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Get the fitness results you desire with these stability and strength training exercises.
Adding some stability and strength training to your current routine will help you to improve your muscular stability, which in turn may enable you to train harder and lift heavier weights. The good news is that training to improve your overall balance and muscular stability does not have to be difficult. You can use your own body weight, add a few exercises to your current workout or try many of the great stability training tools and classes that are available to enhance your experience.
The most logical way to get started is to take some of the current exercises that you’re doing and add an element of difficulty. Here are some examples you can try:
Squats: Start doing one-legged squats. This will challenge your core, glutes and quads, as well as all of the small, stabilizing muscles in the ankles and feet that work overtime. When you first start out, you may need to use only your own body weight and have a bar or chair handy to hold onto until you get used to the new movement. As your stability and strength improve, you can do one-legged squats with weights.
Chest press/shoulder press: To help improve core stability and eliminate imbalances in the upper body, switch from using a weighted bar to individual dumbbells. Work one side at a time to help create stability. As with the squats, the amount of weight you use may have to be reduced as you adapt. When you have a weight in each hand, your dominant side can’t compensate for your weaker side. Over time this will help you to become stronger. This approach is ideal to add to your workout once a week.
Ballet bar, yoga and Pilates exercise: Performing slow and purposeful stability exercises through yoga, Pilates and ballet bar routines will help you to better engage your core. These types of classes tend to focus on core strength and stability. Using your muscles and learning to control your body in a new way can help with performance in all sports.
Stability ball: Using a stability ball is a fantastic way to improve your balance, body awareness and your core. This is one piece of equipment that can be used in the gym, at home or in the office. There are so many great exercises that you can do using the ball to work the upper and lower body, while keeping your core fully engaged the entire time. Using a stability ball instead of a chair is a good technique to improve seating posture. This can alleviate backaches caused from prolonged periods of sitting with poor posture.
Half-ball: You can use a half-ball with the soft side up or the soft side down to create an even greater challenge. The half-ball is particularly useful for doing challenging squats, deadlifts or holding a plank position to really work the core.
TRX: Suspension training is a great functional training tool that leverages gravity and your body weight to help you gain strength, increase range of motion and flexibility. With this type of training, you’re in control of how much you want to challenge yourself on each exercise. You can simply adjust your body position to add or decrease resistance. Many of the exercises that you can perform with a suspension training system are focused on achieving muscular balance and stability.
Finding the type of balance and stability training that feels right for you is the best approach. I try to ensure that I focus on this type of training a few times each week. Many professional athletes do the same. Training in this way often means slowing down and reducing the amount of weight that you use. With patience and practice you can achieve optimal results. Also, remember that as you work to improve your strength and stability to be sure to give your body the balanced nutrition it needs.