Working out isn’t only about extreme cardiovascular exercise and strength training with weights. A well-balanced workout includes exercises designed to strengthen the core, including movements that challenge and improve your balance. Although some degree of balance is included in most exercises, deliberately challenging yourself with balance exercises in both your warm-up and your workout routine improves your overall balance.
Why include balance exercises in a workout routine?
Improving your balance shows up in your core, or balance center. Working on balance:
Produces stronger muscles
Increases overall stability
To improve balance—challenge your center of gravity
Challenging yourself to focus on new ways to throw off your center of gravity with balance exercises causes your body and brain to work hard to keep you stable. Simply lifting one of your legs and holding it challenges balance and engages the brain/body connection, improving focus and body awareness. Strengthening the mind-body connection helps you not only while you work out, but also when you engage in daily life outside of your favorite workout space.
Balance exercises as part of your warm-up
Warm up with some simple balance exercises to prepare you for your workout and rev up your body’s core. Embrace the physical challenge and mental focus balance exercises require, beginning with your warm-up. No matter what your workout level is, beginning with balance exercises sets you on the right track for successfully executing your routine.
Balance exercises as part of your workout routine
It’s wise to check with your trainer and medical doctor before beginning a workout routine to verify your safety. Some balance exercises may not be appropriate for everyone, so proceed with wisdom, depending on your overall health and fitness level. When you are ready to begin balance exercises in your workout routine, start off small and work your way into the more difficult challenges. Here are 9 exercises to test and improve your overall balance.
a. This beginner’s move starts with standing with your feet together, then picking up one foot with your knee facing forward.
b. Hold the balance position with your eyes open, and then close your eyes and hold.
c. Do several repetitions with one foot, and then switch feet and repeat.
a. Stand up straight on your right leg, then lift your left leg 3-6 inches off the floor.
b. Keep your arms at your side, and swing your left leg forward and backward while standing up straight. Touch the floor lightly with your left leg each time it swings backward and forward.
c. Next, continue with the same swinging motion, but don’t allow your left leg to touch the floor as you swing it.
d. Finally, hold your right arm out and swing your left foot to the left side several times.
e. Repeat with the opposite leg.
One-legged clock with arms
a. Place your hands on your hips and balance on one leg with your torso straight.
b. Visualize a clock, and point one arm straight over your head to the 12:00 position, then move it to the 3:00 position, then the 9:00 position while maintaining your balance.
c. If you are working out with a friend, challenge each other with different “times” in which to point your arm while balancing.
d. Switch to the opposite arm and leg and repeat the balance challenge.
a. Stand up tall with your feet apart the width of your hips.
b. Point your left foot out in front of you while lightly touching it to the floor for balance.
c. Push both hips back and down into a squat for a challenging one-legged squat.
d. Be sure to keep your chest upright, your right knee bent, and your arms out in front of you for balance.
e. Gently return to your standing position again, making sure your knee doesn’t push in front of your toes.
f. Switch feet and repeat.
Single-legged dead lift
a. Balance your weight on your left foot while engaging your abdominal muscles and bending forward at the hips.
b. Reach toward the ground with your right hand.
c. Hold a weight and lift your right leg behind you for counterbalance.
e. As you return to your starting position, tighten your glutes while keeping your knee relaxed and your back flat.
f. Switch legs and repeat.
Sumo squat with outer thigh pulse
a. Strengthen your lower body, engage your core, and improve your balance with the sumo squat and thigh pulse.
b. Stand with a wide stance and your feet turned out roughly 45 degrees.
c. Bend your knees and hips to lower into a sumo squat while keeping your torso upright.
d. Extend one leg and the opposite arm as you stand.
e. Hold and pulse your leg up a few inches several times.
f. Place your leg back down and return to your starting position.
g. Switch sides and repeat.
Standing crunch with under-the-leg clap
a. Improve your balance and awaken your core by clapping during a static hold.
b. Balance on one leg.
c. With the opposite leg in front of you and your knee bent at 90 degrees, place your hands together over your head.
e. Next, crunch forward and clap your hands under your raised leg, then clap over your head.
d. Continue to clap over your head and under your raised leg several times.
f. Change sides and repeat.
Curtsy lunge with oblique crunch
a. Activate your glutes and inner thighs while strengthening your obliques.
b. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your fingertips at your ears with your elbows pointing out.
c. Cross your right leg behind you, and lower your body gently into a curtsy lunge.
d. Without rotating your hips, stand and bring the right leg up to meet the right elbow for an oblique crunch.
e. Repeat several times, then change to the left leg.
Plank with flying plane arms
a. Core strength and stability are challenged as you lift and mobilize one of your extremities.
b. Begin in a high plank with your arms extended and your hands under your shoulders.
c. Keep your hips stable and your core engaged while lifting your right arm straight out in front of you.
d. Hold your right arm up and fan it to the side.
e. Return your arm to the front and lower it to the ground again.
f. Repeat several times, then change to the left arm.
To learn more about balance exercises and other valuable tools to help you reach your goals, call today to get a free workout at Elite Training of Tulsa.