Physical Pointers

3 Balance Exercises

Živa Dvoršak & Sonja Benčina

Nov 3, 2023

As shooting is a (fairly) static sport, the focus with physical exercises is on strong core. The easiest and perhaps most efficient exercise is planking, which Aiming Art thoroughly explained in this Practical Pointer, then listed a few versions in this one. However, to keep your centre strong, you need a firm foundation: strong legs that will maintain your balance in a shooting stance. Read on and discover 3 balance exercises.

Exercise 1: Grounding

Having strong legs will help you get your core strength up. The feeling that you are standing firmly on the ground comes primarily from the distribution of weight across the entire foot. Try to stand on one foot, maybe even with your eyes closed. Do you feel unsteady in the ankle, do you try to catch your balance with your toes? Now, position yourself again and focus on the strong centre (squeezing your navel strongly back towards the spine), while pushing the foot into the ground focusing on three points (heel, a point below the big toe and one below the little toe). You can even easily lift your toes off the ground. While pushing with the foot from the ground, think about lifting your head, like someone is trying to pull you up. Deep breaths!

legs of four people standing on one leg; the left two are on balance pads

Are you all for efficiency? Then why not do this extremely simple exercise while you are brushing your teeth? Start by lifting one leg off the ground, then challenge yourself by closing your eyes. To make it more difficult, move to an unsteady surface – a pillow will do if you don’t have a balancing board at home.

Exercise 2: Pointing

Once you feel steady enough in the static position described above, you can start adding dynamic movements. Stand on one leg and try to draw lines on the floor with the other, pointing to all the different directions. Or, still on one leg, bend down, then try reaching different points on the ground with your hand. Try the other leg. Do you feel one is stabler than the other? Both versions can be upgraded by standing on an unsteady surface.

legs of four people standing on one leg; the left two are on balance pads; they are doing a balance exercise pointing with their fingers

Exercise 3: Arabesque

If you feel like giving yourself a different or extra challenge, do the exercise shown in the video below. The arabesque is not only good for improving your balancing skills but is also beneficial for strengthening your spine. Again, focus on the core, keep your arms long and strong, keep your knee bent, constantly push yourself off the ground with your foot. It’s important to have your hips aligned, even if this means lifting your leg less.

The whole philosophy behind balancing exercises is keeping your centre strong, breathing normally and using gravity to your advantage – don’t let it pull you down, but push yourself away from it by focusing on those three points on your foot. Your ankle- and calf muscles will gradually become stronger if you make sure that you are really pushing yourself away with your foot, keeping your knee slightly bent, rather than having it hyperextended and risking an injury. A slightly bent knee will also help ensure that your pelvis stays in a neutral position and tighten those hip flexors – another key muscle group that contributes to your stability.

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3 thoughts on “3 Balance Exercises”

  1. Great post! I like how well you describe HOW you should actually place/move/position your body while doing the exercises. Bravo on the arabesque! Very graceful. I’ll definitely try it, though it will not look half that nice 😀 by the way, standing on one leg on a balance cushion while brushing teeth is REALLY good. We’ve been doing that for about a year now daily and it has improved our balance immensely

    1. Thanks, we appreciate it!
      Kudos for teeth balancing (yes, we will now call it like that) – what we really like about it is that it doesn’t add to your schedule so you have no excuses for not doing it.

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