Movement Monday: The Balance Beam
Jessica asks: Can you talk about the balance beam, the thing we all love to hate?
What a silly tool that can teach us so much. The balance beam is a new piece of equipment we have here at RD and we've had a lot of "fun" with it.
Having members walk, kneel and crawl on it has been eye opening for everyone! Check out the 3 ways we've been helping members improve their movement on this week's Movement Monday.
When I first saw this question I thought about Grey Cook. He'll regularly remind coaches to put clients in a position to feel what you’re trying to teach them instead of just barking at them. As a coach, this is an effective way to create better movement and repeatable execution. If the person knows what they should be feeling for, they’re more likely to find that position when they’re in a session with another coach who may not be familiar with their process.
With that in mind, we’re using the balance beam to teach your body something. Recently we’ve used it for: Creating better spinal alignment, balance on the foot, finding breath while moving.
Crawling on the balance beam has been our way to help engrain better spinal position. When we challenge people just to stay on the beam and breathe, it’s very interesting that a lot of them find it as soon as all four limbs are off of the ground. To stay on the beam, better core posture is important and magically that makes their posture improve. When they go back to squat or swing, things look better!
We’ve also used the balance beam recently the help people breathe and move. Again, looking at the squat, breath is a serious component that's missing for a lot of people. Having a torso full of breath at the bottom reenforces spinal integrity making the bottom of the squat safer and stronger. With me for example, my squat is repeatable, but at times I forget to breathe when I get too focused on the movement. Walking laterally on a balance beam holding a weight in goblet and just focusing on breath made the breath come more easily to the bottom of the squat.
Obviously, the last thing would be the most obvious thing, the balance beam helps people find... wait for it... better balance. One of the biggest reasons we think this works is because it forces the individual to slow down! When we go fast, especially while walking, we use our momentum to keep us stable, similar to riding a bike. Instead of a coach yelling “GO SLOWER,” we put the person on the balance beam. This puts them in an environment to slow down and find their balance.