How to Balance on a Ball
Ever wanted to run away and join the circus? I did after my first attendance at a Cirque du Soleil performance. What incredible feats of balance and strength and flexibility!
Balance is something that I like to work on with all of my clients, as it gives you immediate feedback (not balanced? You fall over! 🙂 and you can do it in fun ways. I generally save it for the end of the workout when you’re more fatigued; that way you really have to think about how you are going to execute.
You can see synapses firing! Steam coming out of ears! It is fantastic.
Here is one way to practice your balance, and simultaneously your first Cirque move.
Let’s grab a big Swiss ball, and climb onto it with our knees. Sounds easy enough, right? (You might want to be close to a wall or a chair in case you want to throw an arm out for balance.)
Anchor your knees
My first tip in attempting to balance on a ball on your knees, is to anchor your knees into the ball, and push off the ground with your toes. My client Elizabeth demonstrated it beautifully here:
I say that every time with a demonstration, and every time, everyone lifts their foot off the ground and tries to put their knee on the top of the ball, like my client Sara did below for demo purposes.
Every time. Cracks me up. 🙂
See how Sara has less shin in contact with the ball? That is less surface area to give you stability. She is balancing, but just barely.
Additionally, guess what generally happens when you lift one foot off the ground? You start to fall over.
How to balance on a ball
Let’s start again! Dig both of your knees and shins into the ball, and push off the ground with your tippy toes. Your hands will also be planted on the ball, and you can gently push away and down on the ball as the ball rolls slowly forward.
Remember your hips are your center of balance, of gravity, and of buoyancy; interestingly enough they will make or break how you move on the ball.
Find your hips and you will find your balance!
Now as you create the stability, slowly lift your hands up off the ball. Be prepared to have things be slightly squirrelly for a bit.
Feeling advanced? Play catch with a ball and a friend (or a throw it against a wall!) while you are kneeling on the ball. What?!
My client Gary is demonstrating catching a ball while balancing below. Not only is it possible and useful, it is fun!
Let me know in the comments below how much fun you had attempting to balance on your knees on a ball, and what you think your chances are at the next Cirque tryout! 🙂