A recent study from the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that one’s ability to balance on one leg could be a good indicator of how long they’ll live. Which makes improving and maintaining balance a health priority for adults as they get older. And it turns out that one of the best ways to improve balance is through improving full body strength. The following ten exercises to improve balance and strength get progressively challenging as you go down. While all are beneficial, your starting point will be determined by your ability level.
Strength Exercises To Improve Balance
There’s a difference between balance exercises and strength exercises to improve balance. Balance exercises such as single leg holds and tandem stance are all great physical therapy exercises that target balance. But that’s about it. Strength exercises to improve balance not only work to improve balance but build full body strength to help you live active, healthy, and happy lives.
Single Leg Step Up
A great beginner balance exercise to improve balance that also builds strength in a functional movement (stairs). For those who struggle with balance this is a great place to start.
Assisted Split Squat
Using assistance (like a TRX Suspension Trainer) allows you to use your hands to aid in balance while you build strength and confidence in the movement. The split squat allows you to build strength while maintaining two points of contact with the ground.
Assisted Reverse Lunge
The next progression from split squats is the reverse lunge. The lunge is the most functional strength movement and should be part of any plan to improve balance. Moving from two points of contact with the ground to one (the step back) further challenges balance.
Assisted Knee Drive
Continue to challenge your lunge strength and balance by adding in a knee drive at the end. As you feel more comfortable you can move straight from the top of the movement into the reverse lunge.
Lunging Without Assistance
Once you feel confident and comfortable with these movements you can transition to performing without assitance. Start with the split squat and progress to the lunge to balance featured to the right. Click here for more challenging lunge variations.
Standing Hip Abduction
A challenging glute med strengthening exercises as well a great exercise to improve balance.
A challenging strength, balance, and hip mobility exercise. Hip airplanes can also be performed while holding onto a bar to assiste with balance initially.
These 10 strength exercises to improve balance are just the starting point in maintaining your lifestyle as you get older. For a more complete understanding of how to move without pain, improve balance and build strength without stressing your joints, download our free program ‘Solving Pain With Strength’ below.