Looking for a workout you can do at home or in the gym? Consider using a balance pad to perform various stability training workouts.
Due to its unstable surface, the balance pad is a tool used to challenge and maintain stability of your joints, according to Drew Walsh, a corrective exercise and performance enhancement specialist.
“In sports and overall movement, our ability to stabilize our joints in all planes of movement is crucial to help with injury prevention and overall performance,” Walsh says.
Learn how to do a single-leg touchdown, side plank and single-leg balance with these Pro Tips.
HOW TO DO SINGLE-LEG TOUCHDOWNS
Begin by stepping onto the middle of the balance pad. Once you’re comfortable, lift one leg up, with your foot hovering over the pad. Tip: Bring your arms together in front of your stomach to help create balance.
Once you’re in the single-leg stance:
- Position your lower body to have soft knees and soft hips by bending the knee of the leg that remains in contact with the balance pad. Your hips should have a bend to them as well.
- Drive your hips back and continue to keep your chest forward.
- Once you’re comfortable in this position, it’s time to move the foot that’s off the ground. Bring that foot forward and tap the ground in front of you. Then, return it over the balance pad, but do not make contact.
- Tap the ground to the side of the pad. If you’re left foot is the one moving, tap the left side. Once again, return your foot back over the balance pad.
- Extend your leg behind you and tap the ground again. After the final tap, bring your foot back over the balance pad, but make sure to keep it in the air.
Walsh says not to worry too much about losing your balance. Should that happen, just get back on the balance pad and pick up where you left off.
HOW TO DO A SIDE PLANK
Now it’s time to learn how to stabilize your shoulders. Begin by lying on the ground in a side plank position with your elbow in the center of the balance pad. Your legs will be straight out with your elbow in line with your shoulder.
Once you’re comfortable in this position:
- Bring your hips forward and keep your chest out. Your body should be in a straight line. The arm that is not on the balance pad should be on top of your hip and leg.
- Bring your free arm above your head in a straight line, reaching toward the ceiling.
- Drive your elbow into the balance pad and then raise your hips toward the ceiling. Your body should be at a slant, with your feet and elbow in contact with the ground/balance pad.
- Hold the position and then repeat with the opposite side.
HOW TO PERFORM A SINGLE-LEG BALANCE
For this workout, you’ll need a partner to toss you a small ball, like a foam tennis ball.
Once again, you’ll start from a single-leg stance. Step onto the middle of the balance pad and lift one leg off, hovering over the surface. Remember to create soft knees and soft hips, bringing your chest slightly forward.
This version of the exercise incorporates hand-eye coordination. Communicate with your partner on tossing the ball. Remember to focus on having good posture while on the balance pad. Also be sure to alternate your legs after a set number of tosses.
As for the person tossing the ball:
- Do not throw the ball too high or too low for your partner. Keep their height in mind, as their focus is to keep good posture.
- Move in a half-clock rotation, but don’t go behind them.
If you happen to fall off the balance pad, get right back on and pick up where you left off.
“This is a great way to incorporate single-leg stability, hand-eye coordination and have a little fun,” Walsh says.
Now that you know three exercises to use with the balance pad, it’s time to put in the work. Looking for more ways to diversify your workout? Check out these Pro Tips on exercises you can do with a suspension trainer.