Balance is when the body is in equilibrium. It is stable and muscles are firing efficiently. Holding its ground. Dynamic balance is when you can change directions in any condition without falling. Similar to how a sports player can run in one direction, stop, pivot and explode at a high rate of speed. Internal and external factors that maintains the body’s center of gravity make up ones ability to remain balanced.
Proper posture due to the correct balance, or length-tension relationships in the muscles is another main benefit of being properly balanced. Proper alignment keeps the kinetic chain in tact. Any alterations in the kinetic chain affect movement. Affected movement creates poor movement patterns. Poor movement patterns lead to inefficiencies and imbalances. The result ends up being injury.
Balance training should test the limits of one’s center of gravity. Training programs should be systematic and challenge the body in multiple planes. Balance training makes sure the muscles fire properly and efficiently allowing the right movement and stabilization.
Balance Training Benefits
Balance training keeps the muscles firing properly in order to avoid injury and let the body move without falling. Static and dynamic posture is improved or corrected. If injured balance training helps to improve recovery and biomechanics. Aiding you in reconnecting with your muscles. Weekly training of balance through a variety of exercise should test static and dynamic balance thus enhancing the bodies ability to stabilize itself.
Balance training programs are systematic and progressive. They follow a set of guiding principles and gradually increase difficulty with ability. Exercise training variables such as sets, reps, intensity, tempo, frequency, etc. are applicable as they are factors of success when looking to improve any block of training.
The goal of balance training programs should be to challenge the limit of stability thus improving muscular efficiency. They should use the aforementioned principles and tools such as foam blocks, beams, bosu balls or other balance training equipment. Technique is always the most important aspect of any good training ideology. Always adhere to proper technique over quantity or resistance. You will greatly reduce the risk of movement compensations avoiding the creation of bad patterns or injury.
If you have been following this guide from the beginning you’ll have noticed there is a pattern within each level of training so far. If not that pattern is the different levels of training. The training principles that are followed adhere to the idea that stabilization, strength and power are the levels at which one should train.
Balance stabilization training involves little movement and aims to improve joint stability. The body is placed in unstable environments requiring the contraction of the right muscles to maintain balance.
Balance stabilization exercises include:
- Single-leg balance
- Single-leg balance reach
- Single-leg hip rotations
- Single-leg lift and chop
- Single-leg throw and catch
Balance strength training puts the body through a full range of motion in unstable conditions. This type of training requires the body to be stable as well as controlled.
Balance strength exercises include:
- Single-leg squat
- Single-leg squat touchdown
- Single-leg Romanian deadlift
- Multi-planar step-up balance
- Multi-planar lunge to balance
Power balance training is the ability to decelerate movement of the body. As well as increase strength, muscular efficiency and stabilization.
Balance power exercises include:
- Multi-planar hop with stabilization
- Multi-planar single-leg box hop-up with stabilization
- Multi-planar single-leg box hop-down with stabilization
Mix balance into your training program along with core or plyometric work. It is very similar to the other topics discussed. Treat like a block. Adding it to your routine. Keep it interesting and properly progress through levels and movements.