The Top 3 Tips To Improve Your Balance

Grayson Fertig

Balance Training: 3 Tips

I believe that one reason why I’ve had success as a personal trainer is that I incorporate balance training into the programs that I design for people.

I do this for psychological reasons: People find balance challenges very invigorating and very rewarding.

And I do this for physiological reasons: Balance challenges serve as great corrective exercises.

Tip 1: Reality Check

No matter how fit you are if you do not have a relationship with balance then you will struggle to transfer gym related fitness to practical real-world application.

Tip 2:  Design a Workout that incorporates Balance

When I mentor trainers I teach them a pretty easy way to frame an hour of exercise so as to create opportunities to train balance:  20/20/20. 

The first 20 minutes are when you Prepare.  The second twenty, Improve.  And the focus of the last block is to Practice.  In this format you can practice balance in either the first or the last block.  I don’t explicitly train balance in the middle section.  Meaning that yes I recognize there is balance required in all ground based exercises I just don’t have the exercise in the Improve block take place on the back of a moving elephant in order to make it harder.    

I find that this structure not only affords a number of opportunities to train balance, but it also steers people towards all important body-weight exercises that so often get skipped. In either section try combining a best effort hold of plank(work towards 3 minutes) and then while you rest stand as if in Tadasana with feet together on a BOSU ball.

In the Prepare section you could be learning to stand on a BOSU ball with one leg, while in the Practice block you could be doing single leg jump on the BOSU ball. Handstand, headstand, forearm stand, tree pose, 3 legged downdog, and warrior 3 are all great ideas that you can borrow from your yoga practice that can go in either section depending on your familiarity. 

Running while dribbling a basketball or soccer ball both create balance challenges, especially when emphasizing your non-dominant side.  Standing on a BOSU ball while striking a speedbag, is another great one that usually ends up in the Practice block. 

However you organize it the bottom line is that the more you practice balance the better you’ll get at it. 

For 20/20/20, a particular balance exercise does not belong to one block or the other and their placement is dependent on your day-to-day intentions.  Email me if you’d like more specifics: fasttwitchgrandma@gmail.com

Tip 3: Walk Slowly

I tell everyone that will listen to me that the best exercise in the gym is walking slowly on the treadmill: 1.3mph for 55 minutes.

It’s tedious, it’s boring, it’s seemingly innocuous but it will radically change the way you relate to your body.  All of the misalignments that exist in your body are revealed.  As you would use a tuner to tune a guitar the treadmill becomes your tuner and while you walk you will find yourself cleaning up your body.  I think of this exercise as the zamboni and it’s work is to co-ordinate your movement patterns into smooth and graceful patterns.  This is a great balance exercise because it forces you to accept that balance is a balancing act between work and letting go.

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