How Balance Training Improves Athletic Performance

Movement is essential to perform any daily activity. Your ability to move efficiently requires control of the body's postural alignment. In other words, you need strong balance to move efficiently. Without balance, typical tasks such as lifting a bag of groceries, climbing stairs, or standing and sitting would be extremely challenging to do. For endurance athletes, balance helps you run harder, bike longer, and swim stronger.

Your body reacts to minor divots in the road easily if you have strong balance. In order to improve your balance, it's important to understand the types of balance and incorporate balance exercises into your workouts.

More: 3 Muscle Balance Tests to Do at Home

Types of Balance

Balance is divided into two types: static balance and dynamic balance. Static balance refers to the ability to maintain the body's center of mass within its base of support. Dynamic balance refers to the ability to move outside of the body's base of support, while maintaining postural control.

A body's center of gravity, also known as COG, is a point around all of your weight that is evenly distributed. It is generally located 2 inches anterior to the spine, but varies by gender, body shape, body size and even age.  

The COG in males tends to be slightly higher than in females due to typically greater quantities of upper-body musculature. Additionally, the body's COG continually shifts by changing position, moving, or adding external resistance. Pregnancy tends to change the body's COG too.  

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The base of support, also known as BOS, can be described as the two-dimensional distance between a body's points of contact with a surface. For example, when you stand tall and your feet are 12 inches apart, the BOS represents the area that the feet contact and the area between the feet. Moving the feet closer together to 6 inches apart reduces the BOS, thereby reducing balance.

You can see that if you have no balance your center of gravity is severely restricted and can cause frequent falls and injury. It's important to include balance exercises in your workouts to prevent injuries.  

More: 7 Exercises to Improve Balance

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