who has had surgery or other health conditions that makes stability an issue should always work one on one with a trainer so a program can be designed specifically for their needs and abilities.