What’s the Big Deal About Balance Training?
It’s the new year and our intentions and expectations at the gym are at a high point. Calorie scorching workouts, intense intervals, big lifts, and people on a mission can be seen all over the gym. “Workouts” for many tend to be something that will change the shape of our body, give us a high caloric burn, or a full body sweat.
What if there’s a way for you to get more out if your workouts, and help you remain injury free? Would you be willing to give it a shot even if it didn’t mean the numbers on your tracking device would be off the charts?
Are you in? Perfect...let’s go!
Stand with your feet hip width apart hands by your sides and bring one foot forward so you are in a split stance with equal weight on both feet. Bend your knees and lower your body into a lunge. Come back up to the split stance position and remain in split stance. Try it again five times in a row. Change legs and do the same thing on the other side. Notice what you notice.
Next, stand with your feet hip with apart and step forward into a lunge, then back to center. Alternate legs and perform 10 lunges total. If you think you’re pretty good, add some speed. Notice how this might change your lunge. If you happen to be near a mirror, notice how close your back knee gets to the floor and if that depth decreases when you add speed for any reason.
One more. Stand with your feet hip width apart. Step back into a reverse lunge, to your deepest safest range of motion. Hold it for a second or two. Now pull your back leg forward into a knee lift and try to hold it and balance. Try it again and make the knee drive more aggressive. Switch legs and try it on the other side.
How’d that go for you?
Was your work pure perfection or were you wobbling and trying not to fall over? Did one side seem to cooperate a little more than the other? Maybe you had better balance or felt more stable on one side. Hmmm...
If any or all of those variations are challenging and you work out on a regular basis, chances are your struggle was not from lack of muscular strength. Most likely, the challenges came from a lack of or need to improve balance and/or stability.
Balance is your ability to maintain equilibrium when stationary or moving. Stability is your ability to stabilize and control body positioning and/or maintain optimal joint positions during static or dynamic movement. These two elements work together.
The truth is that stability and balance should be the foundation of your fitness routine. Why? We benefit from training stability and balance because when we do, we activate and strengthen the core and all of our stabilizer muscles. Training balance and stability helps us improve coordination and work towards correcting imbalances and over-compensations we’ve developed throughout life.
If we don’t train balance and stability, they will decline as we age, like losing muscle. Training balance and stability aren’t just independent goals and skill sets, they are interdependent with everything else we train. Do we need balance and stability for coordination? Yes! Do we need balance and stability for reactivity? Yes! Do we need balance and stability for agility? Yes!
The purpose of this blog is to tap into your WHY and inspire you to integrate balance and stability into your training program. Do you like to lift weights, to get stronger or to create sculpted muscle? Great! Me too! But if I can’t maintain my balance in a lunge, my ankle keeps shaking and my torso keeps shifting and I add heavy weights anyway, I put myself at risk for injury. If I’m injured, I can’t train. If I lunge crazy fast with little to no balance, and zero range of motion, I’m not going to engage much muscle and although I might start to sweat, it’s not as efficient as it could be. If I’m not efficient, I’m wasting time, the number one reason most people don’t train in the first place.
Let me further entice you:
Would you like to train hard and remain injury-free in and out of the gym?
Would you like to keep training as you age?
Does the thought of lifting heavier weights without breaking form fire you up?
Are you interested in making your workouts more efficient?
Any chance the possibility of burning more calories as a result of a more efficient workout makes you say, “Yes, please?”
Excellent! Get balanced and stable with the BOSU® Balance Trainer and amplify results!
Elizabeth Lenart is a BOSU® Master Trainer and Program Director for Balletone. She is the founder of Elizabeth Lenart Fitness in Chicopee, Massachusetts, and functions as a consultant, program creator, instructor and mentor to other fitness professionals. She also appears as a Fitness Expert on Mass Appeal.
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