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Using Brains & Bands for Better Balance- Episode 399

Video Highlights

- Learning the Compass Lunge template
- Adding bands to upregulate reflexive stabilization
- Suggestions for variations

Today we’re going to talk about brains, bands, and better balance.


What we want to focus on today is the use of what we call our basic compass lunge exercise, which is one of the first athletic-style development drills that we like to use. And, we’re going to transition into using bands in order to challenge the brain to improve your balance.

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So here’s how you’re going to do it:  Begin standing in a neutral stance.  Now, it’s very important to me that you figure out what this means for you.
All right, we basically want your feet directly underneath your hips. Nice long spine position. Relaxed as you possibly can be, but you also want to feel stable. You’re going to imagine that you’re standing in the middle of a compass. So we’re going to be doing lunge steps to the north, to the south, east
and west and then also northwest, southwest etc.

Now the goal here, whenever we do our basic compass lunges is we’re putting most of the weight on the lunging leg. Alright. The non-lunging leg is going to be in a comfortably either, slightly bent knee position or straight. So you start off working your way around the lunge. With each step, I want to make sure that you’re paying attention to your posture. All right, so that’s round one and you can do it at whatever speed you want.
We’re then going to add a band to this. And like I said, this is where I want to start bringing the brain into the equation
because whenever we talk about balance, we have a kind of conscious volitional style of balance where we’re really focusing and then we have a reflexive system that also is contributing constantly to our sense of balance.
So whenever we add a band, we’re going to be challenging reflexive stability systems quite a lot more because we’re going to be adding in what’s called perturbation. So imagine this, I’m standing here and what you’re going to see in a minute, is I have a band around my waist. I’m going to step out into one of my lunge positions.  Without the band my brain can make a pretty clean map of “I’m going to step forward with my right foot on a 45 degree angle. When I plant, I’m going to maintain a nice tall spine position.” And because there really are minimal outside forces working on my body, my brain really doesn’t have to pay that much attention if I’ve practiced this a lot.

So what we need to do is we need to increase the load. So we’re going to use is in this particular case, a big Flexvit band. I have it anchored off to the right, so I’m going to now step into the band and I’m going to put it around my waist to begin. You can put it in a couple of different spots. I like to have people begin usually around the waist. So once again obtain your neutral stance. You’re here, you have the band on, you get nice and tall. Again, I’m going to recommend that you begin your lunge work now, stepping on one of the angles toward the band because it’s going to be accelerating you into that movement. And this is usually a lot easier for you to catch yourself. It’s a lot easier to figure out the amount of force that you need to use. And, it’s adding a little bit of a stability challenge due to the perturbation of the band. From there we’re going to start working into moving away from the band. And what you’ll notice immediately is depending on the amount of tension you have here, you’re going to have to make some significant adjustments in the amount of drive you put into this.

It will also, as I said, challenge your balance, particularly if you try to transition your weight to the stepping leg. So what I like to have people do once again is just work through the compass, making sure that you’re doing a nice good lunge. Maintaining good posture. The next round – to make this much more challenging is we’re now going to try to unweight, so take weight off of the stance leg. So in this particular case I begin in a neutral stance. I’m going to step out with my right foot into that anterior 45 lunge and then I’m going to lift my rear foot. Lateral lunge and lift.
This should be pretty easy because I’m being pulled this direction by the band.  It gets much harder when I now go the opposite direction away from the band. So now I’m stepping forward into an anterior 45 lunge and if you can feel it in your own body, most of your weight is probably shifted toward your stance leg. So now move toward the lunging leg and try to, as much as possible, unweight the rear leg and catch your balance.

So that’s the basic progression. Now, the cool part about having a single anchor for the band is I can add in multiple directions of challenge because after I’ve worked through my 8 lunges, I’ve added the band from the side, I’ve worked through my eight different lunges, I’m now going to turn my body. So now I’m going to turn and face the band and I will go through the same exact iterations and then I would turn so that the band is now, pressuring my right hip as opposed to my left hip So I recommend that you choose at least four different directions from a single anchor point from the band, working on those eight different lunge variations. This can take a while and you might have to write it out to make sure you understand all the different variations.

But this is a really cool way to get a lot of lunge work done, to create a lot of perturbation, and make your brain up-regulate a little bit to make sure that we’re increasing the challenge so that your reflexive stability systems, come in to play a little bit more strongly. Now after you’ve done your multiple positions with a band, you then want to adjust the anchor point on your own body. So after you’ve done it around your waist, I recommend that you actually move it up on the chest. And now, as you start going through the lunge work, you’re going to feel a very different level of challenge as we’ve now shifted the perturbation more toward the upper body. So you’ll feel this a lot more through the midline. So that’s our basic “using bands for brains and better balance training series.”
Give that a shot. I hope you guys enjoy it.

 

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