20 Best Balance Training Exercises: Why 10 Seconds Matters

February 10, 2024 / Workout
20 Best Balance Training Exercises: Why 10 Seconds Matters

Balance training refers to exercises and activities designed to improve an individual’s ability to maintain equilibrium and stability. It is an essential component of overall fitness and can benefit people of all ages and fitness levels. Good balance is crucial for everyday activities, sports performance, injury prevention, and overall well-being.

Balance training exercises target the body’s core muscles, as well as muscles in the legs and ankles, helping to improve coordination, proprioception, and overall balance. By challenging your body’s ability to maintain equilibrium, these exercises not only strengthen muscles but also enhance neuromuscular control, leading to improved stability and reduced risk of falls and injuries.

The Importance of Balance: A Vital Link to Longevity

A study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine revealed a surprising connection between balance and longevity. Analyzing data from 1,700 individuals aged 51 to 75, researchers found that the inability to stand on one leg for 10 seconds doubled the risk of premature death. Even after accounting for various factors like age and health conditions, those who failed the balance test faced an 84% higher mortality risk.

The importance of balance becomes evident as muscle strength, coordination, and other physical abilities naturally decline with age. To maintain your balance ability, it is important to exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet, and maintain your weight.

While further research is needed, it’s clear that good balance isn’t just about staying steady—it could add years to your life. So, next time you wobble, remember: it could be more than just a stumble—it might be a signal to focus on your balance for a longer, healthier life.

Single Leg Stance Test

The Single Leg Stance Test is a clinical assessment commonly used by healthcare professionals, particularly physical therapists and physicians, to evaluate balance and stability in individuals. It can help identify potential fall risks and guide the development of targeted interventions to improve balance and reduce the risk of falls.

Single Leg Stance

How to:

  1. Stand on a flat surface without shoes.
  2. Lift one foot off the ground and balance on the other leg.
  3. Keep your eyes open and fixed on a point ahead.
  4. Time how long you can balance without touching down or losing stability.
  5. Repeat on the other leg.
  6. Record the duration for each leg.
  7. Longer times indicate better balance.

Normative values

AgeEyes openEyes closed
18-3943 seconds9 seconds
40-4940 seconds7 seconds
50-5937 seconds4,8 seconds
60-6926.9 seconds2.8 seconds
70-7918.3 seconds2 seconds
80-995.6 seconds1 seconds

These scores represent the average durations individuals in each age group should be able to maintain balance during the Single Leg Stance Test with eyes open and closed (1). They serve as benchmarks for assessing balance and stability, with longer times generally indicating better performance. However, individual results may vary based on factors such as fitness level, health conditions, and previous injuries.

Effective Exercises for Your Balance Training

Incorporating these balance training exercises into your routine can lead to overall improvements in strength, stability, coordination, and functional fitness. As with any exercise program, it’s essential to perform them with proper form and gradually progress the intensity to avoid injury and maximize benefits.

Run in Place: (2 x 10 seconds)

Run in Place Exercise

Targets: Leg muscles (quadriceps, hamstrings, calves)

Benefits: This basic exercise serves as an excellent introduction to balance training, facilitating the transition between feet. Moreover, its dynamic structure increases heart rate and calorie consumption, improves cardiovascular fitness and increases leg strength and endurance.

How to: Lift your knees high while staying in one spot, mimicking the motion of running. Focus on maintaining good posture and engaging your core for balance.

Standing Knee Hugs: (10 Reps for each leg)


Targets: Hip flexors, iliopsoas, rectus femoris, sartorius and hamstring

Benefits: By lifting one knee at a time while standing on the opposite leg, standing knee hugs challenge your balance and stability, helping to strengthen the muscles involved in maintaining an upright posture.

How to: Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart. Lift your right knee toward your chest using both hands to pull it in gently. Hold the position for a few seconds, feeling a stretch in your hip flexors and lower back. Release your right leg and repeat the movement with your left knee.

Elbow to Knee Twist: (10 Reps for each leg)

Elbow To Knee Twists

Targets: Leg, core muscles, obliques

Benefits: Improves core strength and stability, enhances rotational mobility in the spine, challenges balance and coordination.

How to: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your hands bent next to your head. Lift your right knee towards your chest while twisting your torso to bring your left elbow towards your right knee. Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.

Lateral Leg Raise: (10 Reps for each leg)

Lateral Leg Swings

Targets: Gluteus medius and minimus, tensor fasciae latae, hip stabilizers

Benefits: Performing lateral leg raises requires core engagement and balance to keep the body stable while lifting the leg to the side, making it an effective exercise for improving balance and coordination.

How to: Stand tall with feet hip-width apart. Lift opposite leg out to the side, maintaining control. Slowly lower leg back down. Repeat for desired reps, then switch sides.

If you find it challenging to balance on one leg, you can perform the exercise near a wall or sturdy object and lightly touch it for support as needed.

Standing Leg Circles: (10 seconds per leg)

Standing Leg Circles

Targets: Hip abductors, glutes, quadriceps, core stabilizers

Benefits: Enhances hip stability and mobility, strengthens leg muscles, improves balance and proprioception.

How to: Stand tall, lift one leg off the ground, and make circles with that leg, controlling the movement and maintaining balance. Switch legs and repeat.

You can do the exercise next to a chair or wall and gently touch it for support when needed.

Calf Raise: (2 x 10 reps)

Squat Hold Calf Raise

Targets: Soleus and gastrocnemius muscles (calf muscles)

Benefits: Strengthens the calf muscles, improving lower leg stability and balance. Helps to improve posture and overall lower body alignment. Can be performed anywhere with little to no equipment, making it a convenient exercise for building balance and strength.

How to: Begin in a squat position with feet shoulder-width apart. Lift your heels off the ground by pushing through the balls of your feet. Hold at the top for a moment, then lower heels back down.

Walking High Knee Lunges: (2 x 10 step)

Walking High Knee Lunges

Targets: Quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, core muscles

Benefits: Beneficial for your balance training, this exercise strengthens lower body muscles, improves balance and coordination, increases hip flexibility, improves cardiovascular fitness.

How to: Perform a lunge while bringing your opposite knee towards your chest with each step. This exercise challenges balance, coordination, and strength.

Curtsy Squat: (2 x 10 Reps)

Curtsey Squat

Targets: Glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, adductors

Benefits: Builds strength and muscle tone in the lower body, improves hip mobility and stability, challenges balance and coordination.

How to: Stand with feet hip-width apart, then step one foot diagonally behind the other, lowering into a squat. Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.

Lateral Step: (10 Reps per leg)

Lateral Step-up

Targets: Quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, calf muscles, stabilizing muscles

Benefits: Builds strength in the lower body, particularly in the lateral muscles, improves balance and stability, enhances functional movement patterns.

How to: Using a step or platform, step laterally onto the platform with one foot, then bring the other foot to meet it. Step back down and repeat on the other side.

Bulgarian Squat: (10 Reps per leg)

Bodyweight Bulgarian Split Squat

Targets: Quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, calf muscles, stabilizing muscles

Benefits: Highly effective for your balance training, this unilateral exercise improves balance and stability by strengthening the legs individually, increases flexibility in the hip flexors, and challenges the core muscles.

How to: Stand facing away from a bench or elevated surface, with one foot resting on it behind you. Lower into a squat position with the front leg while keeping the back leg elevated. Return to the starting position and repeat.

Note: Balance training involves working not only the lower body muscles but also the upper body muscles and strengthening the core muscles. Here’s a step-by-step guide to building a strong core.

Advanced Exercises For Balance Training

These advanced exercises require significant strength, coordination, and balance to perform correctly and safely. They can be effective for improving athletic performance, enhancing overall stability, and challenging your fitness level. Ensure proper form and start with lighter resistance or modifications if needed before progressing to more challenging variations.

power lunge
Power Lunge
Skater Squat
Skater Lunge
Single Leg Broad Jump
Single Leg Broad Jump
exercises for losing weight
Bulgarian Jump Squat
Bulgarian Split Squat Jump
Pistol Squat
Pistol Squat
Box Jump 2 to 1
Box Jump 2 to1
Single Leg Box Jump
Single Leg Box Jump
High Knee Lunge on Bosu Ball
High Knee Lunge On Bosu Ball
Kettlebell Single Leg Deadlift
Single Leg deadlift


It’s important to start balance training gradually, especially if you’re new to it or have any existing health concerns. Progressively increase the difficulty and intensity of exercises as your balance improves. Additionally, always prioritize safety by using proper form, wearing appropriate footwear, and having a stable surface nearby for support if needed. If you have specific health concerns or conditions, consult with a healthcare professional or certified trainer before starting any new exercise program, including balance training.

Posted by
Alexandra Botez
As a Certified Personal Trainer through the American Council on Exercise (ACE), Alexandra's professional mission is to provide effective training and empower individuals to lead healthier, happier lives. She believes that everyone has the potential to lead a healthier, happier life, and she strives to unlock that potential in each person she works with.