There are many definitions for dynamic balance but the one we prefer is simple – the ability to anticipate and react to changes in balance as the body moves through space (Med. Dict. for Health Professions & Nursing © Farlex 2012).

When we hear the word balance, we usually think of standing still on one leg or trying not to fall when walking on a slippery surface. Standing on one leg can certainly help improve static balance, but training dynamic balance is essential in helping improve skills that we use in our activities of daily living or sports.

“We achieve optimal balance when multiple sensory systems provide information about the body’s position as it moves over the ground. The eyes (visual), inner ear (vestibular) and skin (kinesthetic) contain numerous sensory receptors that provide important feedback to the central nervous system (CNS) about which muscles to activate and when. Maintaining static balance as the body remains in one position is relatively easy because you can concentrate on which muscles to contract to remain stable. However, most of our activities of daily living happen suddenly, meaning you have to rely on conscious thought to control which muscles to activate.”

Benefits of training dynamic balance are:

  • Is an effective way to strengthen and tone the muscles of the hips, glutes, thighs and low back (i.e. your core)
  • Is an effective way to strengthen and tone the muscles of the hips, glutes, thighs and low back (i.e. your core)
  • It can improve your gait cycle.
  • Can be a great warm-up for strength training, running or other activities.
  • It helps improve your coordination and ability to react to sudden changes in direction or changes in types of surfaces.
  • It’s perfect for the days you can’t make it to the gym, but still want to move your body.
  • Can help improve your overall energy expenditures

The biggest benefit however is the addition of dynamic exercises into your workouts increase your ability to perform your favorite activities. Below are some of our favorite dynamic exercises. We recommend adding them into your workouts as a warm-up or as a workout on days you cannot get to the gym. As usual, if you have any questions or are not sure how to perform an exercise please ask us – we are here to help.

Dynamic Exercises:

  • Lunge Matrix – front lunge w/arms OH; lateral lunge w/arms rotating to squat side; reverse lunge w/hands touching front foot or down by the ankles of the front ft.
  • Single leg balance w/hip flexion; step back and toe touch – start standing on one leg with knee up.  Step back and hinge at the hips to bring hands down by the front foot.
  • Kick the cone – Place a cone or object in front of you (about 2 ft. away). Stand on left leg w/knee slightly bent. Bending the left knee, use your right ft. to reach in front of you as far as you can go and touch the cone with your foot. Bring your ft. back to the start position. If you can easily touch the cone, move it farther away. Perform 10-12 times and then repeat on the other side.
  • Lateral step to balance/Lateral hop to balance – Take a big step to your right or squat to your right and then push up thru your right leg to balance on your right leg. The advance move is to hop to the right and land on the right foot. Perform 5-10 on one side and then repeat on the other side.
  • Forward hop to balance – Start by standing on one ft. and then hop forward to land on your other foot. Try and land softly and slightly sink into your hips. Hold the balance position before leaping again. Perform 5 on each foot.