by GELDER LEWIS
In any sport there is a certain level of balance that is required to be able to participate. Lack of balance can impede even a highly trained athlete from fully reaching his or her potential.
I have always felt like I have pretty good balance. From a very young age I was riding a bicycle without training wheels, and a skateboard, and I taught myself to ride a unicycle. I started snowboarding at age 14. I have continued to ride bikes, skateboards, wakeboards, snowboards, and occasionally pull out the one wheeled torture device called the unicycle. I have always prided myself on having good balance.
In 2007 I was introduced to the SI-board. This is a unique balance board that offers a full range of motion. This is a board with a guard rail on the bottom that sits on top of a ball and rolls around. When I first saw this it looked really easy. I was sorely mistaken. As I tried to use this board immediately all my stabalizer muscles that typically are dorment woke up. This balance board system is amazing. I was immediately humbled and felt the urge that comes from any serious challenge. I had to engage full mental and physical focus. This focus is required to train and develop the ablility to move around on this board. Over weeks and months it helped me develop greater balance.
Si-Board has different sizes of boards and balls. The combination of 2 balls creates a very good opportunity to start with confidence. Then when given just one ball on the ground I was forced to lower my center of mass and concentrate on each muscular position in my feet, ankles, quads and core. I was so pleased to be doing this and find my heart rate increase.
The list of different exercises that can be done on a half ball, two balls, or one ball are endless. The website shows some great videos of the Master Si-boarders doing some very aggressive moves. As I head into the winter there is no better indoor training that I can do to get me ready for Snowboarding season.
How does this translate to Triathlon? I have found that if I am a little sore or feeling my muscles get really tight I can do a session of 10-15 minutes of balance work on the SI-board and it is a perfect active recovery for my legs, hips and core.
If you are looking for something unique to add to your gym this is something that can truly challenge you in every way. Even with good balance this helped me improve my balance and I have seen the benefits in all disciplines.
Checkout all the different training exercises and fun that can be had at: http://www.si-boards.com