When we sense our clients are out of balance, perhaps in an “all work, no play” state, we can help restore balance in their lives by demonstrating it through their workout. By teaching your clients ways to improve their physical balance you empower them with tools to use in their everyday lives. Allow your client to experience the transformation of feeling wobbly to feeling stable. Introduce opportunities for them to experience play and mindfulness to achieve a more balanced mental state.
There are two ways we can accomplish balance training. Static balance (standing on one leg) and dynamic balance (balance that incorporates movement). Static balance can be incorporated into exercises and daily activities such as brushing teeth while standing on one leg. Dynamic balance training facilitates better running technique, posture, coordination and ability to react quickly.
One of the great rewards of balance training with clients is hearing how they prevented a fall because of a trained reaction. It can truly be a lifesaver!
The “Balanced” Workout
Breathing: Begin by grounding and guiding your client through six deep breaths. Introduce the quote, “The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it” (-Thich Nhat Hanh). Then have your client close their eyes while standing to see if there is a shift in balance. If your client can maintain balance with eyes closed, ask to them lift one leg off the ground and alternate with or without eyes closed.
Warm Up: Introduce play here! Think of fun activities for the warm up like throwing a football, playing badminton, skipping, playing hopscotch or kicking a soccer ball. Bring back childhood enthusiasm!
Strength and Balance Exercises:
Squat on Yoga Blocks - 3 x 10-15 reps.
Lateral Step Up to Balance - 3 x 8 (each leg)
Renegade Row - 3 x 10 (5 each side)
Single Leg Deadlift - 3 x 10 (5 each leg)
One Legged Biceps Curls - 3 x 10 reps.
Mindfulness and Stretching: As you go through stretches, help your client end the workout with a sense of gratitude by ask them to think of three things they are grateful for in that moment.
The balancing act of life is a journey. Guiding your clients through a workout designed to restore both mental and physical balance may truly make a difference in their lives.
Lisa Jameson has a B.S. in Health Education and is ACE, AFAA certified. She has nearly two decades of experience in personal training and group fitness. She has worked in corporate, commercial, college, in-home and outdoor fitness settings. She stays hungry for learning and feeds her mind with journal articles, books, conferences, webinars, and classes.
For more information on dynamic balance exercises see the following reference:
McCall, P. 2015. 5 Benefits of Training for Dynamic Balance. ACE Fitness