A Case for the Single-Limb Balance

They’re a challenging way to build strength and confidence.

While it’s good to feel grounded on your own two feet (or hands), lifting a leg up can kick all of your ab and back muscles into overdrive—it’s an effort to regain stability. And the action pays off, improving core strength and boosting overall balance. 

For one, when incorporated into a warm-up, instability can help ‘prime’ the body without fatiguing it, says Alex Zimmerman, director of Equinox’s Tier X program. It can also introduce a variability, allowing you to challenge brain and body. “It is a skill in and of itself,” Zimmerman says. “It can allow you to develop a greater overall movement toolbox.”

The following arm and leg balances require a solid amount of strength and stability to execute. Start slowly and smartly. Try to incorporate one or two into your regular routine each week.