Do you ever do exercises to improve your balance?

Discussion in 'Health & Fitness' started by Zachol82, Mar 7, 2010.

  1. Zachol82

    Zachol82 Professional

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    Seems to me like most people either concentrate on strength or endurance exercises in most sports, including tennis.

    It's sad but I don't know anyone that focuses on improving their balance. I have also met very few fitness trainers that ever touch on the subject of balance. Of course, I do see maybe 2 out of 50 people at my gym working on their balance, but that's still a very low number.

    Honestly, I'm also a victim of this. I know that balance is important in pretty much everything that we do. Yet, it never occurred to me that I should work on improving my balance until a couple months ago. It just seems that the issue overall is never talked about, therefore most people don't even remember that it exists.

    Just to have a point in my post, I have started working on my balance a couple months ago and I notice a huge, HUGE improvement in my tennis performance. I notice that I can recover a lot faster after being pushed off the court; I notice I can transfer my weight a lot better; I notice that my serves are much more consistent and powerful, since I don't lose my balance during my service motion anymore. I have also notice that I can still hit pretty powerful shots when I'm out of position or when I get to the ball in an awkward position.

    Overall, it's just an amazing experience that I would highly recommend for everyone to give it a go.
     
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  2. brad1730

    brad1730 Rookie

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    While doing physical therapy for my ACL replacement, they had me use a Vew-Do balance board. I really enjoyed it, and bought one for myself. I still use it once in a while - although I don't look at it as exercise. It's just a fun thing to try now and then.
     
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  3. chess9

    chess9 Hall of Fame

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    I was just discussing this very topic with an older friend who has trouble recovering after a shot. If you watch older players their hip flexors, glutes, quads, and hamstrings are weak. But, it's not enought to train those muscles passively and individually, but you must actively train them, in other words use them together, in an activity like skating, mogul skiing, cycling helps a bit, dancing, plyometrics, etc. Lots of agility drills will help too.

    Balance is related to strength, but proprioception must be integrated.

    -Robert
     
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  4. dcottrill

    dcottrill Rookie

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    Although I rarely exercise just for balance, I do incorporate 1 leg Romanian dead lifts into my workouts. By holding a dumbbell in the hand opposite the leg you are standing on, you can get a great unilateral hip flexor workout that also works your balance.
     
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  5. onehandbh

    onehandbh Hall of Fame

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    Some exercises you can do:

    1) the octagon jumps. basically. tape an octagon on the floor
    and jump to each vertex (corner) of the octagon and then
    back to the middle. bound from corner to middle to next corner
    to middle etc. go as fast as possible.

    2) balance on a basketball (2 feet together, barefoot).

    3) do pistols. (one legged squats). opposite leg held straight
    out and arms held straight out for balance.
    Advanced variation of this:
    3a) hold a dumbell for added resistance.
    3b) balance a book on your head while lowering down.
    3c) 3b + hold a cup of tea in your hand. at the bottom. hold
    the position, drink your tea and then go back up.

    4) grapevine type footwork drills.

    I have done the above in the past, but no longer do any
    of it it except for #3 every once in awhile.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2010
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  6. chess9

    chess9 Hall of Fame

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    Those are very good. I do pistols occasionally, but will try the book and tea cup routines.

    I also do lunges, btw, and I think they are helpful for balance.

    But, specificity counts, so on court agility drills are probably the cat's meow.

    -Robert
     
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  7. kiteboard

    kiteboard Hall of Fame

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    Yoga, tai chi, martial arts, extreme flexion stretching am and pm.
     
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  8. larry10s

    larry10s Hall of Fame

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    yoga balance poses, footwork agility drills ,
    lunges side 45% front, straight ahead 135% front cycle back. same with other foot.
    one leg with 10 lb medicine ball squat and bend over leg to touch medicine ball to floor and come back up. off leg is behind me.(im going to try off leg in front)
     
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  9. mike53

    mike53 Professional

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    kiteboard, complete agreement here, but what exactly is extreme flexion stretching?
     
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  10. mark999

    mark999 Rookie

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    have had great success using a bosu balance ball at the gym. i use both sides of the ball.
     
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  11. onehandbh

    onehandbh Hall of Fame

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    Agree, tennis specific drills are the best.
    btw, here's a video demonstrating the balance exercise:

    http://www.youtube.com/onehandbh#p/a/u/0/0Y5-MQMqVdk
     
    #11
  12. dunloppedover

    dunloppedover New User

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    Second the Bosu. Had some PT for vertigo and realized balance is not a right, it is a privilege that requires some work to obtain/maintain.
     
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  13. larry10s

    larry10s Hall of Fame

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    #13
  14. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation Legend

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    Yoga... it's not just for hippies!

    I'm pals with a teacher and I took her yoga classes once or twice a week through much of the winter a while back (maybe four or five years ago?). After a few weeks, I felt as though I had a gyroscope in my chest while hitting on the courts. My sense of balance was significantly amplified and my movement was almost effortless at every area on the court.

    Some yoga balance poses call for extended periods of standing on one leg and at first, they can seem rather benign. After the first few seconds though, all the smaller muscles in the leg that contribute to the balancing act get to working pretty hard, probably because they're used to having another leg handy to help out.

    As I start up a basic off-court routine this spring, I'll definitely be better off if I remember to include those "tree" poses with my lifting and stretching. My yoga experience may be the one best thing I've ever done to help realize more of my potential as a player.
     
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  15. Zachol82

    Zachol82 Professional

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    My mom's been asking me what happened to all our glass and ceramic cups. Apparently, they just mysteriously disappear ever since I started practicing this.

    HMMM
     
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  16. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    Do you ever do exercises to improve your balance?

    It's a good question that has had me thinking.

    A lot of the running and lifting advise that is posted here in the health and fitness forum is about exercises that are fundamentally in two planes, while playing tennis is three dimentional.

    My wife and kids loved the px90 cardiovascular and yoga workouts during the winter, and even got me doing them some. There may be something to the blending of complex movements in these type of workouts that can add to
    a regimen from an improvement in balance viewpoint.

    With better weather, however, it's hard to beat more tennis and on court agility drills.
     
    #16
  17. OHBH

    OHBH Semi-Pro

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    This is pretty much the premise of WiiFit.
    You ought to look into it.
     
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  18. spacediver

    spacediver Hall of Fame

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    I do one legged squats on those wobble boards - the wooden ones with the small half circle at the base. I can do the squats with my non squatting leg behind me, but am now working towards doing them with the non squatting leg in front of me.
     
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  19. ManuGinobili

    ManuGinobili Hall of Fame

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    Where I live, everybody rides a motorcycle... so I get balance training hours per day :)
     
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  20. cristoferjety

    cristoferjety New User

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    #20
  21. albino smurf

    albino smurf Professional

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    making your ankles and legs strong really helps with the corrections for balance.
     
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  22. MAX PLY

    MAX PLY Hall of Fame

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    Third vote for the Bosu ball. The variations for exercises, including those to assist balance, are huge.
     
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  23. karophiteblu

    karophiteblu Semi-Pro

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    I skateboard (do tricks) pretty much every day.
     
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  24. OKUSA

    OKUSA Hall of Fame

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    i also skateboarded for 6 years in middle and high school and i still snowskate in the winter so my balance is pretty good
     
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  25. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    #25

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