One versatile training aid I like is the balance disc. For me, it provides fluid, varied and continuous opportunities for warming, limbering and strengthening the lower legs, core balance muscles and stabilizing connectors.
Here are some general training options for the balance disc and similar training items. And here are some balance training journal articles you may wish to add to your library. A balance disc is not the only product for balance, of course, but one I focus on here because I’ve used balance discs to advantage.
PHOTO EXAMPLE: The FitBALL balance disc
MY SAFETY REMINDERS:
READ AND UNDERSTAND INSTRUCTIONS FOR USAGE OF ANY PIECE OF EQUIPMENT. STAY WITHIN THEM AND DON’T USE THE EQUIPMENT OUTSIDE OF ITS RECOMMENDED USE. IF YOU HAVE DIZZINESS OR BALANCE ISSUES, CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR AND / OR TRAINER FAMILIAR WITH YOUR CONDITION AND CAPABILITIES ABOUT THE ADVISABILITY OF USING ANY PRODUCT THAT CHALLENGES BALANCE AND STABILITY MUSCLES AND STRUCTURES. EXERCISE CAUTION AND COMMON SENSE. HAVE A SAFE BACKUP METHOD, SPOTTER OR PHYSICAL SAFETY AID TO RECOVER FROM LOSS OF BALANCE.
See Also: ALL MANUFACTURER’S and / or SELLER’S disclaimers, instructions, recommendations and warnings for inflation, use and maintenance.
Some ideas and Guidelines:
The way I work on the balance disc depends on my sense of feel in the moment but generally begins with a need to loosen, warm up and strengthen the muscles, stabilizers and connective tissues surrounding my knees, ankles and my feet. It can come before and after other training. It can be a focused form of training all in itself, not just a warm up or after training stretch.
I start by standing on the disc for intervals of time. I use it on one foot, both feet, and or one knee or both knees. Some will use it in chairs to improve circulation and core muscles while sitting. I try to increase the amount of time I stay on the disc, whether still and in control, or wobbling, adjusting, shaking or losing my stance and stepping off. I go for symmetry in time training both sides.
This functional training device may not be for everyone, but I have personally found it helps to gradually work and loosen lower body muscles and connectors that can become tight, inflexible and glued-up throughout the lower body.