The Protection of Balance
Does balance training matter? Does our normal training suffice for "balance" training? How much should we pay attention to balance?
Did you know - having appropriate balance can protect you from altered movement patterns, increase your performance, increase strength, and decrease potential for compensation.
Within our bodies we have many different types of nerves that each have their own jobs. Some sense mechanical stimulation, some help our heart beat, and some can even anticipate movement before it even happens! Our nerves are what make us move, and in order to be faster, stronger, and have better performance - we must improve the efficiency of these nerves. Well... how do you do that? Just like any other part of our body - we TRAIN. Good ole PRACTICE. Cardio is to build an efficient heart, resistance training is to grow muscles, and balance training is to create efficiency within nerves, protect muscles, and avoid altered movement patterns - protecting you from injury and decreased performance.
Thanks to our super smart bodies... your body likes to protect itself. Unfortunately, if you lack balance and have altered movement, you will only be able to perform based on your weakest area... SO if your balance isn't trained sufficiently - your friend who has less muscle may outperform you! Balance is SO important - not only to increase performance, but to protect and sustain you through the aging process.
Here's the deal - If you are weak in any area, your body will transfer forces to another area. While this may save you from immediate injury, you are creating faulty movement patterns that in turn create tissue overload, bad posture, make you prone to future injury, and create less efficient force production (your strength!). Without balance, your tissues are constantly under stress, and transfer their jobs to synergistic muscles. The bad news with that is those "helper" muscles just can't do the job as good as the prime movers! The helper muscles fatigue more quickly, and aren't as efficient sending the information to your nervous system.
By incorporating balance training correctly, you are utilizing the optimum angles & posture, giving you the performance advantage, and protecting you from injury. In addition, you can increase the rate at which your nerves gather and send information! Who knew practicing balance could offer THIS much benefit!? Why not give yourself the best advantage at life and performance?
Below I have listed some of my favorite tools for training: #ad
While balance shouldn't be the only thing you do, It's definitely a great way to ensure you're building that strong foundation to support your efficient machine! You can start by incorporating variation such as:
Perform exercises standing on one leg instead of two
Incorporate turns in your jumps
Close your eyes during movement
Create an unstable base of support (like standing on a half foam roll)
Transfer from known stimulus to unknown
Give your brain the surprise it needs! Most importantly, make sure your QUALITY of movement comes before quantity. I hope you all have a wonderful week ahead, and kick butt in your training! Please reach out if you are interested in a customized training program, or would like some nutrition coaching support. Talk to you soon!