Use Balance Training to Build Your Base

Balance goes hand in hand with stability and is an overarching umbrella skill that transcends components of movement and fitness. In my training philosophy, only once we’ve achieved structural foundation (stability) can we train balance effectively.

Most sports, especially BJJ in which the body is constantly being reoriented and even flipped upside down, the equilibrium and center of gravity is always being challenged.

Balance Game Plan

With the above in mind, we must challenge our neuromuscular system by removing a base of support (one-legged balancing and such) while
changing the surface on which we are planted.

The stability ball, different balancing pipes, and the BOSU ball are good for this.

All of these will be looked at it coming posts, but today we will look at a simple set of exercises to prepare the feet and ankles for more challenging balancing work.

What Should Be Achieved By Training Balance

By exposing ourselves to this, our neuromuscular system will have the
ingrained patterns to adjust its equilibrium quickly on command. This will allow for optimal performance, and possibly even make
these positions of “weakness” a strength.

When To Perform Balancing Exercises

I’ve also found that doing balancing training earlier in the day sets the stage for my foundation. Tying it in after my core stabilization, I’ve found that balancing “rounds out” my athleticism. It’s easy to overlook, though, because it requires focus and discipline. It’s very much a balance between soft and hard energies. The focus it takes is quite yang (masculine), but then to be able to flow with the position, pose, or exercise requires a lot of yin (feminine or yielding).

Slant Board

The slant board is a good way to activate the tibialis anterior and shin musculature because the slant of the board induces a calf and Achilles stretch. This board will help cue the “neuromuscular command” of the lower leg that’s ESSENTIAL for stability and balance. Once this connection is achieved, you will hold a stronger structure.

Slant Board Cues and Details

As this area lengthens, the shin will shorten. But this can’t be viewed as a passive stretch. It must be seen as an exercise of active control.

The more the shin engages, the more you dorsiflex the ankle and achieve greater ranges of motion. The board is the feedback that allows you to have the mind/muscle connection with your shin.

Focusing from the ground up is also a mental thing. The more we’re aware of our foundation, the more stable and strong we’ll be from the ground up by simply having that connected awareness to that area of our body.

The great thing about these preliminary balancing exercises and the ones I cover coming up is that they’re easy to add to a routine. It works your mental aspects more than your physical and should make any other physical training you do much easier.

Implement this sequence into your training and feel yourself finding a more solid footing on the mats and in your life.

I cover more performance training tidbits at that will help you prepare, recover, and perform better on the mats!


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