Balance and strength to the body are two different things but you would think that they come hand in hand. Unfortunately many people spend time their time working on strength with little or no attention on their balance and co-ordination. The important thing to remember is that there are leg exercises that work on your balance and strength giving you the best of both.
The exercises should be simple and effective – See this recent post from Conditioning Research on Wall Sits:
First of all it is simple to learn. Too many trainers or internet personalities present exercises that may be fine but are actually complex motor skills. Kettlebell snatches and swings for example may or may not be good exercises but they are not easy to learn without decent coaching and a lot of practice. The Wall sit is different – it is a very simple move. Once in position your task is simple – hold that position until you can’t hold it anymore, sequentially recruiting the muscle fibres.
Wall sits are a good example of a simple exercise that promote balance stability and strength. Here are a few others which you can include in your routine with little or no equipment.
The Air Squat – Which is a take on a conventional squat done with attention to form and accounting for breathing. Simple and effective.
The Prisoner Lunge – Another exercise that forces all the core and balance muscles to engage. By keeping the hands behind the head and the shoulders back forcing you to stabilise through your legs and work on co-ordination.
The most important thing about these exercises is that they not only recruit the superficial muscles but work deeper into the muscles which is where we build real strength and stability. As Bill DeSimone calls Congruent Exercise.
“Resistance that is challenging for the superficial muscles with their greater muscle torque is probably excessive for the deep muscles to try to move”.
This all stems from the idea of making exercises more useful to the body in that they are low impact, less stressful on the joints and recruit deeper muscle tissue. The concept works not only for legs but also upper body exercises. Take for example a Congruent Chinup.
So forget about trying to lift heavier and heavier weights and focus on form and functional exercises. Especially if your focus and goals include a better posture, sports performance, injury prevention and co-ordination.
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