Improve Your Balance with One Simple Move

Rock’n-Balance     (SEE VIDEO BELOW)
With people suffering over 300,000 broken hips every year in the U.S. alone, balance is one of the most overlooked components of fitness.
 
I came up with this exercise one fall day when I was training for ski season. I was bounding up a dry riverbed when I spotted a very pointy rock. I challenged myself to stand on the point for as long as I could. Later I added “foot scribing” exercises, such as spelling my name in huge loopy letters, and trying to balance with my eyes closed. 

This exercise can literally be done anywhere with a variety of props, including logs, tree roots, a parking curb, blocks, and low-lying walls. My clients and I tend to prefer using a melon-sized rock that is stable and protruding out of the ground.
 

My students get particular enjoyment from this exercise because it allows them to interact with the elements. Wind, rain or fog will create a completely new and different experience, compared to doing this exercise in sunshine or while standing near fountain or waterfall. By exercising in different conditions, our skills are enhanced by the environment as we become one with our surroundings—never fighting, only flowing.
 
 
What gets shaped: 
Hip flexors, abductors, glutes, balance, proprioceptive awareness, mental focus, emotional power and environmental integration.

Props:  Embedded rocks, roots, boulders, logs, a bump (crimp) in the sidewalk

Starting Position
1.    Find a stable rock, root or bump protruding from the ground.
2.    Place the arch of your right foot on the pointiest or most rounded part of the rock—so that your foot and ankle may move in any range of motion.
3.    Find a focal point straight ahead, at least 10 feet away, and concentrate on it.
4.    Using your arms to help maintain balance, lift your left leg off the ground.
5.    Once you’re feeling balanced, lift your leg higher and begin to scribe a half-circle with your toes: forward, to the side, and behind you.
6.    Work from forward to back.
7.    And back to forward.
8.    Continue for 30 to 60 seconds.
9.    Repeat on the other leg.

Focal Points
•    Stay with your focal point at least 10 feet away
•    Gain stability through your center of mass.
•    When you first do this exercise, you’ll find you have one leg that is dominant or easier to balance on—over time, however, you’ll find you can balance equally well on  either leg.

Tina’s Tip
There is something very primal, yet very soothing about this exercise. On the one hand we must feel the hard surface underfoot. To be successful, however we must also be soft and flowing in our approach. Think too much about what you’re doing and you’ll lose your balance.

Modifications

Beginner
•    Stand on a flat surface
•    Lift your right knee to hip-height
•    Return to start
•    Repeat on the other leg
Advanced
•    Increase time to 90 seconds per leg
•    Use the elements to your advantage—eg., windy, rainy or foggy day
•    Include eyes closed

Outdoor Fitness BookOutdoor Fitness ShopOutdoor Fitness NewsOutdoor Fitness PodcastOutdoor Fitness Newsletter