Jackie Wright: A Terrific Balance Matrix
The Fitness Trail
Whether you possess an excellent ability to balance your body or you are at the other end of the spectrum and have difficulty consistently balancing throughout your daily round, you may benefit from this week’s terrific balance matrix. Think of a matrix as a specific progression of skills to master, and in this case, leading to an improvement in balance.
The beauty of this matrix is that it may be performed just about anywhere, by just about any one, two/three times per week on non-consecutive days and may be utilized in conjunction with your current exercise program. As always, prior to beginning any exercise program, please consult your physician.
Warm-up by walking or cycling for approximately five minutes prior to beginning the balance matrix. Set your body up for each progression by rotating your shoulders back/down, lifting your rib cage off the waistline, imprinting your navel on your spine, pulling your pelvic floor up and inward, relaxing the knees and distributing your body weight equally from front to back through your feet. Prior to and during each skill, gaze at a stable focal point at eye level. *If you are concerned about finding your balance safely throughout the matrix, stand next to a stable support such as a countertop, ballet barre or railing.
Progression 1: Stand erect with the feet shoulder distance apart and the arms suspended by your sides. Lift your right knee up toward your hips and hold balancing on the left leg. Avoid torso leaning, keeping the body erect as though you have a string running from the top of your head to the ceiling. Hold for 15 seconds and switch sides.
Progression 2: If you are able to master number one, then as you bring the right knee up, lift your left arm, over the head, fingers facing the ceiling and hold for 15 seconds and switch sides.
Progression 3: Following number two, as you bring the right knee up, take both of the arms over the head and then shift the arms to the left side as the right knee is elevated, holding for 15 seconds and repeat on the opposite side.
Progression 4: Make sure you are mastering each progression in sequence before attempting this one. With the right knee up, take the arms up, over to the left, then the right continuously. Keep the lower body as quiet as you are able for 10-12 repetitions and then repeat on the opposite side.
Progression 5: Now, begin to move the right knee out to the side and back inward as the arms are moving right and left over the head. The hips will begin to move to counterbalance and create more of a global exercise. Perform 10-12 repetitions and then switch sides.
Progression 6: This is actually a regression. If you are able to complete all five progressions successfully, then attempt progression number one standing on top of an Airex pad which is a flat cushioned pad. Follow the matrix progression all of the way through successfully. If you find, at any point, that you are unable to successfully hold your balance, then regress on that specific progression to the floor and attempt on terra firma.
Progression 7: Try the entire balance matrix on a BOSU Balance Trainer!
Jackie Wright is the owner/manager of Mountain Life Fitness LLC in Granby. She may be reached at her website at http://www.mtnlifefitness.com, her email at firstname.lastname@example.org and her Facebook page at Mountain Life Fitness.
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