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Better Balance in 8 Steps- Episode 407

Video Highlights

- Review 8 key head positions
- Find which positions are the most challenging for you
- Programming recommendations and progressions

Today, we’re going to do a quick review of some basic ideas about improving balance with no tools, no gear, just using your own body, and a little bit of momentum developed via walking.

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So, we like to call these little exercises “altered head while walking” drills. Pretty simple idea. So, first of all, what I want you to do is I want you to just stand and we’re going to go through the head positions. We’re going to be walking. And as we’re walking, we’re going to be turning our head into a variety of positions.
So we have had left head.
Head up.
Head down.
Look up over your left shoulder.
Look up over your right shoulder.
Look down to the left.
Look down to the right.

All right, so we have one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, and eight head positions. For those of you that have been through our curriculum, you know that whenever we deal with eye movements or the vestibular system, we say you have to remember eight positions. Same thing here. So, the whole idea is that in order to work with our balance, we need to challenge our balance and many people as their balance capacity shrinks, whenever they walk they begin to hold their head very steady. They like to look at the ground and they rarely are comfortable going through head motions, while their body is moving.

So the way that we program this is, I normally start my client, I go look, you’re going to get in position. I’m just going to have you walk forward and back, maybe five or six steps. Now you can do that same thing but we’re going to begin with the left head turn. So now hold that left head turn, go through your walk.
Right head turn go through your walk. And you’re just sequentially going to go through all eight head positions while you’re walking forward and backward. If at all possible, you want to pay close attention to the head position that makes you feel most uncomfortable because most people will find one or two head positions in which they’re like, “woo! I feel like my balance is a little bit more challenged there.”
That’s going to be one that you want to focus on.

Now after you spend a little bit of time, maybe working up to 5 or 10 minutes of just straight forward and backward walking holding the head position, you then want to go into switching the head position. So now rather than just staying left, we’re now going to walk and turn our head back and forth, right and left. And then we’re going to walk
looking up and looking down again forward and back. And then we’re going to walk looking up and down and we’ll switch up over the left down to the right.

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So, it’s a very, very simple construct. You have eight different head positions.
You want to start off holding that position while walking, and then you want to work on switching to another position as you’re walking. Normally, with our clients, I will say, I want you to change your head position every second or third step.This really comes down to what you are comfortable doing in the very beginning. And then we just increase the intensity as you improve. This is a very simple-looking exercise, but it can have profound results on improving balance in real-world situations. So give it a shot and see how it works for you.
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