The book Balance is Power written by Jim Klopman by Janet Miller is a great read for someone looking to start a balance training program or someone who want to get a deeper understanding of balance training.
Below I will list some of the topics covered in the book and add a bit to it.
Some of the Topics covered in book
What is balance training, and the science of balance training?
The authors go on to explain how the balance system in the human body works and how balance training improves your balance.
Balance training for improved sports performance.
The authors bought up an interesting point that an improvement to your balance will improve your coordination and agility, and by improving your coordination and agility you will see improvement in your sport.
The authors go into much greater detail about this idea in the book, I think this chapter alone would be worth purchasing the book for any athletes looking to improve in their sport.
Balancing training for fall prevention.
A big part of the books explains how a high percentage of the elderly have experienced falls that lead to broken bones or worse from a lack of balance skills and how this can be prevented by balance training. (with the aid of a physical therapist)
Balance training for cognitive function.
The part of the book I found the most interesting was learning how balance training had positive effects on brain health. The authors present some research that suggests that balance training can help with the recovery from concussions and traumatic brain injury's as well as help ease some of the symptoms of ADD.
The balance training program
In the last few chapters of the book, the authors lay out a beginning, intermediate and advanced balance training program.
The 3 programs consist of the same progressively challenging body weight movements. Increasing the challenge to you balance is done by changing the type of surface the movements are done on.
The beginner program does not require any special equipment and can be done on any smooth surface.
The intermediate program is the same movements done in the beginning program but done on a balance cushion.
A balance pad is basically a block of foam and is a low-cost piece of equipment that will help provide more instability under your feet thus making the body weight balance drills more challenging.
The advanced program requires the use of a slackline or indoor slackline to make the same movements done in the beginner and intermediate programs even more challenging.
Are these programs right for you?
I really like the programs the author lays out in this book because they focus on improving your balance while trying to minimums the risk of injuries from hard falls in the process.
This makes me think the programs in this books would be best for beginners to balance training, athletes looking for a way to balance train but are afraid of sustaining an injury that will put them out of their sport, middle aged people looking to maintain and improve their balance as they age and the elderly as long as they are being supervised.
I think people already into board sports would find the beginner and intermediate program too easy but would benefit from the advanced program of balance training on a slackline. The only problem with that is, it is much easier to balance train with a balance board because you don't have to set anything up and balance boards are much cheaper then indoor slacklines. Regardless of this, the book would still be a good read because it offers a lot good information on balance training
You can find out more about balance training and some balance training products such as the slackbow (an indoor slackline) offered by Jim Klopman at http://www.slackbow.com/
Have you noticed an improved performance in your sport or experienced any positive changes to your cogitative function due to balance training? I would like to hear your experience, please post below.