Why balance training is important for every athlete

Why balance training is important for every athlete

Regular balance training is a matter of course for skiers and gymnasts. Not only because it improves their performance, but above all, to avoid injuries. However, it is essential for everyone who regularly does sports and fitness. Balance training makes you better in all areas.

Balance training should be a fixed workout part

Long underestimated in its importance, there is hardly any sport today where balance training plays no role. That is not surprising, because we need this ability almost all the time. It is vital for runners when they jog on uneven ground. Tennis players need the right balance when they run a ball, and soccer players need it when they play a volley. Balance is also required when doing weight training with free weights.

The role of the center of gravity

The center of gravity plays a vital role in balance abilities. That is the position in which you feel most stable and are least likely to lose your balance. Whenever you move, your body looks for the safest part. A study published in Sports Medicine magazine has shown that muscle strength and flexibility are not enough to train your balancing skills. Only regular balance training can effectively improve posture control.

Balance training improves three important areas

  • Balance training is the only method that simultaneously trains the visual, vestibular, and proprioceptive systems.
  • In the visual system, orientation in space is achieved through the eyes. The ears are part of the vestibular system.
  • In the proprioceptive system, they are special receptors in muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints.
  • Balance training also improves neuroplasticity in the brain. Newly developed areas in our mind help to maintain balance even during the most complicated exercises.
Balance training
There are infinitely many exercises for a balance training (©adpic)

Balance skills can be easily trained

  • Walk forwards and backward on a curb or tree stone. Advanced players can also try to throw a ball up and catch it again. Professionals should try juggling and balancing.
  • One-legged knee bends are also very useful. You can move your leg backward or forwards. Or you can try to put the lower leg on the thigh of the supporting leg while bending it.
  • Falling exercises, like in Judo, are also very suitable to train your balance skills.

Balance exercises with tools

Of course, the industry has also long since reacted and offers numerous products for practical balance training: These include fitness balls, balance boards, and unique foam cushions, slacklines, and mini-trampolines. Very popular in summer, and a great balance sport is stand-up paddling.

A few more tips

For balance exercises, you need enough space. Especially avoid sharp edges if you get out of balance. During all activities, it is also important to continue breathing evenly and not to hold your breath. Unfortunately, this happens quite quickly. It’s not necessarily the degree of difficulty but the stress of learning new exercises. It should not be your goal to keep your upper body completely still during the exercises. It is much better to find precisely the area between tension and relaxation that keeps you balanced.
Find the weak points and train them. Do not rest on it when you have mastered the exercises correctly, but make them harder. It’s like strength training. Over time, you take more weights.

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