Balance Training

By on November 17, 2013
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BALANCE TRAINING

Balance training is any action or activity that develops the neuromuscular connections between your body and brain. Every part of your body has a job to do and you must engage in exercises that teach them all how to function properly together.

It establishes and/or reestablishes the proper neuromuscular connections between your eyes, ears, nerves, muscles and brain. It is your mind that orchestrates every movement within the flow and form of your body.

Hectic schedules, lack of exercise and bad habits damage your co-ordination which results in aches and pains, and damages your functional mobility and postural alignment. Balance training reconditions your body so that it can function in a pain-free manner as you age.

FORMS of BALANCE TRAINING

There are many different forms of balance training, and even though each of them have different methods and techniques, all of them are beneficial. Balance training is not specifically for weight loss but is an essential part of health fitness and athletic fitness.

Balance training is commonly known as “Core training” because it targets the core of your body. Pilates refers to this area of your body as the “powerhouse” because this is the area of your body from which all movement and power originates.

This part of the body where the upper and lower body meet absorbs the most amount of pressure and is consequently the most often damaged or injured. That is why balance training is so important to everyone’s health.

CORE TRAINING

 Core Stability Training develops trunk, lumbopelvic, and spinal stabilization. It helps you restore the neuromuscular connections (motor control) of the muscles that protect and stabilize your “core” which is where your upper and lower body come together.

This point of contact where your spine crosses the pelvic bone absorbs a lot of pressure and sustains a great deal of damage. Research has shown that 80% of low back pain (LBP) can be avoided and made better by training the muscles that stabilize this area.

These muscles are your lower back, hip flexors, abdominals (specifically your TRa) and buttocks. They stabilize and protect the “power house” of your body and your “pillar strength” muscles run upwards and downwards from your “core”.

PILATES

Pilates is one of the best training styles for the overall health of the body, especially as we age. Pilates is a complete system that focuses on proper postural alignment and controlled functional movements of all of your muscles, tendons, joints and bones.

Joseph Pilates calls your core, the “power house” of the body. Pilates teaches that all movement initiates from this area and that you must learn to control the spine during dynamic movement. This is the key to spinal health and proper postural alignment.

Pilates is extremely beneficial for everyone even though its focus is not on weight loss (nor will change the length of your genetically structured muscles). It does help you stand taller and straighter, while strengthening and maximizing your genetic potential.

GYROKENETICS

Gyrokenetics system exercises the musculature while mobilizing and articulating the joints, simultaneously stretching and strengthening the body with minimal effort, while increasing range of motion and developing coordination.

This system is very similar to Pilates, but instead of the reformer uses a beautifully intricate pulley-system tower. Gyrokenetics has a complete line of accessories which all focus on developing proper postural alignment and functional movement.

This system is focused on health of the body, not weight loss. All of the beautiful, graceful dancers that you see teaching this style are ectomorphs who have spent their entire lives and now their careers focusing on the graceful movement of their bodies.

YOGA

Yoga is an art form aimed at integrating the mind, body and spirit; in order to achieve a state of enlightenment or oneness with the universe. Yoga is great for the body but must be done in stages. Yoga is a style of exercise that imitates life.

Yoga is designed to be like life itself. It has a starting point from which you grow and learn more about your body until you reach a state of maturity. When you reach the state of total control over your body, you have an understanding of how to keep it healthy.

Yoga can be extremely beneficial and healthy for the body, or it can throw you into an immediate injury, if you attempt a position that your body is not ready to handle. Learning your body’s abilities and limitations is one of the keys to health.

TAI CHI

Tai chi is an ancient form of self-defense and has been utilized for over 2,000 years as a graceful form of exercise. Tai chi can be described as “meditation in motion” and is excellent for people of all ages and fitness levels.

Tai chi is a noncompetitive form of martial arts in which you focus your mind on the movements of your body through a series of graceful and fluid movements. Studies have shown that it can improve your balance and reduce the risk of falls.

Tai chi is low impact and puts minimal stress on your muscles and joints making it ideal for health minded individuals and for the elderly. There are numerous health benefits from reducing stress, increasing flexibility, energy, agility and an overall sense of well being.

TESTS of BALANCE

There are two simple tests that you can do right now to check the neuromuscular abilities of your body. One simply reflects the general Health Fitness of your body while the second is much more difficult and relates to the Performance Fitness of your body.

The first is simply standing on one leg. It is the most basic yet essential part of our lives because even walking is simply balancing on one leg long enough to get the other leg out in front of us to catch our body weight and repeat.

The second test is the “front bridge” which is more reflective of the strength of our “core stabilizers” which are the muscles that protect and stabilize our lower backs. The human body should be able to hold this positions to ensure segmental spinal stabilization.

HEALTH FITNESS TEST of BALANCE

Static Balance Test

How long can you stand on one leg comfortably?

Stand barefoot on a hard, flat surface and time yourself to see how long you can stand on one leg. If you are right handed use your left leg, if you are left handed use your right leg. The test should be done with your eyes closed.

Static Balance Test: Score Card

Test

1

2

3

Average of

3 times:

Match your average to the chart below.

Static Balance Test: Results Chart

Average Time

Equivalent Age

4 seconds

70

5 seconds

65

7 seconds

60

8 seconds

55

9 seconds

50

12 seconds

45

16 seconds

40

22 seconds

30-35

28 seconds

25-30

PERFORMANCE FITNESS TEST of BALANCE

 

Front Bridge

 

Beginner

      .      Position a watch on the ground where you can easily see it

.      Assume the basic press position (elbows on the ground) – as in the picture

.      Hold this position for 30-60 seconds then relax on your stomach.

Intermediate

      .      Assume the basic press position (elbows on the ground) – as in the picture

.      Lift your right arm off the ground and hold for 15 seconds

.      Return your right arm to the ground and

.      Lift your left arm off the ground and hold for 15 seconds

.      Return your left arm to the ground and

.      Lift the right leg off the ground and hold for 15 seconds

.      Return your right leg to the ground and

.      Lift the left leg off the ground and hold for 15 seconds then relax.

Advanced

      .      Lift your left leg and right arm off the ground and hold for 15 seconds.

.      Return you left leg and right arm to the ground

.      Lift your right leg and left arm off the ground and hold for 15 seconds and

Repeat this series for 4 more rounds then relax.

 

About TheFitnessAnswerMan

The Fitness Answer Man is the online personality founded by Kevin Forrest CPT, FMS Pro Trainer and Master Fitness Trainer for the US Military. He has worked in the fitness industry for 30 years and was one of the first trainers to incorporate the physio ball into people's workouts and helped pioneer in the field of "Core" training. He specializes in movement rehabilitation and uses his experience to help clarify the confusion about diet and exercise that still exists within the fitness industry today.

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