Balance is an important part of anyone’s training routine, but is especially important for athletes. In everyday life, we often are forced to balance (with or without consciously thinking about it).Think about the last time you walked up the stairs.
Each time you step up, you force your body to balance on one leg as you propel your body upwards to the next step. As an athlete, in any given sport, you are similarly forced to balance during a game or practice.
By training for balance during your workouts, you are preparing your body to balance better during a game. Training for balance can also help to prevent injury.When athletes are forced to balance during a game, but are not ready for the challenge, this can lead to injury.RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
When you train for balance, you are preparing your body for the balance challenges you will see in the game. This can help you to prevent injury. So let’s get to these balance exercises that will help you take your workouts to the next level!
Single Leg Squat
To perform the single leg squat, shift your weight onto your right foot. Engage your glutes of the right leg and keep a slight bend in your right knee. Lift your left foot off the ground just slightly, keeping your left foot close to (but not touching) your right foot.
Slowly lower into a squat position, as far down as you can while keeping your right knee in line with your second and third toes (not allowing the knee to bend inward). Repeat for 8-10 repetitions and switch sides. For more squat variations, read here.
Single Leg Romanian Deadlift
To perform the single leg Romanian deadlift, begin by shifting your weight onto your right foot and raising your left foot off the ground slightly. Engage your right glute and keep a slight bend in your right knee.
Keeping a flat back, hinge forward at your hips, shooting your glutes to the back and reaching toward the floor.Feel a stretch in your hamstrings and then pull your body back upright, keeping your back flat and abs taught throughout the movement. Repeat for 8-10 repetitions and switch sides. For my leg lift variations, follow this link.
Single Leg Hops
Single leg hops are an excellent exercise for balance for an athlete.Begin by standing on your right leg, keeping your left foot close, but not touching your right leg. From that position, slightly lower into a single leg ¼ squat, then explode up and forward.
Land on your same single leg with knee slightly bent, and hold this position for a few seconds. Repeat on the same side for 6-10 repetitions, then switch sides.To progress this exercise, instead of jumping forward, jump laterally or jump and make a 180 degree turn.
Single Leg Box Hop Up
The single leg box hop up is going to be a more challenging balance exercise. To begin this exercise, stand on one leg in front of a plyo box (begin with a small box, maybe 3-6” in height; as you get stronger, you can raise the height of the box). Dip slightly with your weight on you single leg, then explode up and balance on one leg on the top of the box.
Hold the balance position for a few seconds, then step down and repeat. Repeat for 8-10 repetitions then switch legs. You can further increase the intensity of this exercise by jumping to the side (lateral jumps) and also using a 180 degree turn as you jump up.
If you are an athlete looking to improve your balance, these moves are perfect for you. Repeat them at least once per week for best results, or add 1-2 exercises to your current routine up to 3 times per week. Now you are ready to take your workouts to the next level—get balancing!