Friday, February 1, 2013

Balance Training : Take Your Workout and Body to the Next Level
   By Bob Wells, CPT, PES

Whether you are on a soccer pitch, BOSU, or simply walking flights of stairs, you need balance. In fact, maintaining balance is key to all functional movements.

Still, many of us think of balance as a static process. In reality, functional balance is a dynamic process involving multiple neurologic pathways and numerous muscles.

The physical and neurological efforts required to maintain balance can result in leaner, more athletic bodies. In other words, balance training helps us look and perform better.

Balance training is therefore a vital part of any training program. This training program must be systematic and progressive.

Progressing too quickly can lead to injury, while going too slowly can lead to boredom and non-compliance. In either situation, training results are delayed or not achieved.

The National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) provides a great protocol for balance training progression. They list three ascending levels of balance training: stabilization, strength, and power.

In balance stabilization, exercises involve little joint motion. The primary objective at this level is to increase joint stability. Some exercises include: single-leg balance and single-leg lift and chop.

single leg balance
The next step is balance strength. In this phase of balance training, there is more dynamic movement of the balance leg. These exercises are designed to improve the efficiency of the entire body. Some exercises include: single-leg squat, single-leg squat touchdown, and lunge to balance.

lunge to balance start
lunge to balance finish
Balance power exercises are designed to develop high levels of strength, neuromuscular efficiency and joint stabilization. Some exercises include: single-leg box hop-up and box hop-down.

box hop-down start
box hop-down finish


By incorporating balance training into your program, you become leaner, faster, and stronger. For more great balance exercises, check out the Bob Wells Fitness YouTube Channel.

Special thanks to Broadway Artist Sarah Silverman for taking the time to stop by and demonstrate some great balance exercises. 


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