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Kieran123

Exercises to Improve Stability and Balance

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If you have access to a bosu ball(half a ball with a flat plate in the other side) do just body weight squats. Your quick twitch muscles will be firing off like crazy as you squat down. The more you do them the stronger those little muscles get stronger and you’ll notice your legs/ hips and ankles shaking much less and eventually not shaking at all. Make sure the ball side is down and you stand on the flat side. 

Edited by CaseyD

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On 1/16/2019 at 4:00 AM, mrjohnsmitt said:

Really, once you're an adult your balance ability is pretty much set. As long as you have cause to use it you'll keep it. I'm not sure that you can do much to increase your balance (I could be totally wrong here, but I know that I've read something to that effect). 

Balance is definitely something that can be trained as a lot of it has to do with core strength. Stronger core muscles will increase your ability to balance. One of my old gym goals was to stand on a stability ball and that's something I can work towards; it's not like just because I'm an adult I can never learn to do that or handstands or something.

On 1/16/2019 at 4:00 AM, mrjohnsmitt said:

And I'd imagine that Ice skating, snowboarding is likely going to be better for this than anything that you can do in the gym.

I actually believe in the opposite. Training properly in the gym will help you be better at skating and snowboarding. 

Lots of gym exercises can help train balance and stability. Unsurprisingly, most of them involve training while unbalanced: single leg deadlifts or squats, renegade rows, single arm dumbbell press, etc. Generally anything done on a stability ball or ball will train your balance. You can even do regular lifts on balance balls which will challenge your core stability. Lots of good stuff in yoga, too.

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1 minute ago, billchao said:

Balance is definitely something that can be trained as a lot of it has to do with core strength. Stronger core muscles will increase your ability to balance. One of my old gym goals was to stand on a stability ball and that's something I can work towards; it's not like just because I'm an adult I can never learn to do that or handstands or something.

I agree. Losing weight, being more active, and practicing balance has improved my stability tremendously over the past decade. I have more athleticism at the age or 34 than I did at 24. Though I might be slightly more injury prone :-P

 

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Balance is something most people overlook especially young people who tend to focus on strength training.  Balance is having a strong core, but it is also about strong legs and it is also about being mobile. Remember all the muscles are connected and we want them to respond that way as one unit. 

So we want to build a strong flexible muscle that will respond to the activity that is being presented. I work with some high school sports teams and I have found them to be way too tight for my liking especially in the calves and hamstrings.I wonder what they will be like at 40.

  Practicing balance exercises should become a high priority as we age, but if you start young and form the habit, you will not have to worry. . It works ! I am 69 and my balance is just as good as when I was 20. 

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I'm 67 years old and I started yoga training almost two months ago, three times a week, has made a difference. Yoga works on all the muscle groups including the core and especially the back. Yoga is all about strengthening the body, increasing flexibility, and balance. You might want to look into it. 

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5 hours ago, cooke119 said:

I'm 67 years old and I started yoga training almost two months ago, three times a week, has made a difference. Yoga works on all the muscle groups including the core and especially the back. Yoga is all about strengthening the body, increasing flexibility, and balance. You might want to look into it. 

Congratulation you are among a small minority of men who take up the challenge. I think it is 20 %. Most think it is for  women and continue to tighten their muscles with weights and see strength as building muscle. I have been teaching and doing Yoga for 20 years and there is nothing  that compares to it. Of course one has to be careful when we say Yoga, That term is a generic term that can mean a lot of different styles. A person  has to find the right style for them and it appears you have. Keep up the good work and keep sharing . 

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5 hours ago, cooke119 said:

Yoga

and heavy powerlifting. 

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On 4/16/2019 at 4:22 PM, ncates00 said:

and heavy powerlifting. 

Would destroy my back, I've already had three surgeries. There are some yoga positions that I don't do because of my back, but that is OK, I take it at my own pace.

 

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On 4/16/2019 at 4:12 PM, JCrane said:

Congratulation you are among a small minority of men who take up the challenge. I think it is 20 %. Most think it is for  women and continue to tighten their muscles with weights and see strength as building muscle. I have been teaching and doing Yoga for 20 years and there is nothing  that compares to it. Of course one has to be careful when we say Yoga, That term is a generic term that can mean a lot of different styles. A person  has to find the right style for them and it appears you have. Keep up the good work and keep sharing . 

What type do you teach? I take Hatha classes, work on flexibility, balance, strength, breathing and calming/quieting the mind through meditation. My classes do have a lot of women in them but some men. I do look forward to them and intend to keep going. My teachers all know I have a bad back, (three surgeries), so they watch out that I am not over doing it. Some positions I just can't do so I do alternatives that don't stress the lower back. Now if I could just get my hamstrings to loosen up, LOL.

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1 hour ago, cooke119 said:

Would destroy my back, I've already had three surgeries. There are some yoga positions that I don't do because of my back, but that is OK, I take it at my own pace.

 

I understand the caution; but you work up to heavier weight.  You go at your own pace, that's why I bought my own power rack for use at home.  You do the weight you can and get better.  Obviously you make small progress over time and steadily get stronger.  I recommend you check out "Starting Strength" or Wendler's 531.  You'll see that you start off really light and only add 10 lbs per month on squat and deadlift; and you only add 5 lbs per month to bench press and overhead press.  

While I haven't had surgery, I too have had back pain, and I'm telling you, it wasn't until I started powerlifting did that nagging pain go away.

Edited by ncates00

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3 hours ago, cooke119 said:

What type do you teach? I take Hatha classes, work on flexibility, balance, strength, breathing and calming/quieting the mind through meditation. My classes do have a lot of women in them but some men. I do look forward to them and intend to keep going. My teachers all know I have a bad back, (three surgeries), so they watch out that I am not over doing it. Some positions I just can't do so I do alternatives that don't stress the lower back. Now if I could just get my hamstrings to loosen up, LOL.

Hatha is a generic term in Yoga. It just means physical Yoga. I teach my own brand that I have developed over the last 20 years. It  is very slow moving but yet demanding. In fact I have found we build more strength in the body when we move as opposed to moving fast. Why ? Because we activate more supportive muscles then we do with fast movement. This methodology is used in some kinds of weight training called time under tension.

As far as your hamstrings go. you are not alone. You may have short hamstrings to begin with. Any Yoga class is like going to a buffet. A lot of things are offered because the instructor is working on different parts of body and for different reasons ( strength, mobility, balance ) What I suggest is picking out a few exercises that work on your tight hamstrings. Example : 1. seated forward fold with legs bent, 2. Laying down on back  lifting one leg with a strap and guiding the leg toward the head. I would also add a calf stretch. Put your foot on a chair and let most of your foot hang off, just keep the ball mount on it . Bring your hands on the top of the thigh and put some weight on it to lengthen the calf muscle. Do some of these every day along with the rest of your program .Hope this helps !

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3 hours ago, cooke119 said:

Would destroy my back, I've already had three surgeries. There are some yoga positions that I don't do because of my back, but that is OK, I take it at my own pace.

 

That is your body talking to you. I had the same experience some 25 years ago. I would suggest you listen to it and stay off  the weights. I do not know how old you are but  at about 50 most people start to feel the effects of the tight muscles from the heavy lifting.

If you are preparing the body for golf and life, you are far better off using exercises that are dynamic in nature and build strength by creating muscle integration instead of muscle isolation. You need to keep the muscles lengthened around the back not tightened. That will only cause you more problems down the line, but I would imagine you already know that. You could also have used inversion therapy to lengthen the muscles in the back and create more separation between the vertebrae . That might not be advisable anymore. Good Luck. . 

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54 minutes ago, JCrane said:

That is your body talking to you. I had the same experience some 25 years ago. I would suggest you listen to it and stay off  the weights. I do not know how old you are but  at about 50 most people start to feel the effects of the tight muscles from the heavy lifting.

If you are preparing the body for golf and life, you are far better off using exercises that are dynamic in nature and build strength by creating muscle integration instead of muscle isolation. You need to keep the muscles lengthened around the back not tightened. That will only cause you more problems down the line, but I would imagine you already know that. You could also have used inversion therapy to lengthen the muscles in the back and create more separation between the vertebrae . That might not be advisable anymore. Good Luck. . 

Thing is, there's tons of research supporting the fact that heavy lifting actually helps your body.  Deadlifting in particular, as well as squats, are so good for strengthening your back when done properly under a steady long-term progression program. 

The people that get hurt usually do so because of 1) poor form, 2) they try to make progress too quickly, 3) they train sporadically instead of steady consistent progression week to week, 4) more rarely, they overtrain.  

Your anecdote about lengthening the muscles and all that sound good, but it's not really the issue.  The problem isn't that the muscles aren't long enough, it's that you're weak.  You can be strong and supple.  They're not mutually exclusive like many old farts that don't want to pick up a loaded barbell and do some work.  You can certainly get hurt doing powerlifting.  I'm not denying that (see above).  However, I, like many powerlifters, stretch, do yoga, and spend time foam rolling or using a softball/lacrosse ball to ensure we stay flexible as well.  I dare say the lifting actually helps my flexibility; obviously not the next day if you did more reps/bodybuilding/lactic acid style.  I don't; I powerlift and rarely get sore because I don't go for reps and a lactic acid "pump."  I just want to get stronger and I feel so much better since I started this.  

Further, at your age, you especially need a good strength training program.  You're going to steadily lose much needed strength, muscle mass, and bone density as you age.  Things will start to wear and tear and break, simply because your body isn't strong.  I'm not saying you bodybuild--that's just vanity.  I'm saying you should invest in the big 4 and increase your strength.  You can do this while doing yoga as well.  I think they complement each other well.  You could do 2 days of powerlifting, 2 days of yoga, and 2 days of light cardio, or some other formulation of things you value and enjoy.

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1 hour ago, ncates00 said:

Thing is, there's tons of research supporting the fact that heavy lifting actually helps your body.  Deadlifting in particular, as well as squats, are so good for strengthening your back when done properly under a steady long-term progression program. 

The people that get hurt usually do so because of 1) poor form, 2) they try to make progress too quickly, 3) they train sporadically instead of steady consistent progression week to week, 4) more rarely, they overtrain.  

Your anecdote about lengthening the muscles and all that sound good, but it's not really the issue.  The problem isn't that the muscles aren't long enough, it's that you're weak.  You can be strong and supple.  They're not mutually exclusive like many old farts that don't want to pick up a loaded barbell and do some work.  You can certainly get hurt doing powerlifting.  I'm not denying that (see above).  However, I, like many powerlifters, stretch, do yoga, and spend time foam rolling or using a softball/lacrosse ball to ensure we stay flexible as well.  I dare say the lifting actually helps my flexibility; obviously not the next day if you did more reps/bodybuilding/lactic acid style.  I don't; I powerlift and rarely get sore because I don't go for reps and a lactic acid "pump."  I just want to get stronger and I feel so much better since I started this.  

Further, at your age, you especially need a good strength training program.  You're going to steadily lose much needed strength, muscle mass, and bone density as you age.  Things will start to wear and tear and break, simply because your body isn't strong.  I'm not saying you bodybuild--that's just vanity.  I'm saying you should invest in the big 4 and increase your strength.  You can do this while doing yoga as well.  I think they complement each other well.  You could do 2 days of powerlifting, 2 days of yoga, and 2 days of light cardio, or some other formulation of things you value and enjoy.

It is your body and you get to choose, It is not about getting hurt. It is about tightening the muscles and compression of the spine. All day every day we have gravity pushing us down and as we age that compression actually shrinks people. Now if we put heavy weights on our back do you think that helps compression or creates more ? Besides that as I stated our bodies are dynamic and we want the muscles to work together as a unit. This is not stuff I am making up, these are things I have experienced and have observed in my classes. Whenever I have weightlifters in my class, I see the same thing. They can not move  with fluidity. Now if they created a balance of weights and stretching they would limit the damage, but I only had one person in my class that has done that and he started weights at the same time he started doing the classes, so I consider him the exception.

As far as cardio goes , I could write a whole chapter on that. Contrary to popular opinion we do not have to move the body quickly to create cardio. We can do it with the breath as long as we are creating an intensity in the muscles. My resting heart rate gets below athletic and I do not do any running or treadmills or anything of the sort.

With that all said you should do what works for you and if lifting is what to do then I say do it. I lifted for 30 years, so I understand where you are coming from. I will turn 70 this year and I think much different now. Thanks

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10 hours ago, JCrane said:

Now if we put heavy weights on our back do you think that helps compression or creates more ?

You're not wrong here.  Heavy squats can do that if you go really heavy.  Most people won't get that heavy though.  

 

10 hours ago, JCrane said:

Besides that as I stated our bodies are dynamic and we want the muscles to work together as a unit

Powerlifting does exactly that.  The big 4 are the most beneficial exercises for strength training there is.  That's why all athletic programs use them as the fundamental basis for improving strength.  Of the 4, bench press is the one that recruits less, but you can add a stability component by raising your legs in the air or lay on a medicine ball while pressing.  

 

10 hours ago, JCrane said:

They can not move  with fluidity. Now if they created a balance of weights and stretching they would limit the damage,

That's such a broad generalization.  Again, lifting and flexibility, or gracefulness as you seem to imply here, are not mutually exclusive.  Athletes can, and do, obtain some level of both.  Your subjective impressions of a few people you have seen pales in comparison to the long history of athletes who perform well in their sport by using both.  Wide receivers, gymnasts, quarterbacks, runnings backs, martial artists, golfers, basketball players, soccer players, baseball players, and even your average gym Joe have had both for a long time.  I see where you're coming from, but to say that if you work out, you cannot have flexibility is simply not true.  You talking about the one guy as the exception is not the exception.  As long as a lifter uses proper form and doesn't try to kill themselves, you can absolutely even increase your "fluidity" as you call it.  

 

10 hours ago, JCrane said:

As far as cardio goes

Maybe, but perhaps I misspoke.  What I'm actually referring to is conditioning and not running out of breath when you perform.  You get that from cardio exercises/training.  Take for instance, I'm not in good enough shape to play a full court basketball game with a good high school team.  I could play really well for a bit, but eventually I'd desperately want half court haha.  You don't have to run, you can get it from long swimming sessions, hiking, etc. 

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16 hours ago, JCrane said:

Hatha is a generic term in Yoga. It just means physical Yoga. I teach my own brand that I have developed over the last 20 years. It  is very slow moving but yet demanding. In fact I have found we build more strength in the body when we move as opposed to moving fast. Why ? Because we activate more supportive muscles then we do with fast movement. This methodology is used in some kinds of weight training called time under tension.

As far as your hamstrings go. you are not alone. You may have short hamstrings to begin with. Any Yoga class is like going to a buffet. A lot of things are offered because the instructor is working on different parts of body and for different reasons ( strength, mobility, balance ) What I suggest is picking out a few exercises that work on your tight hamstrings. Example : 1. seated forward fold with legs bent, 2. Laying down on back  lifting one leg with a strap and guiding the leg toward the head. I would also add a calf stretch. Put your foot on a chair and let most of your foot hang off, just keep the ball mount on it . Bring your hands on the top of the thigh and put some weight on it to lengthen the calf muscle. Do some of these every day along with the rest of your program .Hope this helps !

Interesting, thanks for the insight and explanation. I'll give your suggestions a try. I'm 67 and after 45 years of office work and business travel I am really tight. But I will keep working it and go at my own pace. Thanks again.

 

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7 hours ago, ncates00 said:

You're not wrong here.  Heavy squats can do that if you go really heavy.  Most people won't get that heavy though.  

 

Powerlifting does exactly that.  The big 4 are the most beneficial exercises for strength training there is.  That's why all athletic programs use them as the fundamental basis for improving strength.  Of the 4, bench press is the one that recruits less, but you can add a stability component by raising your legs in the air or lay on a medicine ball while pressing.  

 

That's such a broad generalization.  Again, lifting and flexibility, or gracefulness as you seem to imply here, are not mutually exclusive.  Athletes can, and do, obtain some level of both.  Your subjective impressions of a few people you have seen pales in comparison to the long history of athletes who perform well in their sport by using both.  Wide receivers, gymnasts, quarterbacks, runnings backs, martial artists, golfers, basketball players, soccer players, baseball players, and even your average gym Joe have had both for a long time.  I see where you're coming from, but to say that if you work out, you cannot have flexibility is simply not true.  You talking about the one guy as the exception is not the exception.  As long as a lifter uses proper form and doesn't try to kill themselves, you can absolutely even increase your "fluidity" as you call it.  

 

Maybe, but perhaps I misspoke.  What I'm actually referring to is conditioning and not running out of breath when you perform.  You get that from cardio exercises/training.  Take for instance, I'm not in good enough shape to play a full court basketball game with a good high school team.  I could play really well for a bit, but eventually I'd desperately want half court haha.  You don't have to run, you can get it from long swimming sessions, hiking, etc. 

ok, but you are comparing these things to athletes, not every day people. I would venture to guess that the majority of people looking for ways to be healthy are not people running triathlons, or playing professional sports. They are people who are living an average  life and looking for ways to live longer and healthier and play their golf  games without pain.  Those are the people i deal with. Someone once said : The only thing that is real is what we experience. and I am simple saying what I have experienced over the last twenty years. You do not have to agree with it. 

If it is worth anything I would say if someone came up to me when I was in my 40s and said to me what I am saying here, I would have told them to go to hell. LOL  

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