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Stability is the foundation of any athlete’s success on the court or field. To build upon that foundation, you need to find new ways to avoid plateaus and keep improving. Below are three exercises that will challenge your stability and build strength in your lower body, core and upper body.
Developing the stabilizing muscles around the major lower body muscles (quads, glutes, hamstrings) is essential for all athletes. Being able to stay on your feet after an awkward landing can be the difference between making a play and giving up possession to your opponent.
The BOSU Squat is a stabilization exercise that forces you to maintain balance and engage muscles you didn't know you had. If it's your first time, perform the exercise without any weight. Leave your ego at the door and make sure you can complete the exercise with proper form, because your muscles will be in for a shock. As your body becomes used to the challenge, you may hold dumbbells at your sides and close your eyes for increased difficultly.
- Place BOSU on the ground with plastic disc facing up
- Slowly and carefully step onto BOSU, placing feet shoulder-width apart
- Squat until thighs are parallel to ground with arms extended straight in front
- Squeeze glutes and push through heels, extending hips forward
- Return to start position; repeat
Any athlete can benefit from strong stabilization muscles in the chest—especially if he needs to control opponents who constantly shift their force (think blocking in football).
BOSU Push-Ups force you to control an unstable surface as you lower your chest toward the ground. Athletes performing this exercise for the first time might want to shorten their range of motion and work up to touching their chest to the ball.
- Place BOSU ball on ground with plastic disc facing up
- Keep hands on sides of ball
- Engage core and squeeze glutes to maintain straight back
- Slowly lower chest toward ball, pause at bottom of movement and drive up to start
BOSU Russian Twist
A six-pack might work for Hollywood, but developing only the superficial muscles of your core won’t do much for your performance. Challenging your core’s stabilization muscles is what truly builds a powerful abdominal section and helps prevent injury.
BOSU Russian Twists force you to maintain balance on an unstable surface while performing a rotating movement similar to many actions in sports, including ripping a rebound from an opponent, firing a slap shot or hammering a home run.
- Sit on top of BOSU with knees bent
- Shift weight back and raise feet off ground
- Clasp hands together and turn to left
- Tap hands against BOSU
- Repeat movement to right
- Continue alternating for specified reps
- Add med ball after mastering form
Sets/Reps: 3x15 each side
Photo: facebook.com, exercise.wsu.edu, flickr.com