There are plenty of benefits to including balance work in your training regimen:
- Unilateral exercises help strengthen core engagement, thus improving the foundation from which all movement begins.
- Your muscles work together synergistically to strengthen the entire kinetic chain, decreasing chances of a fall or potentially injurious missteps during typical activities of daily living.
- Balance work can help you identify areas of weakness and potential blocks towards improving athletic performance as well as improve coordination for advanced movement patterns and power-driven exercises.
- Workouts with balance challenges improve the mind-body connection. This strengthened connection leads to increases in both the mental stamina and self-efficacy needed to complete challenging workouts.
- Such workouts provide a break from the wear and tear of impact training and challenge the brain to alternative methods of processing mind-body awareness for a well-rounded approach to physical fitness.
Every move in this workout has varying degrees of balance work. During the Strength Circuits, you will complete each exercise for 45 seconds, an interval long enough for you to fully familiarize yourself with each move. Adding even just a small degree of balance work during these strength-focused moves increases muscle time under tension to help build strength. Once you proceed to the Balance Work Segments, capitalize on the muscle activation that occurred during the Strength Circuits to make the most of the one-minute intervals and focus on stabilization.
I’ll admit, I thoroughly enjoyed moving at a slower speed than my usual workouts with this balance-focused session. For a couple days afterwards, I noticed several muscles felt “awakened” with a good, healthy kind of sore that let me know I’ve been neglecting certain muscle groups and training modalities. Take your time with each move and listen to the feedback your body is giving you. Have fun! And if you feel so inclined, share with us what you learned about your body and mind during this workout in the comments section below.
Warmup: 30 sec on, no rest between moves, 2 rounds (6:00)
- Knee Hugs (alternating)
- Jump Rope
- Lateral Lunge + Reverse Lunge (alternating)
- Standing Oblique Crunches + Leg Lifts (alternating, arms overhead)
- Full Plank: Slow Shoulder Taps
Strength Circuit Format: 45 sec on / 15 sec off / 2 rounds (no break between rounds) / minimal break between Circuits and Balance Work
Circuit #1: Lower Body Focus
- 1/2-Way Pulse Reverse Lunge – R
- Narrow + Wide Squat – R (stay low)
- 1/2-Way Pulse Reverse Lunge – L
- Narrow + Wide Squat – L (stay low)
Balance Work Segment #1: 1:00 each, no rest between moves
- Single-Leg Deadlift + Knee Raise – R (with arm extensions)
- Single-Leg Deadlift + Knee Raise – L (with arm extensions)
Circuit #2: Upper Body/Core Focus
- Forearm Side Plank: Leg Lift Crunch – R
- Frogger Push-Ups
- Forearm Side Plank: Leg Lift Crunch – L
- Push-Up + Down-Dog
Balance Work Segment #2: 1:00 each, no rest between moves
- Curtsy Lunge + Leg Raise with Shift – R (raise arms overhead)
- Curtsy Lunge + Leg Raise with Shift – L (raise arms overhead)
Circuit #3: Lower Body/Upper Body/Core Focus
- Lateral Lunge with Forward Raise Hold – R
- Inchworm Walkout + Reverse Fly (don’t stand up)
- Lateral Lunge with Forward Raise Hold – L
- Bear Crawl Position: Leg Extensions (alternating)
Balance Work Segment #3: 1:00 each, no rest between moves
- Boat Pose + Knee Lifts (lift and lower one at a time)
- Crab Crunch (slow tempo)
Cool-Down: approx. 30 sec per stretch (4:00)
- Cat/Cow Stretch
- Rollup to Standing + Shoulder Rolls
- Arm Circles (switch directions halfway)
- Split Stance Hip Flexors/Quads Stretch – R
- Hip Hinge Hamstrings Stretch - R
- Split Stance Hip Flexors/Quads Stretch – L
- Hip Hinge Hamstrings Stretch – L
- Overhead Side Bend Reaches (alternating)