Self-test: Balance/Coordination


BY Team Cellucor

Table of Contents

Physical balance is often overlooked but it’s a vital aspect of fitness. Better body balance makes it easier to move and prevents injury while developing hand-eye coordination can create superior reaction times, as well as improved agility and athleticism.

Balance and coordination depend on the symphony of interaction across several organs and systems, including your eyes, ears, brain and nervous system, cardiovascular system, and muscles.

Here are four methods you can use to self-test balance and coordination. 

Stork Balance Stand Test

How it works

This assessment simply requires you to stand on one leg, ideally on a non-slip surface. You’ll need a stopwatch to time how long you can stay upright stork-style.

How to do it

Take your shoes off, place your hands on your hips, raise one leg and bring that foot against the inside knee of the supporting leg. Once you’re comfortable in that pose, raise the heel to balance on the ball of the foot and start the stopwatch. Try and stay in the position as long as you can, but halt the stopwatch if your hands come off the hips, your supporting foot moves in any direction, your non-supporting foot loses contact with the knee, or the heel of the supporting foot touches the floor. For an added element of difficulty, close your eyes. Record the best of three attempts.

What your results mean 

You want to aim to maintain balance for more than 10 seconds. An ‘average’ score is 25-39 seconds and ‘good’ is 40-50 seconds.

How to improve

It will help greatly to focus on a stationary object in front of you and get a buddy to time you as doing it yourself might be distracting. To improve your balance, try taking up ballet, yoga or tai chi classes. 

Tandem stance test

How it works 

This is a good alternative to the standing balance test and requires you to, quite literally, put your best foot forward. Persuade a friend to time you on this one.

How to do it

Stand upright and bring your right foot directly in front of your left foot so heel and big toe are touching. Flex your right foot so the toes are pointing upright, keep your hands by your side – or on your hips – and maintain the position for as long as you can, timing your efforts.

What your results mean

You want to be able to remain upright for at least 30 seconds for good balance. 

How to improve

Practice walking heel to toe on a flat area to help your coordination and balance. Wear sneakers or tennis shoes and try not to look down as you walk. Choose a spot in front to focus on. Continue as long as you can, placing one foot directly in front of the other and slowly build up to more time as you improve.

Alternate Hand Wall Toss Test

How it works 

This test measures hand-eye coordination and simply requires you to throw a tennis ball against a wall and succeed in catching it each time.

How to do it

Stand three feet away from a smooth and solid wall. Throw the ball with one arm, in an underarm action at the wall. Catch it with the opposite hand as it bounces back at you. Throw it back at the wall with that hand and catch with the opposite. Repeat. Time how many successful catches you achieve in 30 seconds.

What your results mean

You want to have 20 or more successful catches on average. To be considered ‘good’ you should have between 30 and 35 catches, and to be ‘excellent,’ more than 35. 

How to improve

Have fun by playing catch with a friend. There are also eye exercises, which can help, such as switching your focus between near and far objects or between objects to your left and right hand sides. For more sport-specific drills and suggestions based on your current abilities, ask your eye doctor or a sports vision specialist. 

Functional Reach Test

How it works 

This assesses your stability while leaning forward and reaching your arms as far forward as possible without falling. The results are measured with a yardstick/measuring tape, and ideally with the help of someone else.

How to do it

Attach a measuring tape or yardstick to a wall, parallel to the floor, at shoulder height. Face the side. Outstretch your arm so your shoulder is flexed to 90 degrees, and form a fist. Measure and record the point your middle finger knuckle reaches on the measuring device. Then, lean forward and reach along the length of the yardstick as far as you can without moving your feet. Measure and record this distance. The initial reading is subtracted from the final to obtain the functional reach score.

What your results mean 

You want to be reaching beyond 10 inches. A score of six or less needs improvement. If you’re between 20 and 40 years old, men should be able to reach to a maximum of 16.7in and women 14.6in.

How to improve 

Training your core will help here. Gaining core strength increases the stability of the pelvis and spine, which improves balance during athletic and bodybuilding movements. Try incorporating the following into your routine: Swiss ball crunches, oblique crunches, side planks, backwards and side leg raises as well as hanging leg raises.

Stretch and Hydrate

To replenish that valuable hydration you’re losing while keeping your energy up so you can power through that last mile, that last rep, or that last lap, you need a product that’s rich in not only electrolytes, but also in the amino acids you’re losing as you exercise. Cellucor BCAA Sport contains prime amounts of both BCAAs and electrolytes to help you persist and recover.


 



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