Core Training Exercise for Balance

While the previous two videos (see: Integrated Core Training for Dynamic Stability and Core Training Variations for Dynamic Stability) help reinforce elements of low-position control important for skating, the Single Leg Stance Med Ball Figure 8 is more of a traditional balance exercise.

The goal is to stay tall and centered over the foot.
When someone is performing this exercise, there are several things I’m looking for:

  • Foot stability: Do they maintain 3 points of contact with the heel, ball of the foot and 5th metatarsal (base of the pinky toe)? Some movement is expected, but the foot shouldn’t collapse inward or roll so far to the outside that the big toe peels off.
  • Hip positioning: As the ball moves, does the pelvis rotate, sway excessively side to side (this can also drive the foot to roll in or out), or dump forward?
  • Core control: Does the rib cage stay stacked above the pelvis? Most typical deviation from this position is to allow the pelvis to tip forward and rib cage to flare up, which is a sign of an posterior (low back) stabilization strategy, but some will also excessively crunch/brace which will cause them to “lose height”.
  • Head/Neck position: Does the head stay stacked above the rib cage and pelvis or does it drift forward?

Positioning and control in all of these areas are inter-related, (e.g. a foot collapsing inward can drive a hip tilt and loss of rib/pelvis stacking), so it’s important to observe up and down the chain. 

As with the other variations, this can be progressed by adding range of motion to the “8”, adding speed, or adding load. In certain cases, I’ve also progressed athletes to doing this with their eyes closed, to remove the visual contribution to balance. 

Give this a shot, and post any questions/comments below!

To your success,

Kevin Neeld

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