Balancing Act: Why Lower Body Joints Need More Than You’re Giving Them
We know what athletic qualities are beneficial for physical performance, because we follow sports on TV, admire athlete’s superhuman qualities and work to mimic sought-after physically fit celebrities. But we know firsthand, because we experience our own physical lives in unique bodies, and know our strengths and weaknesses.
While attributes such as strength, power, and speed are absolutely important, balance is often ranked secondarily or missed in the conversation of fitness altogether. Without a solid sense of balance, however, many of the movements you encounter on the field of play and in daily life would be impossible.
In this post, we will be detailing the main joints in your lower body that help you balance in any single-leg situation or activity, whether it be running, jumping, squatting, or more. Specifically, your ankles, knees, and hips need to have enough stability and mobility so that you can fully function athletically and in the real world. Read more to learn how you can improve your balance by working on your lower body joints.
One limiting factor for balance that we often see in sedentary adults is a lack of ankle mobility. Part of what this means is that you lack the range of motion necessary to squat all the way down while keeping your feet flat on the floor. When adults with this issue attempt to do a Single Leg Squat, they typically lose their balance at the bottom and fall backward. In this case, in order to improve your balance, you need more mobility in your ankles. If you find this to be the case, then you should look into the GymnasticBodies Front Split Stretch Series, which is full of several different mobility drills that will help increase your ankle mobility.
Improve your range of motion and ankle mobility using exercises like this from the GB Courses.
Moving from the ground up, the next joint that is important for balance is the knee. Whereas the ankle (like the wrist) is a very mobile joint that should be able to move freely in many different ranges of motion, the knee (like the elbow) is built for stability. Unfortunately, knee injuries are all too common, especially in youth sports such as soccer where fast-paced changes of direction are the name of the game. In many cases, the knee is not physically prepared to handle these lateral forces, and a ligament, tendon, or the meniscus tears.
In order to decrease your risk of injury, improve your balance, and strengthen your knees, check out the GymnasticBodies Foundation Series. In the Single Leg Squat track, you will find Coach Christopher Sommer’s popular “knee prehab series,” something that has helped even seasoned athletes like Tim Ferriss and many of his experienced listeners. Whereas many coaches will never have you purposely rotate, twist, or collapse your knees, Coach Sommer has had decades of success keeping his athletes injury-free by intentionally building knee stability and mobility at the same time.
The last joint we will talk about in respect to lower body balance is the hip. The hip is an incredibly complex joint that is shaped like a ball and socket, and with this spherical shape, your hips should have a large amount of mobility. Due to improper training and chronic sitting, however, most adults have hips that are largely immobile, and this can lead to issues such as poor balance, lower back pain, and loss of strength.
Fortunately, there are many simple steps that you can take today to begin improving your hip mobility. In addition to the Front Split Series mentioned earlier, the GymnasticBodies Middle Split Stretch Series has dozens of mobility and flexibility drills for your adductors, hamstrings, hip flexors, and more. So instead of accepting that things like hip replacement surgery are the new normal, put in the work now to stretch your hips for better mobility and balance.
Lower body mobility is developed most successfully using the GymnasticBodies Online Courses and these improvements are sure to boost your balance, posture, and overall health!