You might think it’s too basic, especially if you’ve been working out for some time but balance is really important to an overall better body. Standing on one leg while doing a curl does make a difference. Balance training is often forgotten or ignored during weight training workouts. Most women want to go straight to the treadmill for a cardio workout or to the weights for a quick strength workout but no one thinks to start a balance workout.
Balance training isn’t just for beginners all women (and men) utilize it in workouts from time to time.
Here are a few benefits to adding balance training to your workouts:
- Improve neuro-muscular communication. Your brain and muscles are having to work together harder to allow the exercise to take place. This extra thinking allows for a great communication system that will lay the path to harder lifting and improvement. The better your brain and muscles act together, the more you can lift, the better form you will have and you will notice a better body-fast!
- Strengthen stabilizer muscles and connective tissues: If you have ever stood on one leg with your hands on your hips then you have felt your abs, butt and leg tighten to keep you balanced… a total body workout. Plus, your joints are working to keep you from toppling over which strengthens your tendons and ligaments. Both are vital to proper lifting and improvement. And you are getting an extra core workout at the same time.
- Become aware of your body’s strengths (and weaknesses): practicing balance makes you see a few weaknesses that you may have. If you can not stand but for a few seconds on one leg than you know what you have to work on- getting your ankle, stabilizer muscles, and the major muscles stronger.
- Since you’re lifting lighter weight during balance moves you might also notice that some moves that you thought you did perfectly aren’t being performed at great form afterall. It’s like a mini workshop where you can correct movements you had not noticed before (are your knees facing straight in a squat, on a stability ball bench press are you arching too much or not squeezing your belly, etc)… a great time to improve yourself!
Great Balance Exercises:
- One legged squat
- Stability ball bench press
- Plyometrics- 1 legged jump
- Plank holds with one arm raised (later try to lift a foot too)
- One legged bicep curls
These are some good ones to give it a go. You don’t have to do them all, but I would suggest adding a different balance move to every workout. You might surprise yourself how weak your balance skills are, but you’ll see quick improvements!