Try These 6 Advanced Balance Exercises for Athletes

Athletes who take their physical performance seriously will know that improving balance is an important factor towards building a capable athletic body. Balance training is not discussed often and often goes under the radar when it comes to physical performance, we are here to help inform you on how you can improve your balance so you can improve your athletic performance.

5 min read
Sean Klein
Written by
Sean Klein
Published on
03/04/24
Last updated
03/04/24

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In This Resource
  • Benefits of Improving Balance for Athletes
  • Performance
  • Injury Mitigation
  • Rehabilitation
  • How Can Athletes Train Balance
  • Within Resistance Training Sessions
  • Individual Circuits
  • Sample Balance and core Circuits for Athletes
  • How To Progress Balance Training
  • Exercise Selection for Injury and Rehabilitation
  • Try These 6 Advanced Balance Exercises for Athletes

Benefits of Improving Balance for Athletes

Performance

Balance is often a physical characteristic that goes under the radar when it comes to elite performance for athletes. This is understandable, it is less quantifiable, less obvious to the eye, but neither of these make it less important for certain sports. Balance is a crucial component of success in sports like American Football, soccer, martial arts etc. Therefore it needs to be trained as if it were an important physical characteristic.

Injury Mitigation

Another huge benefit of having excellent balance is that it can help you mitigate potential injuries which will take you out of action. Through strengthening the muscles and the tendons that surround certain joints like the knee and the hip you will be able to mitigate injuries whilst performing your sport. No amount of pre-hab can fully prevent injuries, but you can put yourself in the best position possible to ensure they are less likely.

Rehabilitation

Unfortunately, injury is part of the athletic process. This means that successful rehabilitation needs to be part of the athletic process also. These balance exercises will be very useful for those at the end of their rehabilitation process and are nearly back on field. Have a look through our entire balance movement library too see if we have more appropriate exercises for the rehab process.

How Can Athletes Train Balance

Within Resistance Training Sessions

Most serious athletes will be performing well designed strength and conditioning programmes that will be striving to improve a variety of physical characteristics that will depend upon the sport. The most effective way to work on balance at the same time is to integrate these style of balance exercises into these resistance training sessions. This will allow you too train balance time effectively and consistently. If you are very short on time, using balance exercises in the warm up can be a great way to get them done without making your training session any longer.

Individual Circuits

If you either do not perform resistance training or just for whatever reason you do not want to add them into your resistance training sessions then you can perform balance exercises as individual circuits. This would look like picking one balance exercise and one or two core exercises and performing them in a circuit, as seen below.

Sample Balance and core Circuits for Athletes

Complete 3 rounds

1. Jump and Catch on Single Leg

Complete 5 repetitions

2. Tall Plank DB Pass Through

Complete 12 repetitions

3. Seated Flutters

Complete 30 repetitions

How To Progress Balance Training

Balance training is slightly different from strength and hypertrophy training is that the dose response is not as well studied nor well understood. This can make progressing balance training slightly more difficult and less formulaic. I work under the assumption that 3-6 sets will be an effective dose of 4-8 reps on most of these style of exercise. There is no research behind this assumption but it seems logical. In order to progress the difficulty I rarely progressively add volume but rather make the exercise selection more challenging. This might mean performing an opposite side touch for multiple weeks, then progressing to ski jumps and performing these for a while.

Exercise Selection for Injury and Rehabilitation

When working to rehabilitate the knee or the ankle it is important to be very conservative with your exercise selection. this means start on exercises that you might consider too easy and build from there. There is no risk on an exercise being to easy, it can always be progressed, but if an exercise is to difficult for someone who has had an injury it can create pain and disrupt the rehab process.

Try These 6 Advanced Balance Exercises for Athletes

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This resource was written by Sean Klein. Sean Richard Klein has thousands of hours of coaching experience and a BSc in Sports Science with Management from Loughborough University. He owns a gym in Bayonne France, CrossFit Essor, which runs group classes and a Personal training studio.

Sean Klein

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