Why Is Balance Training Important to Improve Athletic Performance

Why Is Balance Training Important To Improve Athletic Performance

 Today, I will share the continuation of the interview I had with Chapmann Cheung. He talked about the importance of balance training to improve athletic performance.

Last weekend, the family and I went to a local sit-ski hill and enjoyed some winter fun. Here’s a photo of my son in the middle of our snowball fight.

great day in the snow

If you missed the first part of the interview, you could check it out here.

Enjoy the interview.

CLICK HERE to watch the YouTube video interview.

In the interview above, you will discover:

  • How to assess your body’s balance
  • Why balance training is important to improve athletic performance
  • The biggest mistake athletes make when balance training
  • Two balance exercises that will make every athlete better

I hope you enjoyed the interview.

Take care!

Rick Kaselj, MS

If you are unable to watch or listen to the interview above, check out the transcript below.

What is Balance Training?

Rick: So you’ve kind of gone through a couple examples of exercises. Those maybe not even exercises that people would think of like sitting tall and closing the eyes. What are some of your favorite balance exercises that you give people?

Chapmann: Well, one of my favorite exercises to start even assessing someone on how good their balance is I actually get them to stand in a corner. As a child I never liked standing in the corner so I would actually just ask them, “Okay, we’re doing an assessment. Would you kindly stand in this corner and I would actually get them to stand in the corner. Then, I would get them to close their eyes. When they did that they would actually see and realize how unbalanced they actually are.

Chapmann: If you want to you can give it a try as well. It is a little bit of fun but of course you want to make sure that you understand that you’re connected to your body. You’re really well connected to your body and I think that’s one of the big things about awareness. To progress it is just to lift the leg up and do the same thing. Do it with your eyes open for 10 seconds, 5 seconds even if you feel like you’re unsteady and then just build yourself up. You’ll find that you’ll quickly develop the proprioception in your ankles as well as the ability trust your body as to where it is.

What is the Importance of Balance Exercises?

Rick: Awesome. Now, looking at some of the athlete side of things. Let’s say, you know someone that’s healthier and more fit, they might call themselves an athlete. Looking at the balance training when it relates to them, why should someone more a higher level fitness level or an athlete incorporate some balance training into their workout?

Chapmann: Yes. Mainly people that are perhaps more active, I see balance training as being an essential tool to maintain your activity. For example, I was out and it’s a little bit wet in Vancouver. Inclement weather leaves leaves on the ground and it makes it difficult to run, especially if I’m trying to maintain a pace or if I’m trying to get somewhere quickly. So I actually ran yesterday night, and perhaps it was nighttime. I don’t know what all of the conditions were, but I actually did slip on a bunch of leaves. And without actually having had balance training I feel that I would have probably skidded right onto my keister. I was left with the bruise.

Chapmann: I think balance training is quite important because accidents happen. And I think that the best way to prepare yourself and to keep yourself safe is to provide yourself with safe balance training, perhaps in a gym or perhaps in the corner, wherever you want to do your balance training. But those proprioceptors in my ankle and my ability to sort of stay on my feet, I felt like a bit of like a cat where I could stay like, “Oh my God! Did I just almost fall?” And yes, I actually did but I did save myself. I think at the age of 41 being able to save yourself is pretty good because those falls they feel harder. (laughing)

balance training for athletes

What are the mistakes that athletes do in training their balance?

Rick: Yes, they do. (laughing). So covering some of the same points that we talked about when it comes the older adult, are there some mistakes that fit people or athletes make when it relates to balance training?

Chapmann: Yes. I think the biggest, I wouldn’t want to necessarily call it a mistake, but I think what it is is it might be a mental block. It might be the fact that, “Hey, you know what? I don’t know what to do for balance training”. And you know what? It’s as simple as closing your eyes. I mean, anytime you feel like you have to correct yourself or right yourself into a different posture, that’s just part of the mistake is not being aware. In fact, a lot of times when I say the word posture I even think, “Oh, gosh! Am I actually sitting right?” And so I think posture and balance they kind of go hand-in-hand. They kind of go into, it’s all sort of the holistic thing of fitness.

What are some examples of balance training?

Rick: Good point. For the fit person or the athlete what are some examples of balance training?

Chapmann: Some of the examples, I mean, I’m actually a strongboard rep. It’s a new balance tool. For me in my practice, I’m kind of rivaling it against the BOSU ball. The BOSU balls that half ball platform. So it’s got a solid platform on the bottom and then it’s got a dome, an inflated air dome. Some of my clients haven’t been very successful at using that product. You can use a variety of tools but this product in fact it really helps them build confidence because there’s no fixed end point.

Rick: Cool. That fit person and athlete might get some benefit from body weight exercises that help in balance training but they also might need to kind of bring it up a level and challenge things more and utilize like a piece of equipment. An example is the strongboard.

Chapmann: Yes. I mean, any tool is good as long as you use it. If I had a hammer in my hand and I was ready to hit that nail, I’m sure going to do a lot better job than trying to will it into place.

Rick: And then looking at the fit person or athlete, how much time should they put into their workout dedicated to balance training?

Chapmann: It’s really interesting because balance training can be very intense but it can be very straightforward as well. I would almost do my balance training in between my sets because you don’t need to do a lot of it. It doesn’t necessarily need to be dedicated time either. I’ll bring an example, my kids, when they watch me do my fitness training in the house they’re like, “Yes, Daddy, look at me. I can do it this way” and then I’m actually inspired by them because they’re quite well balanced and of course they’re closer to the ground so when they fall it’s not as hard.

Chapmann: Balance training can happen anytime, anywhere, and it doesn’t have to be dedicated. A lot of people find that they’re so busy with everything in life, and I’m busy as well, but you make time for the things that are most important to you. I think fitness is huge. I think everyone should start off the morning by doing exercise, just getting their blood flowing. I’ve watched some of your videos and your morning wake ups and your 10 best exercises. I think those are fantastic. They’re safe, they’re easy to do, they don’t take a lot of time and I think that’s really important to integrate something that is safe, simple and fun to do.

find balance

Rick: Awesome. Good point. Do you have a specific exercises or any kind of balance training exercise that you like to give a fit person or an athlete?

Chapmann: One of my favorites is the pistol squat. I actually dressed up as Deadpool this Halloween and I actually did a pistol squat while standing on a strong board. And a pistol squat is basically you’re holding up one leg and then the other leg that is connected to the ground is then doing a full range of motion squat. And so that’s something that I like to bring to my elite athletes and competitive athletes and it’s a fun drinking game for me because a lot of my buddies they end up buying me drinks because they can’t do it. (laughing)

Rick: We’ve kind of gone through the questions that I had listed out. Now, is there any question that I didn’t ask or is there anything that you want to leave people with?

Chapmann: Well, I want to leave people with the fact that be comfortable in your own skin. Be confident in the way you move, be impeccable in your word and lead by example.

Rick: Awesome. And then, Chapmann, where can people get more information about you?

Chapmann: I’m on social media. My handle happens to be iamkinected. Kinected is spelt K-I-N-E-C-T-E-D. My first and last name is easy to find. It’s Chapmann, C-H-A-P-M-A-N-N. Cheung, C-H-E-U-N-G. they’re not too many Chapmann Cheung’s out there, and so maybe for the next little while I’ll put up my Deadpool pistol squat and then you’ll know it’s not Ryan Reynolds.

Rick: (laughing) Awesome. So thank you very much for your time, Chapmann.

Chapmann: Yes, thank you.

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