I often see other trainers, clients, and people in the gym trying to improve their balance; however, nearly all of them are going about it the wrong way. If you ask many trainers how to train your balance you will probably hear, “exercise on a stability ball, or balance on a Bosu ball, foam roller, wobble board, foam pad, or anything that provides an unsteady surface to stand on.” All of these modalities are going about the situation all wrong, and here’s why.
If you want to train your balance, you have to first understand what controls your balance. Your proprioceptive system (limb control) is important, but not the most significant. Most people without a good understanding of balance and implementation of a training strategy do not realize this, and may be training your balance to be worse. If your training by using an unsteady surface while you exercise, your body is not focused on doing the exercise properly (proper mechanics, muscle recruitment, and technique) because a lot of your energy is wasted on not falling. An example that I would like to use is if you stand at the edge of a cliff, although the ground is not moving, it’s hard to stand at the edge because your body will tense up so you don’t fall off. Now add weights, and call it a balance exercise? This sounds more like a recipe for an injury, falling off of a ball with weights than it does to improve your balance.
Instead, you should focus on what really matters by training your vision first. Can you keep your balance with your eyes shut? Chances are not very well. How about training your vestibular system inside your inner ear? Both of these are more important, and will yield much higher balance improvements than balancing on a ball.
If you have any other questions or would like specific exercises, call (773) 706-8705 for more information or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org