Many people, when starting their fitness journey, are drawn to the machines at the gym that are only isolating a single muscle at a time. This is really common and, the truth is, we don’t really know any better. We think we are “supposed to go to the gym for our health” and we see all the machines when we get there – it makes sense, right? Wrong! The truth is, the foundation of your fitness routine should be balance and stability exercises in order to activate and strengthen the core and the many stabilizing muscles, improve coordination, decrease the risk of injury and work to eliminate overcompensations that probably have developed over time. And, there are so many effective bodyweight exercises you can do to build this foundation without ever even stepping foot in a gym. Hooray for time and money saved, right?
What is balance and stability training?
Balance and stability training is performing an exercise in, what we call in the fitness industry, a proprioceptively enriched environment. To put it in layman’s terms: an unstable environment. This can be performing an exercise while balancing on one leg, standing on a pillow, BOSU ball or even a rolled up yoga mat. This type of training demands a lot of core activation and attention (it’s impossible to be on your phone or have a conversation while doing this type of training – you can take a selfie after). If you want to get a feel for this type of training, try balancing on one leg while brushing your teeth!
Think like a kid
As a kid, most of us were running, jumping, climbing, landing on one foot, balancing on a balance beam or edge of sand box…are you getting the mental picture here? We were doing balance and stability exercises without even realizing it. As adults, we’re not climbing all over the place (although I say we should be!), balancing and activating our core as we should. Many have a weak core, distressed lower back and, as a result, have adopted many movement compensations (favoring one side while walking, standing, sitting and even while training). Have you adopted any of these bad habits? Not sure? Don’t worry – there are ways to fix it.
How often should you incorporate this type of training?
Aim for one to two balance and stability exercise workouts per week. This goes for beginners all the way up to advanced athletes. It’s very important that pros improve stability as well.
The 5 best balance and stability exercises
1. SL (single leg) Squats
2. SL (single leg) Jump Squats
3. Speed Skaters
4. Lunge to Front Kick
So, did you try out these stability exercises? If so, you probably noticed that one side is much stronger and more coordinated than the other. That’s normal and totally fine – keep practicing!
All of these exercises can be found in the adidas Training app! Download it today and start improving your balance, stability and core control!