I love telling the story about my “craziness” in the late ’90s. When you are around an industry for a long time, it is funny to see how people often take for granted concepts we tend to think as so commonplace nowadays. So, in the late 90’s I got into stability ball training from Paul Chek courses I was taking. At the time, Paul was a controversial and popular figure for promoting new ideas of functional training. Admittedly, Paul had some really good and other ideas that weren’t so good, like a lot of people especially when something is new. However, during studying his courses I fell in love with stability ball training, in many ways it seemed to bring strength to balance training.
Fitness is kinda a funny beast, when we are bad at something we either write it off completely or dive headfirst in doing everything related to the idea. For me, I was never terribly athletic especially when it came to agility and coordination. My athletic career was far more about brute force than being really athletic. This was really true when it came to issues related to balance training. That is why I did so much stuff at the time on stability balls and I remember being fun of at the time as though these balls would ever be in mainstream gyms (kinda funny right?!)
How I often felt during my balance training, good thing I learned smarter ways of accomplishing these goals.
I bring this up because we did end up learning that unstable surfaces didn’t really build the core strength or “balance training” that we thought in the late ’90s and early 2000s. The study by Willardson et al in 2009 really solidified this idea…
“The current study did not demonstrate any advantage in utilizing the BOSU Balance Trainer. Therefore, fitness trainers should be advised that each of the aforementioned lifts can be performed while standing on stable ground without losing the potential core muscle training benefits.”
The above study and others often upset people, but it really shouldn’t. We all do things until science tells us if they really worked like we thought or not. In fact, I am grateful that I was shown what I was doing back then really wasn’t the right way to approach balance training because it made me go back and gain a better understanding of what balance training means.
What Is Balance Training & Why Should You Care?
Most people that focus on fat loss, muscle gaining, and more of cosmetic goals tend to not prioritize balance training because how does that help such goals? Once studies showed that we really didn’t activate more muscles during such balance training drills the idea of using them seemed less and less important. So, why SHOULD you care about balance training if you have cosmetic, fitness, and/or performance goals?
We have to understand balance can be both dynamic and static. Most of us think of balance training being while we move (even though I will show you how static balance is important) and both are related to our ability to keep our center of mass over our base of support. Hmm, what does that mean? Ever see someone try to shift a direction, have too much of their torso get out over their body and they lose their balance? That is more or less of what we are talking about.
Okay, so? I’ve written a lot in our DVRT blogs about how the ability to resist force is both a way to use WAY more muscles as well as build injury resilience. Renown Strength Coach, Robert Dos Remedios discussed this idea of deceleration being a key in injury reduction in his recent presentation for Perform Better.
Coach Dos discussed how deceleration and the ability to move with fluidity in different patterns is really key for injury reduction and performance development.
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The name of the game is strength and stability while changing directions. Using combination exercises is a great and effective way to challenge the body’s ability to generate and resist force all at the same time – kinda what real life demands of us outside the comforts of our predictable training space. Learning how to navigate gravity is what will make us resilient and redefine strength! Special thanks to @rdpaget for this Ultimate #Sandbag combo!
DVRT Master, Cory Cripe shows 3 progressions of this idea of using strength and deceleration skills (from hardest to foundational) to build more practical and real-world balance training.
The above drills are great but a lot of people need to know how to create stability in their balance training through how they use their hands and feet. A great way of achieving this goal is to use marching patterns with the emphasis on “grabbing the ground” with the feet, driving down with the feet, and how we create tension in the hands and arms.
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Stability Exercises That Improve Glute & Core Function!!! 🍑 Training the gluteals go beyond just #squats and #deadlifts and I know a lot of people would overlook the lighter weight in these exercises however these light weights alongside with the resistance band provides a lot of work to the whole body to resist. 👣 It forces me to fight against the band and to grab the floor with the foot and connect it with the rest of the chain. This might be rehab or #prehab but I highly recommend doing these kind of exercises to get everything fire up before starting a workout or include them into #activerecovery #singleleg #unilateral #anklemobility #stability #stabilitytraining #athleteperformance #injuryrehab #injuryrecovery #injuryprevention #mobilitytraining #movebetter #performbetter #resistancebandsworkout #barefoottraining #gluteworkout #coretraining #functionalmovement #corestrength #jointhealth #dvrt #ultimatesandbag
DVRT UK Master, Greg Perlaki shows some great ideas based around these concepts, and seeing the big picture, such drills should proceed more complex balance training drills like loaded carries. The stability during such drills is so important and that is why physical therapist breaks down the following…
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Oh how things can go wrong so fast! I’m talking about how many popular exercises become problems because we don’t actually take the time to progress people through the levels they need to be successful at higher level movements. Makes sense until I tell you that loaded carries tend to be one of those higher level exercises! ____________ “But Jessica, EVERYONE walks, how can it be advanced?” Just because people have to do it every day doesn’t mean they do it well. There is a reason we see issues of knee and low back issues going up and up every year. Yes, there are many reasons, but not moving correctly is one of them and you would be shocked to hear that many times people don’t even walk well. ____________ Walking is far more complex than people think. During walking 60-70% of the time the person is single leg, meaning they not only have to stabilize to not fall over but they are at the same time moving themselves forward. In other words, they have to resist many forces trying to push their body over while having great strength to decelerate and accelerate at the same time. This takes a great amount of pelvic and core strength that most people do not have. When we now layer load on top of the movement, we are asking for issues at the hips, knees, and low back! _____________ How can we get people more successful and prepared for not only a good gym exercise but more importantly every day life? These marching drills I use are a good place to see if people are ready for more complex carries. Using the different loading patterns I look to see if we can control our pelvis/core while having movement at the thoracic spine which is essential in locomotion. Additionally, marching takes away the forward acceleration and deceleration so get to see just how well people do in single leg stance. The question isn’t if loaded carries are good, but are they good for the person we are working with?
My goal with discussing balance training is to show that is far more specific than most people think. That it should be more thoughtful than just trying to stand on one leg. If done correctly, balance training can build muscle, increase the intensity of our workouts for better fat loss, and make us feel better so we can train more consistently and with greater effort. What DVRT UK Master, Greg Perlaki shows below is where we can start going with balance training that looks like something we should strive for in our workouts than any type of DUI test.
Find out more about how we build balance training and much better functional fitness in our DVRT Online Certifications/Courses and Workouts HERE. Don’t forget you can also get 20% off our Ultimate Sandbags to give such great progressions and purposeful variety in your training with code “save20” along with our education and workouts!
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Biggest Bang For Your Buck Exercises! Today I needed to get a short and sharp workout done so I opted in for the following routine. I did half an hour of the below exercises and it felt amazing! 30/30 X 5 rounds ♦️ MAX DL to Forward Step Clean L ♦️ Rotational Press ♦️ MAX DL to Forward Step Clean R ♦️ Band Assisted Wide Grip Pull Ups ♦️ Single Leg Lever Bell Flies & Suitcase USB Hold L ♦️ Single Leg Lever Bell Flies & Suitcase USB Hold R #dvrt #ultimatesandbag #functionalfitness #functionalstrength #strengthandconditioning #athletictraining #antirotation #powertraining #rotationalpower #resistancetraining #dynamicstrength #kettlebellworkout #sandbagworkout #livestrong #strengthisneveraweakness #mobilitytraining #stabilitytraining #hybridtraining #ukfitness #fullbodyworkout #totalbodyworkout #metabolicconditioning