Training Relates to Balance and Posture

Maintenance of a balanced posture is essential for all activities, whether stationary or mobile. Our sense of body positioning begins to deteriorate as we age and become less active. The strength of our muscles and good flexibility are both directly correlated to our sense of balance. The end result of not being able to maintain our ability to balance can be significant; the potential to fall and injure ourselves. For this reason, balance training should be included as an integral part of your clients’ regimen. Before adding exercises you should do a short assessment of your clients’ balance.



Balance Assessment

Have your client:
1) Stand with their eyes closed. Are they able to remain steady or does their body sway either left or right?
2) Stand on one leg, with their eyes open. How long can your client maintain this position? Switch to the other leg.
3) Walk on their tip toes. How far can they walk before they lose their balance?
4) Walk on their heels. How far can they walk before they lose their balance?

Record all data and use the results as a baseline measurement. This will offer comparison measurements when you re-test your client in four weeks.


Incorporating Balance Training

Have your client perform simple balance exercises and then progress to more challenging balance exercises.

Simple balance exercises:
1) Walk forward and backwards – do this with a straight line of tape on the floor
2) Single leg standing (hold for up to 30 seconds)
3) Single leg standing with eyes closed
4) Toe raises-hold for several seconds. Then try with eyes closed.
5) Small squats moving left to right
6) Sit on a balance disc and perform side to side/circular motions
7) Sit on a stability ball and perform side to side/circular motions
Below are some suggested tips to remember for balance training:
o Instruct your client to establish a neutral posture with both feet on the ground
o Instruct your client to perform stabilization techniques
o Instruct your client to gently squeeze their buttocks and pull the abdominal
   muscles inward to help maintain balance
o Keep all movements slow-then have your client move progressively faster
o Make sure to ask your client for feedback
o For added balance your client may place their hands on their hips or hold on to a chair or wall until they feel balanced.

Special Note: Keep in mind that some clients may become tense and rigid when performing these exercises. If you observe this behavior, your client may be worried about losing their balance. In this case go back to the basic exercises and progress at a slower pace. Progressing slowly will help your client gain confidence and keep them motivated to want to attempt more challenging exercises.


Helpful balance progressions:

Stable Unstable
Wider Stance Narrow Stance
Arms At Sides Arms Over Head
Floor Balance Disc
Mirrors No mirror
Eyes open Eyes Closed
No Resistance Resistance


Advanced Balance


Exercise 1

What Is it: Prone Stability Ball Hold/Pushup Benefit: Improves balance/shoulder and chest strength/ core stability

How To Do It: Have your client kneel on all fours behind the ball. Instruct your client to walk their hands away from the ball so that their thighs are resting on it. Have them hold this position, maintaining balance for 5-20 seconds. When your client can comfortably hold and maintain this position for the specified time instruct your client to perform a pushup. To make this exercise more challenging have your client place their shins on the ball and perform as above. Challenge your client even more by having them place their feet only on the ball and perform as above. And to further challenge your clients’ balance, place a balance disc under each hand.


Advanced Balance


Exercise 2

What Is it: Supine Foam Roller/Resistant Band Shoulder Pull Benefit: Improves balance/arm strength and core stability.

How To Do It: Have your client lie supine on a full-length foam roller. Both feet should be flat on the floor. Have them hold a resistant band in each hand and instruct your client to lift their arms straight up. Then have them pull the band out to the sides. To make this exercise more challenging have your client lift one leg up at a 90-degree angle and perform the same movement with the band. And to further challenge your clients balance, place a balance disc under the foot that is on the floor. Below are some more suggestions for advanced exercises. Use your imagination-the list of exercises is endless.

Balance Disc
* Stand with eyes closed
* Lift one leg up at a 90 degree angle & balance on one leg
* Squat with 2 balance discs
* Squat/Pick up stability ball/Lift overhead
* Lifting small weights
* Medicine Ball throws
* Practice standing
* Lift one leg up at a 90 degree angle and balance on one leg
* Lunge
* Squat
* Walking on balls of the feet
* Lateral squat with movement
Half Foam Roller/Full Length Foam Roller
* Practice standing
* Lying supine
* Lying prone arm lifts
* Lunge
* Squat/Pick up stability ball
* Lifting small weights
* Using resistance cords
* Medicine ball throws
Wobble Board
* Practice standing
* Squat
* Lifting small weights
* Using resistance cords
* Medicine Ball throws
Stability Ball
* Seated lift one leg up
* Seated lift one leg up straight
* Lying on ground hip lift
* Lying on ground, dig and pull with heels
* Crunches on stability ball
* Using foam rollers
* Using medicine balls
* Using resistance cords
* Lifting small weights

Get started today-Incorporate balance training into your clients’ routines, for safety in everyday movements and improved sports performance. Gina Piazza is president of GMP Fitness. For product information contact GMP Fitness at 888- 467-3488.


These resources are for the purpose of personal trainer growth and development through Continuing Education which advances the knowledge of fitness professionals. This article is written for NFPT Certified Personal Trainers to receive Continuing Education Credit (CEC). Please contact NFPT at 800.729.6378 or [email protected] with questions or for more information.