One element of fitness that cannot be overlooked is that of balance and agility training.
It’s easy to put so much focus towards strength training and cardio work, completely forgetting about this critical element of your fitness.
It’s important to train balance and agility however as it will make you more capable to complete everyday activities, not to mention if you happen to be involved in any sort of sport or athletic event, make you far more capable with those as well.
That said, how can you train for balance and agility? One big reason it’s often overlooked is because people simply don’t know the best way to manage this element of their training routine.
Let’s walk you through…
The 4 Smartest Moves you should know for balance training
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1. The Ultimate Push-up Tool – the PushX3
Topping the list for balance training is the PushX3. While at first glance this device may seem to be primarily for building strength in the upper body, don’t be fooled.
While it definitely will carry out that goal, it’s also going to work very well to help enhance your balance and agility as well. Since you will be off-balance the entire time you have your hands on the PushX3, this means your core muscles need to be contracting hard to keep you centered.
2. Gymnastic Rings
Some people consider ring training synonymous only with the Olympics and gymnastics competitions – but make no mistake, gymnastic rings are incredibly beneficial for all athletes and are showing up in more gyms and than ever before.
A standard for CrossFit athletes, rings are valuable for simultaneously building strength, stability, coordination, and flexibility with greater range-of-motion.
Gymnastic rings are not easy. Especially when considering the notorious “strict muscle-up. But, there are many ways to use rings, including dips, pullups, leaning pullups or rows, L-sits and tucks, and leaning pushups. You can also provide assistance using bands to develop muscles and movements until your progression allows you to do even the most difficult ring workout variations.
If you're willing to train hard and master the different ring workout techniques, you'll find gymnastic rings are a great tool for building upper-body muscle and balance.
3. Bosu Ball Training
The next movement to incorporate is with the Bosu ball.
Some athletes use this equipment by standing on top of a Bosu ball and then performing some of the normal exercises you might already be doing such as shoulder press, lateral raises, and bicep curls will all work those target muscles, while also improving your balance and agility.
One of the most exciting uses, however, is using the Bosu in plank position with either flat side down or the equipment upside-down so it’s unstable. The Bosu ball differs from the PushX3 in that this time your upper body and hands move in parallel over a wider surface area, but both are going to improve your fitness level in the same way.
Just be sure that you are finding your balance first when on the bosu ball before executing any weight based moves. You need to be aware that your injury risk will be slightly higher while using this device.
4. Single Limb Exercises, period.
Finally, the last way to incorporate more balance training into your workout sessions is to simply take some of the exercises you are already doing and perform them with a single limb instead.
Single-leg split squats, single-leg squats, single-leg deadlifts, single-arm shoulder press, single-arm bent over rows, single-arm lateral raises, 1-arm kettlebell swings – and so on are all great for working your agility level to a higher degree.
These exercises will reduce your overall base of support, which then throws you off-balance and ensures that every muscle in your core will be working hard to keep yourself centered.
So start looking at your current program and figure out how you can begin incorporating balance and agility training into the mix. It’s a great way to improve your overall fitness level, reduce your risk of injury, and make you feel that much more athletic.
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Author Bio: Dan Delisle
pushX3™ was designed by Dan Delisle – he is a husband, father, Professional Civil Engineer, technical author, sports enthusiast, and fitness devotee.
Dan is experienced with a wide range of sports including motocross, soccer, baseball, rock climbing, snowboarding, and mountain biking. To pursue these sports at a high level, Dan is an avid fitness participant and attends climbing gyms often.
Dan has many difficult rock climbs under his belt, including several high-profile rock climbs in Yosemite, CA. As such, Dan is always looking for ways to increase his level of fitness while keeping his workouts fun and creative – it was this drive that led him to inventing pushX3™!
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