Without balance and stability, excelling in any sport is difficult if not impossible. Imagine absorbing a tackle or landing from a layup with poor balance. You're likely to end up on the ground—a place athletes rarely want to be. Here's the good news: it's possible to dramatically improve your balance by incorporating instability and core exercises into your training program.
One such exercise is really a combo—the Flamingos/Single-Leg RDLs that Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander uses to improve his balance so he can maintain stability when throwing 100-mph fastballs. Javair Gillett, Tigers strength coach, explains that Flamingos engage your lower body and core stabilizer muscles, and keep you from falling over, when you catch the med ball. The Single-Leg RDL component forces the hips and core to react and control the med ball, resulting in improved balance and muscle coordination in explosive movements.
When beginning this exercise, simply stand on the floor and use a light weight med ball. As your balance improves, perform barefoot or use an Airex Pad and a heavier med ball to make it more challenging.
Play the above video to watch Verlander performing the Flamingo/Single-Leg RDL combo.
- Assume athletic position, standing on one foot with partner to side
- Catch med ball and immediately toss back to partner
- Repeat for specified reps with partner changing throwing positions
- Continue standing on one foot, with partner in front
- Catch med ball and immediately lower it to toes
- Drive up through hips and toss med ball to partner
- Return to start position; repeat for specified reps
Sets/Reps: 3x15 [Flamingos], 3x8 [Single-Leg RDLs]
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock