3 Exercises for Lower Extremity Balance, Stability and Control

Whether you’re training high level athletes, rehabbing a knee, ankle or hip injury, or working with an elderly client who’s trying to maintain balance during daily activities, balance trainers are essential tools to have in any clinic or gym.

Standing on an unstable surface that challenges multi-directional instability has been proven to increase proprioceptive awareness of the muscles surrounding joints, which in turn prepares the body for activity, creating neuromuscular control and support to help reduce the incidence of injury and improve movement.

Here’s a few ways you can use the variation of balance trainers available and a list of a few of the best below…

  • Use as a warm-up with any variation of movement for ankle, knee, hip and core stabilization and activation before exercise or competition, to prepare the neuromuscular system to react and respond.

  • Perform sports or coordination-related activities like catching a ball while balancing on one foot or both to improve reaction times and the ability to support joints during activities where you aren’t able to concentrate on protecting yourself or landing properly.
  • Perform body-weight-based exercises (such as the three listed here) on any of the balance trainers below to create better balance and ankle/knee/hip stability and control.
  1. Asterisk pattern

– Begin with a balance pad and then progress to balance disc and then BOSU.

– Start by standing on two feet and control your balance.

– Once you have control, look from side to side (slowly), then up and down, then up to the right and down to the left, then up to the left and down to the right…following the pattern of an asterisk.

– Then progress to one foot and try the same moves.

  1. Front, side, back, crossover

– Use the same progression of balance trainers mentioned above in the asterisk exercise, but incorporate a TRX training strap.

– Stand on one foot and lean slightly back, positioning the balance trainer far enough away from the TRX anchor so that you can sit back into the moves, instead of leaning forward and loading your quad and placing increased pressure into the knee joint.

Front – Like a half pistol…reach one foot out in front of you and then sit back with the foot on the ground into a single leg ¼ squat. Using the TRX to allow you to sit back into the squat…not forward.

Side – Reach out to the side like a side lunge. Once again sitting back onto the move.

Back – Reach one foot back like a reverse lunge. Sit back.

Crossover – Reach the same back foot that went back for the reverse lunge, across your back and as far out to the opposite side as possible. Similar to if you were performing a Y balance test.

Repeat this pattern multiple times or do 10 of each and then progress to the next.

  1. Perturbations

Have your patient on client perform the asterisk exercise above while you gently challenge them from side to side by lightly tapping them to throw off their balance. The goal is to recover and control balance even if they are thrown off for a few seconds. Encourage them not to “bail out” unless they absolutely can’t recover.

Increase Strength, Stamina and Mobility with a Foam Balance Pad

Whether you’re strengthening a chronically sprained ankle, doing lunges or squats, or floating in the pool, your Airex Balance Pad will come in handy. The “wobble effect” this equipment creates is widely used for rehabilitation and physical therapy, medical assessments, sports conditioning and balance training. Its foam compresses when you stand on it, which increases instability and strengthening the muscles in your core, legs and feet. A great exercise and coordination tool, the Airex Balance Pad is also durable and easy-to-clean. The Airex Balance Pad was specially designed to provide the ideal mix of support and pliability. Place multiple balance pads on top of each other to increase the challenge of your workout. Applies to balance training, coordination and reaction training, posture stability training, conditioning, motor-skill training to maintain balance.

Challenge clients with integrated, multi-joint movement that demands the most from muscle groups. The BOSU® Pro Balance Trainer is designed with a durable, rubber dome and a dually molded platform with a smooth, non-skid, non-marking base, ideal for any fitness or sports conditioning facility. Whether it’s training balance, enhancing flexibility or building strength and endurance, the Pro Balance Trainer can be used as a stand-alone product or easily paired with other equipment.

Provide Proper Balance and Stability Training

Foster balance training with your clients to ensure they’re properly progressing thru their regimen. Balance training from Chango using the Chango Balance Board allows the user to modify the balance point and size based on skill level.

For more info on products mentioned in this article or for info on current product specials, please contact your personal ELIVATE Account Manager.

If you don’t know who your Account Manager is, please call 800.537.5512 to find out.

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