Finding Your Balance in the Weight Room

How balanced are you? I confronted this question last week when I took a cross-country skiing lesson. While learning the kick and glide technique, which requires you to balance on one foot while moving fairly fast, it became apparent that you need a good amount of balance for this sport. On one hand, I was impressed that I had any balance at all; on the other hand, I decided I can use even more. Not only is stabilization needed for many sports and fitness endeavors, it can actually help to prevent injury.

So I committed to strengthening my stabilization endurance (i.e., balance), during my weights routines. I don’t have time for a class that would help (such as Pilates) right now, but I know I can gain more balance right in the weight room.

Finding Ways to be Unstable

Pretty much any exercise you do while standing on the floor can be done using the Bosu or Dynadisc, and of course you can always use your own body. The Bosu and Dynadisc provide an unstable surface that forces you to use your small stabilizer muscles in the upper and lower body. Keep in mind that having a strong core will help any time you need to balance too.

Note: Use caution when learning to use this equipment. Take your time and become accustomed to how it feels to stand on top before attempting exercises.

Bosu Trainer. Virtually anything you do on a Bosu trainer will help your balance if you’re poised on top. (Did you know you can also use it for cardio?)

  • Squats, squat jumps, and lunges, squats with shoulder press
  • Any upper body exercise while atop the Bosu, such as shoulder presses, triceps extensions, rows, and lateral/front raises.

Dynadisc. For the longest time I could not figure out what to do with this little inflated cushion. I started using it this week and am floored at how challenging it is to stand on. You can add it to virtually any exercise to really amp up the intensity (you can even sit on it!). Put it under one foot or both feet for most cable, dumbbell, or tubing exercises.

Your Own Body. Just doing an exercise while standing on one leg can teach your body how to balance. Try:

  • One-legged Romanian deadlift
  • Bicep curl standing on one leg
  • Power leg lunge
  • Single-leg woodchop
  • Single-leg hip rotation

Have fun, and feel free to share any other ideas for balance and stabilization that you’ve found to be effective!

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Comments

  1. Okay now how do I do these without HURTING myself?? 😉

    • As you recall from my recent brush with eating it, THAT’S the question! Lol. Actually, I nearly ate it from trying to do push ups w/ hands on Bosu. Go slow. Trust me on this :). I’m expecting to feel powerful & strong atop the Dynadisc in no time!

  2. I’ve been fantasizing on doing some exercise while standing on one leg. I’m really interested in knowing what it can do for me.

    Lovely post!
    Ines recently posted..This Is Life- I GuessMy Profile

  3. oh I love the dynadisc. Thats some good ankle stability. I should probably be working on that more!
    lindsay recently posted..Spice my LifeMy Profile

  4. I love the bosu ball. I used it with my clients all the time. Being unstable is a great way to work your core!
    Tracy @ Commit To Fit recently posted..My Chillout PlaylistMy Profile

  5. http://contemplativefitness.wordpress.com/2010/03/16/return-of-the-jetti/

    http://contemplativefitness.wordpress.com/2009/10/02/scaps-effeciency-and-a-very-garage-video/

    Hands down, balance is the single most important fitness virtue for anyone over the age of 35. The links above are my favorite, and most useful balance workouts.

    That said, cross country skiing…? You should be talking about heart-rate and conditioning. The best Nordic skiers on the planet have VO2 max’s that make Lance Armstrong look like Jared from Subway. That stuff is HARD work!

    That said
    Emergefit recently posted..Conversations Over Crunches…My Profile

    • Love the garage video Roy. I doubt you could’ve linked to a more applicable post. You recommend bare feet?! Yes, I was quite out of breath during my xc skiing lesson! Can’t wait to go sliding around in the snow again soon.

  6. Oh man, I NEED these. I’m not overly graceful and my balance gets worse with every year.
    ragemichelle recently posted..6 Things I Do To Beat Sugar CravingsMy Profile

  7. I always have trouble with balance. I can not ski, skate not even ride bicycle. I think I should start exercising this. I have had quite many embarrassing moments.

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