Mark Ellis wrote:So I asked my trainer if it is possible to improve balance. He said, of course. You can improve any skill you possess.
Babies develop balance. It is hard to believe that at some point your balance becomes static. We know balance can become worse. Why could it not also become better?
Some people have superb balance. How did they get it if not by training and practice?
Two Scoops wrote:Well, this is just my opinion. I'm okay if no one agrees with me, but in an attempt to clarify my point:
When I say "trainable" I'm talking about being able to increase a capacity, or raising a threshold. Strength and endurance, for example, are highly trainable. Take a weak person and put him on a good strength training program and they will gradually increase their strength threshold, i.e., he will get stronger in the specific training movements and this will transfer over into every day activities. (I also argue that strength is a skill in itself that must be practiced, but that's a whole other conversation.) Likewise, take a couch potato and have him run hill sprints a few times a week and cardiovascular endurance will improve, there will be carryover into other real world activities, and his endurance threshold will rise, not indefinitely of course, but it will rise substantially in any untrained person.
Balance is more like handedness. If you're ambidextrous, you're gifted. Most of us are right or lefty, and that's pretty much it. You can't train your way into being lefty if your righty. You can practice a whole set of movements and skills, and improve your dexterity with your off hand, but you're not going to raise the threshold of your handedness.
My central point in the last post was that I don't see the value in spending a lot of time or energy on training balance since the benefits are realized very quickly. Train balance to the point you demonstrate competency in the movements you're interested in and then do occasional maintenance to preserve the competency. Spend the other time training things that can actually improve, or are more susceptible to erosion, like strength, endurance and flexibility.
A final point, athletes with superb balance do spend a lot of time "training" balance, but it is more accurately described as practicing balance. They are completive in sports that require balance because they had good balance to start with, and they are honing that balance in practice. They did not develop that balance with drills, etc. I'm reminded of how many people, coaches even, will make the argument about the value of sprinting on body composition by saying, "Look at an elite sprinter's body, then look at an elite marathoner's body, which body do you want... the sprinter's?... then sprint!" I say "bull pucky." Elite sprinters are elite sprinters because they have a lot of fast twitch muscle which is good for sprinting, and which is why they look the way they do. Their bodies chose their sport, their sport did not choose their body.
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