• 09 Jul - 15 Jul, 2022
  • Mag The Weekly

When you exercise, you may focus on how certain regimens will improve your strength, help you lose weight, or even make you more flexible. Or maybe you just exercise to feel good and stay healthy – all are valid motivations for breaking a sweat. But another huge benefit of exercise you may not think about is how it improves your balance.

Working on your balance, or stability, won't just make you look more graceful in the weight room. Improving balance is important for overall fitness and everyday activities simply because it increases overall movement function.

Ready to start? Here, we give you five exercises that are great for challenging and improving your balance skills.

Sumo squat with outer thigh pulse

• Start in a wide stance, feet turned out 45 degrees.

• Bend at your knees and hips to lower into a sumo squat. Keep your torso upright.

• As you stand, extend one leg and the opposite arm. Hold and pulse your leg up two to three inches three times.

• Put your leg back down to start position and repeat.

• Alternate sides for 12 reps.

This exercise strengthens your lower body and forces the core to engage while improving your balance.

Standing crunch with under-the-leg clap

• Start balancing on one leg, with the other out in front of you, knee bent at a 90-degree angle, and your hands together overhead.

• Crunch forward and clap your hands under the raised leg.

• Continue to clap over your head and under your raised leg 12 times. Repeat on your other leg.

Balancing on one leg is challenging in itself. Add movement in the midst of a static hold with these claps and your core will be on fire.

Curtsy lunge with oblique crunch

• Stand with your feet hip-width apart, fingertips at your ears and elbows out wide.

• Cross one leg behind you and lower into a curtsy lunge.

• Without rotating your hips, stand and bring that same leg up to meet the same side elbow for an oblique crunch.

• Do 12 reps, and then switch legs.

This total-body movement activates the glutes, engages the inner thigh, and strengthens your obliques.

Plank with flying plane arms

• Start in high plank with your arms extended and hands directly under your shoulders.

• Keep your hips stable and core engaged as you lift one arm straight out in front of you.

• Keep holding this arm up and fan it out to the side.

• Return your hand to the front again, then lower it to the ground.

• Repeat this sequence on the opposite side. Continue to alternate sides for 12 rounds.

By lifting and mobilising one of your extremities both your core strength and stability are challenged. To make this harder, bring your feet closer together. To make it easier, open your feet wider or do the sequence on all fours.

Rolling forearm side plank

• Start in a side forearm plank, propping up your body weight on your forearm. Stack your feet on top of each other. Extend the top arm.

• Roll under your body to the opposite side, switching which arm is on the ground and which is in the air.

• Hold on each side for two to three seconds.

• Continue to roll from side to side 12 times.

The movement of rolling from one side of your body to the other challenges your balance as your body moves between creating momentum and stabilising in a static hold.