Balance is one word for the state of equilibrium. It is the equal division of the body weight, and is defined as "the ability of the body to statically and dynamically stabilize against resisting intrinsic and extrinsic forces".
Often, we perform certain exercises, working on only some muscle groups while ignoring the others. Balance exercises not only help the athletes to balance well, but also to improve their overall agility. Here are some basic exercises for the same purpose.
Balance on One Leg - I
This is one very good and simple exercise for athletes.
- Stand with a little less than shoulder-width distance between your feet.
- Fix your left leg well onto the ground.
- Now, slowly lift up the right leg, with your knee at par with your waist.
- As you do that, focus on your position so that you do not lose balance.
- Straighten the right leg out in front of you such, that your foot and knee are aligned. In all probabilities, you will not be able to hold the leg at your waist height for too long. However, with practice you will be able to manage it.
- Switch and repeat with the other leg.
Balance on One Leg - II
- Stand in a lunge, with your left leg behind.
- Focus your attention on a point in front of you.
- Keep your hands in front of you at shoulder level, as though you are trying to catch something.
- Fix your right leg well in the ground.
- Slowly start lifting your left leg off the ground. In the initial phases, you will not be able to lift the left leg very high.
- Hold this position for a few seconds.
- Slowly release yourself, and come back to the starting position.
- Repeat the same with the other leg.
- For this exercise, you will need to keep an object at some distance, in front of you.
- Now, balance yourself well on the right leg, and raise the left foot off the ground.
- Slowly, start bending the right knee.
- As you bend your knee, lower the torso as well.
- Try reaching the object in front of you with your left hand. When you do this, make sure the knee you are bending does not cross your foot.
- Now, extend the left foot a little.
- Hold this position for 5 seconds, and come back to the starting position.
- Repeat this 10 times with each leg.
Push Up With Stability Ball
- Lie with your chest on the stability ball.
- Your hands should be placed on either side of the chest. Your toes should be on the floor, but your legs should be straight, and not bent at the knee.
- Slowly start pushing your body up so that your arms are straight. Do not lock your elbows.
- Hold this position for a couple of seconds.
- Come back to the starting position, and repeat the exercise 10 times.
When you initially start with the exercise, you can take support from the wall by placing the ball near it. If you do it the other way round, with your legs at the wall, there are chances that the ball will move in front, and you might fall off.
- Sit on the stability ball, and make sure it does not move.
- If you find this easy, try to sit on the ball and march.
- Once this becomes easy, sit upright, and try to maintain balance while lifting both the legs off the ground.
There are some pilates exercises which also can be used to improve one's sense of stability. A lot of yoga exercises fulfill this purpose. Mastering them needs practice and patience. Along with inducing stability, they also help in increasing concentration, an aspect that is crucial for all athletes.