Today, we’re going to do balancing on a compass, part two.
Dynamic Balance: Training vs. Reality
A few weeks ago, on one of our blogs, we talked about balancing on a compass. The whole idea was that you were going to work on your balance leg, imagining that you’re standing on a compass or star, whatever you prefer.
Think of north, south, east, west, and then your cardinal directions. The whole idea behind this is modern balance training is evolving.
If you look at the research on balance, years ago, we had you stand in one spot, close your eyes, turn your head, and do all these kind of cool things, and they’re still valuable. I still like them. They can challenge you in different ways.
They can work on your foot strength, your basic neural input from the foot up to the brain.
However, what has been found is that if that’s all that I do to work on my balance, it doesn’t transfer as well to real life, or to other things that are a little bit more dynamic.
Dynamic Balance: Start with Part 1
In our last episode around this stuff, we talked about imagining standing on a compass and then working on basic balance drills, where you’re reaching out with one leg, and then the other leg, working your way around eight points, all right?
Hopefully, you’ve been practicing that, starting to see some improvements.
Dynamic Balance: Don’t Get Discouraged
I think one of the reasons people avoid this particular exercise is it’s hard, and sometimes you don’t feel as successful.
That’s perfectly understandable, perfectly okay, but it’s something that you want to keep working on because it’s a little bit more like what might happen in the real world.
You’re going to go one way with your feet, opposite way with your body, and you still need to be able to recover from there.
The biggest challenge here is you need to make sure that you’re doing it safely, number one, and number two,
I am going to make this very clear about this blog, also the one I’m going to do after this one: if you know that you have ongoing vestibular problems or visual problems, you should be assessed by someone that knows what they’re doing, because some of these drills may not be the best idea for you from a safety perspective.
So, again, just make sure that you have nothing weird going on before you dive into this stuff.
Dynamic Balance: Training All Directions
Now, what we’re going to do today, is we’re going to continue on, imagining that we’re standing in the middle of the star or a compass, but now, instead of going down each line, right, we’ve had eight different lines… one, two, three, four, five, back behind us.
Instead of going down these lines with one foot, we’re going to work on going down these lines and touching them with our hands. The way that I start most of my clients with this is we don’t do it on one foot, you do it on both feet. You start off with what’s comfortable.
Let’s say I have both feet on the ground, it’s a comfortable, neutral stance.
I’m just going to bend over, reach down with my right hand, and go out that front line. Then I’m going to go out on this line. Then I’m going to go out on this line, and I’m going to work my way backwards. Then I’m going to switch hands and work around the compass.
Hopefully that makes sense.
I also want to practice reaching across, so I’ll take my right hand and I’ll go up and to the left, and across and to the left, and back and to the left.
Depending on how mobile I am, I’ll go ahead and reach down toward the floor. Once you get good at that with both hands, right, we’re doing lot of these kind of motions, and you want to make sure that you’re not getting
The idea then is to switch to doing the same exercise on one foot.
Now, I’m going to stand on my left foot, use my right hand, and I’m going to reach down in the front and come back up. Then I’m going to reach on this line, and come back up.
Then I’m going to go to the side, and what you wind up doing, is you have to find your balance as you struggle through working across to these different lines.
It is not requisite that you actually touch the floor. If you are strong enough, you’re comfortable, you have the mobility, you can go all the way to the floor and back up.
The main thing is we want you to go through these different rotations and reaches, and recover from it. If you fall over, meaning you have to put the other foot down, have to catch yourself, totally normal.
Dynamic Balance: Additional Variations
You want to make sure that you’re doing all the variations, so think left leg, right arm. Right leg, right arm. Left leg, left arm. Right leg, left arm.
So just make sure you get four different conditions, eight different directions, do the math, and you have 32 reaches to do, right?
Dynamic Balance: Summary
If you go ahead and play with this, what you’ll find, like I said, is it’s different than the basic leg drill, because we’re using a lot more head and spinal movement.
It’ll be much more challenging for many of you, so go slowly, so safely. I hope you enjoy it, and remember, we’re trying to start to think about balance and something that’s a little bit more dynamic, and we need to make it feel a little bit more like real life.
Think about this drill.
How often do you bend over to pick up the dog, get stuff out of the dishwasher? Those are the places where we are at risk, so these are the places that we want to train, all right?
Any questions about this, let me know.
Otherwise, good luck.