Balance Exercises Featuring the Strongboard
The first in our monthly Health, Wellness, and Fitness series, we will be going throughout the body and telling you all you need to know about an aspect of health and how you can improve it in your life.
The four general components of fitness are:
1. Balance, the ability to maintain equilibrium from a base of support
2. Flexibility, the range of mobility
3. Strength, the ability to exert oneself
4. Endurance, the ability to exert oneself for an extended period of time
Balance uses visual, vestibular, and somatosensory (proprioception mainly) systems to maintain a line of gravity from a base of support, minimizing lateral sway from that equilibrium. Balance, an often over-looked component of fitness, is a skill that can be tested and improved in a range of ways. One such way that we advocate for is using an unstable surface or specially-designed tool, like the Strongboard Balance Board (alternatively, you can use a different balance board, wobbleboard, BOSU ball or other uneven surface for most of these exercises). Having the only certified Strongboard instructor in Canada, you book an appointment today to try these out with professional guidance from a kinesiologist.
There are 5 main stances when using the Strongboard, two feet on the board, one foot on the board, hands on the board, sitting on the board, and using the board as a weight. When standing on the board, it is easiest to use one foot to depress one end to its maximum range, and hoist your other foot up using the first foot as a stable anchor, using a wall or other stable object if you need additional balance in mounting the board. To increase difficulty of any of the exercises below, you can
Here are some suggested exercises to try for each stance:
Two Foot Stance
- Squat – Stand with two feet on the board, engage your core and sit back into a squat.
- Hip Thrust – Lay down and place your feet on the board, knees bent, raising your pelvis into a bridge
- Overhead Press – Stand with two foot on the board, lift a kettle bell or similar weight into a press above your head
Throwing and Catching – Standing with two feet on the board, have another person throw you a ball. Catch and throw it back.
One Foot Stance
- Airplane – Place one foot in the center of the board, slowly extend your other leg to a horizontal position behind you and bring your torso to a position parallel with the floor in front of you with arms outstretched
- Split Squat – Get into a lunge position with one foot in the centre of the board, and lower into a squat
- Lunge with Row – In that lunge position, take a weight in the arm opposite the foot on the board and perform a row, lifting the weight upwards
Mountain climbers – Place both hands on the board and get into a plank position, alternate driving each knee forwards to the opposite armpit
Plank with side crunch – With on hand on the board in a side plank position, crunch your upper leg and arm towards your centre of mass
Jumping Jacks – Place both hands on the board in a plank position, jump both feed outwards then back to centre again
Jump Lunges – Place both hands on the board and lunge one foot forward towards your arm, the other extended behind you. Jump into a lunge on the opposite side
Push up – Place both hands on the board and perform a push-up
- V-sit with rotation – Carefully sit on the center of the board and lean back, bring legs up to V position, then rotate torso holding medicine ball maintaining a neutral spine. If too challenging, begin without a rotation and/or weight
- Burpee – Carefully lift the board from the ground up and overhead, then bring it back down to the ground, place both hands on the board and jump back into a plank position, do a push up and return to standing, REPEAT!
- Lunge with rotation – Holding the board in front of you at chest height, perform a lunge then rotate to each side. Come out of the lunge and repeat.
- Deadlift – Standing in proper deadlift position, grab hold of the board by its centre posts and perform a deadlift
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