2 Balance Workouts That Improve Strength and Stability

These two full-body workouts will build athletic strength and improve your balance.

The mere act of keeping one foot raised during exercises improves balance and core stability while also strengthening upper- or lower-body muscles. And, though holding one foot airborne seems effortless, the movement intensifies exercises that are generally performed with both feet on the ground.

RELATED: The Best Drills for Improving Balance and Agility

Try the two full-body balance workouts below comprising various machines, free weights, and bodyweight exercises with one foot raised. Being unstable in the seated, prone, standing or supine positions takes you out of your comfort zone, thereby taking these workouts to a heightened level.

Equipment

  • Chair or bench.
  • Barbell (60-70% RM).
  • Two dumbbells (60-70% RM).
  • Medicine ball (60-70% RM).
  • Water bottle.
  • Exercise mat (optional).
  • Power Rack (with safety pins for performing Inverted Rows).
  • Shoulder Press, Leg Press, Row, and Cable machines.
  • Timer (optional).

Guidelines

  • Hydrate before, during and after workouts.
  • Do workouts on non-consecutive days for adequate recovery.
  • Do a dynamic upper- and lower-body warm-up (e.g. Arm Circles and Side Lunges).
  • Finish with cooldown upper- and lower-body static stretches for greater flexibility and range of motion.
  • Sets/Reps: 2x10 (do five reps with the left foot airborne and five reps [non-stop] with the right foot raised for each exercise).
  • You're using slightly less resistance for machine, ball and free weight exercises (60-70% RM), as they're performed with one foot airborne compared with using heavier resistance with both feet on the ground.
  • Try keeping one foot airborne for every rep without touching the ground.
  • Rest: 30 seconds between sets and 60 seconds between exercises.

RELATED: Why Athletes Need Balance and Proprioception Training

Workout 1

Reverse Dips

Place your hands behind you on the side or front edge of a chair or bench for each foot-raised Reverse Dip.

Single-Leg Dumbbell Squats

Hold the dumbbells with a supinated shoulder-level grip during each rep with the right or left foot off the ground

Seated Machine Rows

Sit with your back straight on the Row machine, your legs slightly bent, and your right foot airborne. With a pronated grip on the handle, pull toward your waist and return to start position per rep with the right or left foot airborne.

Med Ball Push-Ups

Assume a Push-Up position with both hands atop the ball. Do Push-Ups with your left foot and then your right foot raised.

Inverted Rows

Set the barbell on the Power Rack safety pins at waist level. Go under the barbell with a supinated shoulder-width grip and your legs extended; perform reps with your left and then your right foot airborne

Machine Leg Presses

Place one foot on the pad and the other foot off for each rep.

Workout 2

Standing Cable Flys

Grasp the cable handles at chest level with your knees slightly bent and your left and then right foot off the ground for the reps.

Single-Leg Hip Raises

From a supine position and holding the med ball with your arms extended above the chest and your knees slightly bent, raise your hips and perform reps with your left foot and then right foot airborne.

Seated Machine Shoulder Presses

Lift one foot off the ground for five overhead Presses and then five reps with the other foot raised.

Standing Barbell Rows

Assume an athletic stance and take a shoulder-width supinated grip to perform reps with your right and then left foot airborne, pulling the barbell to your waist and returning to start position

Single-Leg Partial Wall Squats

Hold the dumbbells with a pronated shoulder-level grip and your back against a wall. Perform partial Squats with your right foot and then left foot off the ground

One-Arm Med Ball Push-Ups

Do five Push-Ups with your right hand on the ball and the other hand on the ground or mat and your left foot airborne. Immediately switch hands on the ball and do five reps with your right foot raised.

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Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: SQUAT | PUSH-UP | BODYWEIGHT EXERCISES | STABILITY AND BALANCE | WORKOUT PLAN | BARBELL EXERCISES | ROW