There are two good reasons to turn your workout into a balancing act. First, a controlled wobble activates deep core muscles to help tighten the midsection. Secondly, it prepares athletes for that quick turn or lunge.
Try these seven exercises to improve balance:
Before each move in this workout, engage your abdominals by tightening them—without holding your breath—as if preparing to take a punch. You'll activate the core muscles surrounding your spine and tone your entire abdominal area. Engaged abs also help prevent injury when lifting.
If you have a medical condition, be sure to check with your doctor before this workout or any new fitness program.
1. One-Legged Balance
Start with this beginning move, keeping a stable chair or a wall within arms' reach. With feet together, pick up one foot—knee facing forward or to the side. Hold the position with eyes open, then closed. Switch feet and repeat for four reps on each foot.
If any move feels wrong or unsafe to you, stop and check with a trainer. Depending on your health and physical condition, some exercises may not be recommended.
2. Leg Swings
Stand on your right leg and raise the left leg three to six inches off the floor. With arms at your sides, swing your left leg forward and backward, touching the floor for balance, while keeping your torso erect. Now, repeat the moves, but don't allow your foot to touch the ground. And finally, swing the left foot to the left side, holding the right arm out. Switch legs and repeat.
3. One-Legged Clock With Arms
Balance on one leg, torso straight, head up, and hands on the hips. Visualize a clock and point your arm straight overhead to 12, then to the side (three), and then circle low and around to nine without losing your balance.
Increase the challenge by having a partner call out the different times to you. Switch to the opposite arm and leg and repeat.