Survey Says! (cont.)

THE DRIVE TO STABILIZE
THE TREND In addition to strength, cardio, and flexibility, athletes are adding more BALANCE WORKOUTS to their fitness regimens. "People can do a lot of things at once with a balance workout," says Kristi Molinaro, an instructor at both Crunch Fitness and Equinox in New York City. "They strengthen their core muscles as well as their stabilizers, the muscles that keep your ankles, knees, hips, and torso upright." Working on balance has become a cause unto itself, and balance-training classes are springing up all over the country. The most popular use the BOSU Balance Trainer. "More than 1,700 health clubs in the U.S. now offer BOSU classes," says David Weck, the San Diego–based inventor of the device—basically a rubber dome attached to a wooden platform—which is used in everything from abs classes to Pilates workouts. "Instructors are creating balance programs for every level and type of athlete."

WHAT'S IN IT FOR YOU Balance is key to all sports, whether you're paddling Class V whitewater, running down a steep section of trail, or lifting your tennis racket for an overhead smash. Any BOSU exercise—from sit-ups to one-legged squats to push-ups—strengthens the joint muscles that keep you stable.

GET STARTED Learning balance is easy: Start by standing on one leg, then bending over to touch the ground and standing back up. Repeat ten times and then switch legs for another ten reps. If you want to ramp up your learning curve, find a class. BOSU maintains a database of health clubs offering balance sessions on its Web site. Or buy your own BOSU ($130) and create a total-body workout with help from a BOSU instructional video. (800-321-9236, www.bosu.com)

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