Exercises that Help with Balance


While balance has not traditionally been included in the four major components of health-related fitness—aerobic fitness, muscular fitness, flexibility and body composition—research confirms that both static and dynamic balance play a critical role in keeping us active and injury-free. Static balance is the ability to stand in place on one leg without creating undo bio-mechanical stress on the body. Dynamic balance, on the other hand, is the ability of the body to maintain control over a specific base of support while in motion (for example, ice skating or playing tennis).

Balance is a product of three sensory functions working together. The vestibular system, which is located in the inner ear, detects rotational movement of the head and provides the body with information related to spatial orientation. The visual system has the obvious job of allowing us to see where we are standing, moving, etc., in relation to the world around us. And proprioception allows the body to have a sense of where it is in space, even without looking. Proprioceptors include both motor and sensory nerves. Thus, proprioception can be improved through regular exercise, specifically balance training.

The TRX Suspension Trainer is one of the most versatile and functional pieces of fitness equipment available today, requiring exercisers to leverage their own body weight against the force of gravity. Here are five TRX exercises, from St. Louis, Brentwood and Clayton, MO personal trainers, help improve balance.

Tip: Do this exercise while you are warm but not tired.

1. SQUATS WITH HEEL RAISE


TRX Squat with heel raise start

TRX squat

This classic TRX squat variation strengthens the quads and glutes and adds a balance challenge by your base of support during the heel-raise phase. 
• Stand facing the TRX anchor with the feet about hip-distance apart.
• Keeping the shoulders relaxed and chest lifted, bend at the hips and knees to lower the tailbone toward the floor.
• To stand, drive up through the heels, and then lift to balance on the balls of the feet.
• Complete 10-16 reps.

2. TRX SINGLE LEG HIP HINGE


TRX Hip hinge

• Stand with the feet together, the arms reaching forward and the palms facing down.
  • Hinge at the hips and load the right leg, allowing the left leg to float directly behind you until the body creates a “T” shape.
• Focus on keeping the hips square and the core strong. Try pressing down on the handles for better balance control.
• Complete 5-8 reps. Repeat on the left side.

3. TRX CROSSING BALANCE LUNGE


TRX crossing balance lunge start

TRX crossing balance lunge end

• Stand tall with the arms reaching forward and the palms facing each other.
• Center the right leg to align with the TRX anchor.
• Extend the left leg behind you, and then externally rotate the leg so that the left leg crosses behind the right.
• Focus on pressing down through the right foot to maintain balance.
• Drive up through the right heel to return to the starting position.
• Complete 5-8 reps. Repeat on the left side.

4. TRX SINGLE-LEG SQUAT


TRX Single leg squat start copy

TRX single leg squat end copy

• Stand tall with the arms reaching forward and the palms facing each other.
• Center the right leg to align with the TRX anchor.
• Lower the tailbone toward the floor while sending the left leg forward.
• Drive up through the right heel to return to the starting position.
• Complete 5-8 reps. Repeat on the left side.

5. TREE POSE WITH CHEST STRETCH


TRX Tree pose the one

This static balance exercise can be performed barefoot to improve strength in the stabilizing muscles of the foot and ankle.
• Stand holding both TRX straps while facing away from the anchor.
• Take a few steps forward to create tension on the TRX straps.
• Root the right foot into the floor while rotating the left hip open.
• The left foot may rest on the floor, inner calf or inner thigh.
Stretch the arms out wide to a “T” or “W” position.
• Hold for 30-60 seconds. Repeat on the left side.


TRX Tree pose the one

maurie@mauriecofman.com