3 Unilateral Exercises to Challenge Your Balance

Striking a balance in fitness exercises is very important in order to avoid having a dominant side over the other. “The weaker leg will struggle harder to complete the same number of repetitions. So, one-legged moves can go far to balance out the right and left sides of the lower body. They keep you honest” says Michele Olson, Ph.D., professor of exercise science at Auburn University in Montgomery, Alabama. Below are 3 exercises to challenge and improve your balance.

1. One-armed dumbbell row

To do this, grab a dumbbell with your palm facing the side of your body and place the other hand and knee on a bench. Maintain a flat back and lift the elbow as high as possible next to the body with the elbow bent. Then, maximize contractions by rotating your torso slightly at the end of the row, and perform about 10 to 15 rows. Then switch arms and repeat with the other side. This exercise targets the latissimus dorsi, trapezius, rhomboids and forearm flexors.

2. Step-ups for your left and right foot

To do this, stand with a 12- to 18-inch plyo box at your right side, with your foot on the box. Step up onto the box, while keeping the knee and hip of your right leg straightened. Then, root through your right heel to lift the rest of your body and raise your left knee so that both your left hip and knee are at a 90-degree angle. Now, step down with your left leg by bending the knee and hip of the right leg. Repeat for the other side. This exercise targets the glues, hamstrings, and quadriceps.

3. Single-leg hip pops

To do this, sit on the ground with your legs extended in front of you while you flex your feet. Place your hands on the ground next to your hips, with your fingers pointed towards your feet. Now, raise and hold your left leg a few inches off the ground and push your right heel into the ground. Extend your arms and support your weight on your hands, and then lift your hips into a straight-body position and lower your hips back to the seated position. Then, pop your hips back up as quick as you can. Repeat for the other side. This exercise targets the hamstrings of the supporting leg.

You can add these exercises to your regular strength-training regimen to challenge and improve your balance a great deal.

image courtesy of: bodybuilding.com, uk.pinterest.com, lifelivelove.xyz.

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