All-In-One Exercise: Increase Your Balance, Core & Reflexes
Tim Ellison of Maui, Hawaii
If you’re looking for one exercise that is super fun and challenging, go no further. I’ve developed this exercise for my clients that is really an all-in-one workout. If you want to improve your balance, challenge your brain, increase your hand-to-eye coordination, increase core strength, then get on your knees and prepare for the ultimate game changer.
Think of this for a moment: If you’re racing and rounding a buoy you are looking for the person’s position and next action. Are you ready to block or pass? Or, the gate drops into the first turn and you’re heading into a banking berm on the dirt bike track. To avoid locking handlebars in such a critical moment you need to react fast and keep your limbs tight to the bike versus risking any threat like that.
How about a common one here on Maui: You have the right of way and you’re about to have a water disaster with another windsurfer, surfer or kiter…Is your brain going to connect fast enough to the rest of your body to actually do what you need to do, rather than just being a thought?
You can increase how your brain responds to changing water conditions, like chop to small or big waves. Or if you’re a tennis player charging the net getting ready to volley, this exercise will be very key for you. This is also great for those simply wanting to be able to quickly respond to a simple lifestyle incident; such as catching your cell phone mid-air before it shatters to the ground. I’m sure you get the idea.
Reflexes: An action that is performed as a response to a stimulus and without conscious thought. Some people are cat-like, others well, turtle-like. You need them in life and you need them in sport.
I am constantly challenging all of my clients’ reflexes no matter what level of fitness they present and not only for windsurfers, paddlers and kiters, but for everyone. With fast reflexes you can get out of a heap of trouble fast or you just may save someone’s life.
I’ve featured Tim Ellison, Maui’s super fast speed demon windsurfer before on this blog; but in photo above, he is ripping across the ocean like he always does with confidence. He’s so laser focused while scanning the horizon and the breaking waves and ready for anything!
I train Tim a lot, especially during the prime of our windsurf season so he is ready for everything. He’s usually pretty on most days and on this day, he went for a PR and probably could have gone to 40 if I let him.
NOTE: This exercise is for the advanced few who already have a level of comfort and skill of balancing on their knees on a stability ball. If you’re just starting out, maybe start by standing in front of the BOSU on two feet, progress to one for extra balance training.
Equipment: One BOSU, small firm rubber ball, a 55-75cm stability ball and courage.
Begin by knee balancing on the ball ( takes LOTS of practice ), deflate ball for less action, inflate to rock hard for faster action. Place BOSU in front of you at a distance you can focus on a small area as your desired target. To gauge the proper distance, you may want to give a few tosses while standing in front of it.
Keep hips slightly bent, unhook your feet behind you from ball, and go for it. You may get to 3 or 5 and that’s cool. Each time you’ll get better and better. You can time yourself and see how many catches you can make, or simply have goals of whatever is challenging. You can experiment with moving the BOSU a little away from you too.
This is the ultimate training for those seeking a fun new way to increase their reaction to any stimulus whether it be moving waves, reading a competitor next to you on a tight turn or for preparing you for anything that may unexpectedly cross your path.
The muscles targeted here are the inner thighs or adductors, all the core muscles, hip flexors for sure and you may start to sweat. Your brain will be in neurotransmitter heaven.
Good luck and have fun!
Suzie Cooney, CPT
Owner of Suzie Trains Maui, LLC
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