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By Lauren Cruz Lauren is the owner and personal trainer at Chapel Hill Training, a private personal training and boot camp studio in downtown Chapel Hill.

Adding In Balance

By Lauren Cruz Posted June 24, 2013 at 1:38 pm

Throughout my articles this year, we’ve discussed quite a few ways to reap the benefits of instability through the addition of a Bosu ball to your workouts. Today, I want to switch gears and focus on another way to add instability: balance. This is a very simple adjustment to make to an exercise that is often overlooked.

I’m going to suggest two basic exercises that you can make far more challenging through the addition of balance, but please note this is not a comprehensive list, the possibilities are endless!

First, let’s look at a standard dumbbell bicep curl. You will start by standing on one foot instead of two, trying not to let the foot that is up touch the leg you are balancing on or the ground. From here, you’ll perform the bicep curl just like you normally would: bend at the elbow and lift the dumbbells to your shoulders and control the weights slowly back down to your sides. Be sure you aren’t using any momentum so that you are isolating your biceps and not allowing any compensation to occur. For the next set, switch which foot you stand on so you are challenging each side equally.

Next, let’s look at a cable chest press. This exercise will be far more challenging because you will have external weight from the cables pulling you back toward the machine. This external weight is an additional challenge on your body which will require core stabilization — so hold your belly button in tight! You will balance on one foot and step forward away from the machine just far enough so that when you are in your starting position the weights will not rest on the remainder of the weight stack. Keeping your elbows and wrists level, press the weight together out in front keeping the movement at chest height, then control the weight back very slowly. Be sure to stay controlled and fight the urge to be pulled back by the weight. Again, be sure to switch which foot you are balancing on for the next set. Much more challenging this way, right?

Through the addition of balance, you are working to stabilize the ankle, knee, and arch all while improving your balance and making simple exercises more challenging. Balance is good stuff!

I’d love to hear which of your favorite exercises you’ve added balance to. Please tell me via my Facebook page at Facebook.com/chapelhilltraining!

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