We hear a lot about stability, but how do you accurately incorporate it into a client’s program? Understanding how to incorporate stability training will help keep your clients functional, independent, and healthy regardless of age.
Here are five ways to incorporate stability training.
- Functional balance. Think advanced balance exercises that are performed with slight movement. Because functional balance is directly correlated to everyday life, performing these types of exercises can be an eye-opener for clients, highlighting their ability to balance. Functional balance can look like marching on foam pads, lunging forward and twisting your upper body, or lightly tapping your foot on top of a cone.
- Strength. Having muscular strength is good, but can your clients perform exercises like the single-leg Romanian Deadlift and control their shoulders or hips so that they don’t rotate? Strength directly correlates to better balance, and putting the body in positions where the torso needs to stabilize enhances training.
- Reaction. Every day we react to either verbal or visual stimulus. Why not train it? Training reaction can look like having clients partner up and do mirrored exercises like tandem walk, lateral shuffle, or even marching forward and back or left and right, while mirroring your (or a partner’s) movements. Another fun twist on reaction training with a larger group is to form a large circle and start marching in place. The leader tells the group which way to march and sees how some individuals respond quickly to the command while others have to think about it.
- Coordination and agility. Training the limbs to move in sync with one another is a challenge. Exercises with an agility ladder provide multiple opportunities to see the exercises demonstrated and make your body do what it just saw. Want to add more of a challenge? Try asking your clients to keep their heads up—and not keep their eyes down on their feet.
- Central nervous system. Combining the training approaches above either allows for new pathways to be formed in the CNS, or uses old pathways that have not been used recently. We all know the benefit of creating pathways throughout the CNS, but how do we train for this? Envision a difficult exercise, one for which you know what the body needs to do but successfully doing it is another story. Incorporate exercises that require one part of the body to do something separate from the other, for example one of my favorite exercises is Quick Feet, Slow Arms: the feet are going rapid fire, but the slower the arms move, the better.
The fun in training stability is seeing different peoples’ thought processes. What is easy to one person can be hard to someone else, yet for the next exercise it could be vice versa. Our clients enjoy stability training because it’s unlike any class they have experienced, provides a new learning opportunity, and keeps them on their toes.