“I wasn’t born with good balance.” I hear those words often while training clients. I usually respond with, “Were you born able to ride a bicycle with two wheels, or did you train yourself how to depend less on four wheels and balance yourself?” Balance, or the ability to engage muscles in communication to hold a synergistic, isometric position, decreases the potential for physical suffering because it ensures that movement commences from a place of design integrity. Once a body is set up with core balance in any of the positions of the body to maintain stability, subsequent mobility is far less likely to produce injury (Bernier, 1998).
In just a few minutes a day, at least three days a week, we can improve our balance in a variety of positions without using any equipment. Furthermore, after the first few times we practice the movements with traditional athletic cross-training shoes, doing the exercises either with minimalist shoes or while barefoot will train the muscles of the foot and ankle complex in a more functional manner (Blackburn, 2001). Try to stay positive during the movements, realizing that balance is a learned skill, and that it is normal for some movements to be more reachable than others. Remember, too, that practice makes permanent.
For all balance movements:
1. Start with shoes on and progress to doing them while barefoot.
2. Contract the pelvic floor, bring the navel toward the spine, and lightly touch the tongue to the roof of the mouth during the movements (Chek,1998).
3. Narrow or close the eyes to try the ultimate challenge of maintaining any of these movements with the eyes closed.
4. When in any balance position, try to hold the stability for five seconds. After the stability, after each movement, return to the start position. Repeat eight to 12 times and then repeat on the other side where appropriate.
Movement 1: Twisting Mountain
Stand with the left knee flexed in front of the body, thigh parallel to the floor. Touch the right hand to the left knee and twist the body to the left, lifting the chin. (Progression: reach the right arm toward the sky.)
Movement 2: Leaning Star
Stand with the arms overhead. Keep the body tall and lean to the left from the left ankle, keeping the body in one long line. Abduct the right hip about 2 feet to the side.
Movement 3: Twisting Hinge
Stand with knees slightly flexed and hinge forward from
Brandon Hancock asks: Rich and Dan both got their bachelors in exercise science and physical education respectively, how have those degrees helped you with y…
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