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.
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.
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…
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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