4 proprioception exercises for a better body control
When it comes to bringing the body, mind and soul together, proprioception exercises are your best friend.
Also known as kinaesthesia, proprioception is the brain’s interpretation of your body position and subconscious understanding of:
your surface area
the position of your feet
the movement of your muscles, joints and tendons.
There are smart ways to supercharge your proprioception training.
Closing your eyes during the exercises brings in your sixth sense – increased awareness of your body’s own natural position – while casting your footwear to one side and going barefoot allows the nerve endings in your feet to further encapsulate your sense of grounding.
Benefits of proprioception exercises
Proprioception exercises activate and increase core strength, increase agility and allow the body to position itself without having to look.
No need for mirrors to make sure you’re in the right position, just close your eyes, sense your balance and concentrate the body and mind’s inbuilt ability to position and exercise.
Your mind is your own personal trainer. Give these proprioception exercises a go to reap the rewards.
4 proprioception exercises
1. The Tightrope Walk (floor exercise)
Grab a bar (could be a lightweight metal bar, the shank of a broom, a fallen tree trunk, anything that’s about a meter wide or longer). No need for a mat, you want to feel the earth beneath you.
Now, imagine you’re a tightrope walker and your aim is to concentrate on your body position to stay ascended on that thin tight rope. Make sure your body is upright and your head is facing forward. You don’t need to look down – your mind and sense of positioning will tell you you’re straight.
Steadily place one foot immediately in front of the other, tiny confident steps to reassure your mind you’re walking in a straight line.
Now follow with the other foot until you’ve taken about four steps forward.
Stop. You’re going to walk backwards now. Without looking, place the front in foot behind the rear foot and take four steps back.
Concentrate at all times on the positioning of the bar. It’s natural for it to move to one side but if you were on a 50ft tight rope you would be relying on this bar to keep you balanced, safe and suspended.
Repeat this nine times backwards and forwards or practice until it’s mastered.
2. The Flamingo
Concentrate on your body alignment – stand upright and facing forward.
Raise one knee to a 90-degree angle and keep it in position for around five seconds, then slowly take that foot back to the floor.
Repeat with the other leg, doing 10 reps in total for each leg.
Tip: For those who struggle with this position you might find that leaning against a wall helps with the body positioning. For those who want to create more balance in your body, try the Flamingo without any support or leaning against the wall.
3. Single Outstretched Leg Squat
Stand with both legs slightly apart and both arms stretched out straight in front of you.
Raise one leg outwards while keeping it straight.
Bend the straight leg slightly into a comfortable position so it can support you in balance.
Keep the elevated leg off the floor for around three seconds and gently manoeuvre it back into the floor standing position.
With your feet hip-width apart, squat into position until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
As soon as you reach this position, jump directly up and as high as you can possibly stretch. Easy yeah? Not so easy. You need to concentrate on bringing your body back into the same position on descending.
Repeat another nine times or try this with your eyes closed and see where you land.