Balance + Flexibility


Jan 1, 2001
Outside Magazine

WANT TO AMAZE YOUR friends with feats of coordination they never thought possible (by you)? Want to rip the slopes? Then try the following exercises. The easiest is first, leading to the most difficult. Each is geared toward a specific sport, but all are excellent for general conditioning. Work them into your established routine or, for complete functional-training regimens, see,, or

Windmill with Medicine Ball
Clear your mind. Now stand on the right side of a line marked on the floor. Begin crouched in squat position with the medicine ball in both hands, held to your left side. Jump over the line, swing the ball over your head, and finish with the ball on your right side. Try one set of eight to ten reps; work up to three sets. For mogul hounds and freeriders.

Squats on Rocker Board

Stand with your feet apart, near the outer edges of the board. Now perform squats, at reduced or no weight. Once this seems easy, alternate the rocker bar alignment from front-to-back to side-to-side. Add one set of ten to your regular squat routine. You'll soon dazzle your friends on technical mountain-bike trails.

Paddle with Tubing and Swiss Ball
Hook the middle of a two-handled, four-foot length of tubing to a door or heavy object (like a Nautilus machine) at navel height. Thread a pole through the handles, and grip it like a kayak paddle. Now sit balanced on a Swiss ball with your legs extended and toes pointed. Keeping your abdominal muscles tight, lean back and mock a gentle paddling movement. Do three sets of 30 seconds each. You can also try it facing the other way so that the resistance is coming from behind. It's Class IV whitewater in your very own living room!

Rotations on Wobble Board
Standing with your feet balanced near the outer edges of the board, dip one edge to the floor and then slowly draw a circle going clockwise for one minute without stopping; now go the other way. Advanced: Try it standing on one leg in the center of the board (if you can't balance at first, put your other foot on the ground behind you). Advanced plus: Try it on weeble boards—mini-wobble boards for each leg.Hey, runners, no more weak ankles!

Lunges on Bongo Board
While standing on a Bongo Board (like a skateboard with a rolling spindle underneath), turn so your feet are parallel to the length of the board. Lunge forward while shifting your weight to the front leg (the spindle will roll forward); don't let the end of the board touch down. Pivot so your feet are perpendicular to length of the board, then pivot again so that you're facing the opposite end of the board, and lunge on the other leg. Do ten reps on each leg. The lunge is quite difficult; attempt only with extra caution. But for ambitious surfers, snowboarders, and skateboarders, this is where enlightenment awaits.

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