The Pick-Up

Losing our balance is a scary thing. I’ve had experiences where I could feel that surge of adrenaline when I’ve narrowly escaped a serious injury. It’s not a feeling I like to repeat so I work on my balance all of the time. 

I read something interesting the other day that said that to keep our balance it takes a whole lot of muscles making millions of micro movements/adjustments. I find it amazing that there’s all this movement going on to keep us still. That’s the very reason it’s important to constantly do balance training. 

I’m not sure if I created this exercise or not but I have all my clients now doing what I’m calling the Pick-up. All this requires is something to pick-up. The following describes how to do the exercise:

  • Stand on a flat surface with a light weight (dumbbell, soup can, water bottle) lying flat on the floor in front of you close to your feet.
  • Raise one foot and balance on your other (figure out which is your weaker side and start on that side).
  • Bend, reach down and pick the weight up with one hand (doesn’t matter which ‘cause you’ll be doing both of ‘em).
  • Come back to the standing position (still on the same foot) with the weight held close to your body.
  • Keeping the weight close to your body, raise it over your head.
  • Reverse every part of this process to return the weight to the floor while staying balanced on the same leg.
  • Reach down with the other hand (you’re still on the same leg) to pick up the weight, move it to the overhead position, and then back to the floor.
  • Do not put your foot down until the weight is back on the floor and you’re back to being balanced like you were at the start of the exercise.
  • Repeat all of that standing on the other foot.

To make this more difficult increase the weight of the object that you’ve chosen or you can even try using something small and flat (like a dime). Actually, there are tons of ways to make the exercise more challenging. There are also many ways to make it easier. As an example, start with the weight on an elevated surface like a desk or chair and work on picking and putting down the weight while standing on one foot. Build from there. Make the surface lower and lower until you get to the floor.

There you have it … a convenient way to maintain or improve your balance. No fuss, no muss. Your biggest challenge will likely be remembering to do it. I’ll leave that part to you.

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