Balance training can stabilize us, level the body, and help prevent falls, which is especially important as we age. But do not assume that these movements are only for “older” people, balance is involved in everything we do. This exercise is core and leg strength training and can be very challenging. “Your core is the foundation of all movements, especially stabilization work,” says Duana Soeda Stinson (shown in exercise video), NASM (CES) Corrective Exercise Specialist and Pilates-based instructor. New York City.
To engage your medium in this routine, created for Salud by Duana (@damnduana), take a deep breath through the ups and downs of each movement. And for your butt to light up, be sure to step on your big toe, little toe, and heel of your foot, she says. These are the movements that will help you find your balance and stay there, no matter what goals are causing you to lose your balance.
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Do each exercise below in order. Repeat for 3 rounds.
Grab a tennis or lacrosse ball. Focusing on the arch, roll the ball from the big toe to the heel and back, then from the middle toe to the heel and back, then from the little toe to the heel and back. Pause where you feel tight. Next, anchor your heel to the ground and, with the tennis ball on the ball of your foot, move your foot like a windshield wiper, rolling from side to side. Lastly, with the ball in the arch of the foot, bend your toes over the top of the ball to feel a stretch through the foot. Do this for 2 minutes on each foot to loosen them up and prepare them to participate.
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Chair pose with heel lift + spine stabilization
Begin to stand with your feet together. Place a tennis or lacrosse ball between your ankles to keep your feet parallel and hook your inner thighs. Raise your arms in front of you to shoulder height. Send your hips into a shallow squat position. Raise your heels, pause, and then lower them. Repeat 4 to 8 times. Then, holding your heels up, lift your arms up, biceps by your ears, pause, and then lower to shoulder height. Repeat 4-8 times.
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Single Leg Foot Clam Shells + Kickback
Begin to stand on your left leg, with your knees soft. Bend your right leg and place a tennis or lacrosse ball on the back of your right knee, squeezing it so it doesn’t fall off. Raise the right knee up and to the side, externally rotating the right hip to make a shell. Then lower your back. Repeat 4 to 8 times. Then, still standing on your left foot and squeezing the lacrosse ball, push your right heel back for a kickback. Maintain a neutral spine with the core engaged. Bring your knees back together. Repeat for 4 to 8 repetitions. Then do both movements on the other side.
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Figure 4 to the pulse of the straight leg
Begin to stand on your left leg and place your right ankle on your left thigh for a figure 4 position. Send your hips down and back, leaning only slightly forward (think: single leg squat). Drive through the left foot to get back up. Repeat for 4 to 8 repetitions. Then, still standing on your left leg, stretch your right leg forward, slightly rotating your hips. Raise and lower your right leg a couple of inches to get a pulse, using your core to help lift your leg. Repeat for 4 to 8 repetitions. Then repeat both movements on the other side.
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Mobility from hip to extension
Begin to stand on your left leg and pull your right knee toward your chest, standing with your core engaged and your left glute activated. Next, circle your right knee, pulling it out to the side, back, and then forward again. Repeat for 8 reps. Then, still standing on your left leg, extend your right leg behind you and, keeping it straight, press up and down a couple of inches, using your right glute to lift for 8 reps. Then repeat both movements on the other side.
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Begin to stand on your right leg, toes turned slightly outward. Leaning slightly to the right, push your left knee toward your chest, then extend your knee to kick your heel to the side. Pull your knee in, then lower your leg. Repeat for 5 reps. Then switch sides.
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Heel Rise Adduction Glider
Begin standing with your left foot, right foot placed on a glider or towel, feet hip-width apart. Send your hips back, left knee pointing forward, while pushing your right leg to the side. Next, lift your left heel and then drive through the ball of the foot as you stand up and bring the glider back to center. Make sure the left knee points forward and remains on the toes the entire time. Lower heel down to reset. Repeat for 4 to 8 repetitions. Then switch sides.
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Reverse Glider Lunge with Heel Raise
Begin standing with your left foot, right foot placed on a glider or towel, feet hip-width apart. Slowly slide your right leg back, keeping your knee straight and bending your left knee so that it stacks up over your ankle. Next, lift your left heel and then drive through the ball of the foot as you stand up and bring the glider forward. Lower your heel to reset. Repeat for 4 to 8 repetitions. Then switch sides.
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Roll down to the side board to the pike
Begin standing with your feet hip-width apart with your feet on gliders or towels. Place your hands on the floor in front of your feet, bending your knees gently if necessary. Engaging your abs and keeping your torso in a straight line, bring your feet back into a plank position, with your shoulders on your hands and your back and hips aligned. Rotate your heels and torso to the left (toes pointing to the right) as you lift your right arm toward the ceiling to form a side plank position. Turn back to the center to find a regular board. Then, pull your navel toward your spine to lift your hips and bring your feet toward your hands. (If it feels too difficult, bend your knees and pull them toward your hands.) Repeat, this time turning your heels and torso to the right and lifting your left arm. Continue alternating 4 reps on each side.
This article originally appeared in the December 2021 issue of Health Magazine. Click here to subscribe today!
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