Research has shown that just two sessions of balance training can lead to structural changes in the brain’s gray matter (which coordinates sensory and motor information) and white matter (which primarily provides connectivity). This can help clients in everyday life.
“Balance training can help us walk or run on unstable surfaces without falling or injuring ourselves,” says Gary Simpson NASM-CPT, owner of 212 Training in San Antonio. “That’s especially important as we get older.”
Simpson recommends these simple ways to work balance training into a client’s routine.
- Make like a stork. Have clients perform basic moves like biceps curls and shoulder presses while standing on one foot.
- Use a step. It can add variety—and balance challenges—to common moves: Perform split squats (single-leg squats with the top of the rear foot on a bench); perform step-ups on a box; or do lunges on a step.
- Try balance boards or BOSU trainers. “My favorite move is the BOSU Scarecrow,” says Simpson. Stand on the flat side of a BOSU with both feet. Hold dumbbells in a goal-post position; keep upper arms stable, and lower the weights forward until the forearms are parallel to the floor. Return to start; repeat.
- Catch some air. Try light plyometrics like single leg squat jumps: Squat on one leg to about 90 degrees, then do an explosive hop to the side, landing on the opposite foot. Repeat back and forth.
Taken from NASM's The Training Edge, Nov/Dec 2014