Updated: Aug 5, 2020
Balance is an essential component of any good exercise program. As a dancer, balance is a foundational building block for movements such as jumping, turning, and of course, going on pointe. Once you lay a stable foundation, you are able to instead shift your focus on the artistic side of the choreography. Remember- You are only as strong as your weakest link. Don't let balance be your weak link!
First, let me explain a little about how balance works.
There are 3 main systems involved:
1. Muscular strength
3. Proprioception (knowing where your body is in space)
These systems all work together to send feedback to your brain about your body position. Your brain then sends the appropriate information back to each system so they can make appropriate adjustments to keep you upright. And it all happens involuntarily at lightning speed.
When incorporating balance exercises into your exercise routine, it's important to train all 3 of these systems to make the biggest impact. Balance exercises don't need to be super complex, but they do need to challenge you. It's a good thing (and totally normal) to feel "wobbly." If you don't, it's time to progress the exercise.
Here is a quick video demonstrating some easy balance exercises to try-- no fancy equipment needed!
Too easy? Here's a few ways you can add an additional challenge to the exercises in the video:
Use an uneven surface (pillow, boss ball, grass, etc.)
Do them standing on your toes
Change the lighting in the room
Ready to up the challenge??
Give these exercises a try:
Standing on one foot, bend your knee, sit backwards and tap the opposite heel forward. Be sure to keep your hip engaged so the knee does not tip inward and arch stays lifted. Majority of weight should be in your heel.
Sets/Reps: 3 x 10 on each side.
Single Leg RDL:
Begin standing on one leg, hinge from the hip as you lean forward. Keep the knee slightly bent and weight in your heel. You should feel a slight pull in the hamstring.
Sets/Reps: 3 x 10 each side
Single Leg Pallof Press:
Anchor a band to something sturdy and hold it at waist height. Stand on your outside foot, slightly bend the knee and engage core. Press band in and out while maintaining alignment.
Sets/Reps: 2 x 10 on each side