You are already a dedicated fitness nut always looking for ways to push your workout routine to the next level. Normal squats and lunges have gotten too routine for you. Add in a balance board to your routine to help take it to the next level. By using a balance board for traditional hamstring exercises, you can sculpt an envy-worthy set of stems.
Balance Board Basics
When you step onto a balance board, you have to tighten your abdominal muscles to prevent yourself from falling over. While this instability tightens your core, it also comes with another major fitness benefit. When you are fighting to keep your body balanced, you are improving your proprioceptive. This is your body’s ability to sense where it is in space. Although it sounds scientific, this skill is what allows you to text while you’re walking and walk up and down stairs without having to look. The balance board forces your body to focus on balance, coordination and agility simultaneously.
You wouldn’t sit down and try to bench press 300 pounds on your first day at the gym. The same goes for balance board exercises. You need to start slowly and progressively make the exercises harder to keep challenging your body. Before you start any hamstring exercises on the board, make sure you can stand on one leg for 30 seconds with your eyes open and your hands by your sides. Next, try the same move for 30 seconds but with your eyes closed.
Starting Out on the Board
When you add the balance board to your routine, there is still a learning curve. First, master simply standing on the board with both feet. Once you are comfortable with this, practice balancing on the board using just one foot. Now you are ready to tackle hamstring exercises. Once these moves get mundane, further increase the difficulty by adding an element of distraction, such as holding a conversation or moving a ball from your left to right hand. This further enhances your body’s proprioception.
A solid balance board exercise that strengthens your hamstrings and other muscles in your legs including your quadriceps, glutes and calves is a lunge. Start by standing in the center of the board and then step back with your right foot off the board. Land on your toes with your feet hip-width apart. Keep your weight centered and hips even. Now bend both knees and lower until your left thigh is parallel to the floor. Straighten back up for rep. Do eight to 12 reps in the lunge position and then switch legs. Additional hamstring exercises are single leg hip extensions, bridges and hamstring curls.
Fitzalan Gorman has more than 10 years of academic and commercial experience in research and writing. She has written speeches and text for CEOs, company presidents and leaders of major nonprofit organizations. Gorman has published for professional cycling teams and various health and fitness websites. She has a Master of Arts from Virginia Tech in political science and is a NASM certified personal trainer.