Balance Exercises for Athletes

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If you're an athlete, you know the importance of maintaining your balance and stability. Many sports-specific drills, movements, skills and plays, whether running, jumping, throwing or walking, require high levels of balance, motor control, and postural control.

Athletes benefit from balance training because having back and forth balance will help you to perform your best and reduce your risk of injury. But how do you improve your balance as an athlete? You start by incorporating static balance and dynamic balance training into your routine. 

Static Balance Training

Static balance is your ability to hold your body in a specific stationary position and posture. These positions often include single leg poses that can be made more difficult by adding an unstable surface to stand on, such as a Bosu ball, or by adding a mental distraction to increase the challenge, such as throwing a ball back andforth. 

Dynamic or Sport-Specific Balance Training

Dynamic balance is your ability to maintain balance while moving your body or playing sports. This type of training often includes sports-specific balance positions or practicing a sports movement while holding your balance, such as holding a lunge position while hitting a tennis ball. 

To make this training even more dynamic, you can incorporate unstable surfaces, add in a plyometric component, such as jumping and sticking the landing or add in an agility component, such as quickly changing directions while maintaining your balance. You can also add an instability component, such as holding unilateral weights to offset load, attaching weights to elastic bands to add perturbations or adding chains to the load to increase the postural challenge.

MAVEN’s Favorite Balance Exercises

At Maven Physical Therapy and Performance, we are pros when it comes to helping athletes improve their balance. Some of our favorite balance and coordination exercises for athletes include the following movements.

  1. Single-leg stance: Stand on one leg and hold the position for 30 seconds. Then switch to the other leg and repeat. As you get more comfortable, try closing your eyes or reaching your arms out to the sides to challenge your balance further.
  2. Single-leg balance reaches: Stand on one leg and reach the opposite hand to touch your toes. Then switch to the other leg and repeat. This exercise will help to improve your stability and coordination.
  3. Side plank with leg lift: Start in a side plank position and lift your top leg as high as you can. Hold for a few seconds, then lower and repeat. This exercise targets your obliques, glutes, and hips, which are all important for balance.
  4. Bosu ball squat: Stand on a Bosu ball (a half dome-shaped exercise ball) with your feet shoulder-width apart. Squat down as low as you can, then stand back up. This exercise will help to improve your balance and coordination, as well as strengthen your legs and core.

Balance Improvement Exercise at MAVEN

Start improving your stability and performance as an athlete by incorporating these balance exercises into your training routine. Don't be afraid to test yourself and try new exercises – the more you practice, the better your balance will become. Adding in a bosu ball, balance pad, kettlebells and an agility ladder into your balance routine will challenge the system even more. And, if you have any questions or concerns, be sure to consult with one of Maven’s physical therapists to show you how to safely advance your balance routine.