Posture, balance and overall control of the body are valuable features of an excellent physical condition. Usually, gymnastic and strength exercises like the side scale can play a worthy role in building up the hip strength and core control to achieve the features mentioned above. Here is all you need to know about this exercise.
- The side scale is a static strength exercise that challenges posture, balance and control.
- It has long been a foundation movement in gymnastics but can be hugely beneficial in developing high levels of hip strength and stability. These can later improve your exercise performance and reduce the risk of injury.
- Stand with feet together and arms by the side.
- Take the arms out to a horizontal position, slightly in front of your body (for balance). Engage the core slightly and set the shoulders.
- Keeping the core contracted, slowly raise one leg out to the side as high as possible. Hold for 5 seconds while balancing.
- Slowly return and repeat on the other leg.
- Continue for desired reps or time.
- Balance training has long been an essential component of gymnastics, dance, martial arts and yoga, to name a few. While these activities demand a higher level of balance than most gym exercises, anyone who regularly exercises or plays sport will benefit hugely from even a small improvement in balance.
- In simple terms, control of balance happens all the time. From sitting on a stool to running a 10K, we are always (unconsciously controlling balance to stay upright. During exercise, we need to control balance quickly and often during high levels of fatigue, therefore having a ‘little extra balance’ as a buffer may significantly enhance performance.
- The scale exercises (front, side and back) offer hip strength/stability in all planes of motion while standing on one leg. With the side scale, the primary focus is on hip abduction – often a weak link in many people. Stable and robust hip abductors help to stabilise the body during squatting, bending, lifting and overhead movements. In fact, any (loaded) upright movement is dependent on strong hip muscles for stabilisation and efficient force transfer from the ground up. The side scale is one of many exercises that can be programmed into warm-ups and workouts.
- To develop bullet-proof hip strength and stability, try the following ideas: superset the front, side and back scale exercises as part of a warm-up. Use the side scale as an active recovery in between weight training. Even add side scales immediately after a high-intensity cardio exercise – to train balance under fatigue.