What Helps Strengthen Your Center of Gravity?
Your center of gravity is "the point at which the entire weight of a body may be considered as concentrated," as defined by Merriam-Webster. Specific exercises can improve your ability to maintain your center of gravity. Most sports, including football, hockey and soccer, require this skill to be successful; without a strong center of gravity, athletes in these sports can easily be knocked out of position. To strengthen your center of gravity, try balance exercises, stability ball exercises, squatting exercises and plank reach exercises.
Although very simple, balance exercises can greatly strengthen your center of gravity. Any exercise that is done on one leg can be considered a balance exercise. Standing on one leg will improve your body's ability to center its mass over one leg. For a more specific routine, try standing on one leg and moving the other leg in front, next to and behind you without touching it to the ground. If that is too easy, do the same thing while closing your eyes. Repeat 10 times on each leg, and do your best to maintain your balance throughout.
Stability Ball Exercises
The instability created by an exercise ball can greatly improve your center of gravity. Any exercise normally done on a bench can be done on a ball to help train your center of gravity. For example, take a dumbbell chest press from the bench to the ball to work on your center of gravity. To focus directly on improving your center of gravity, while sitting upright on the ball, lift one leg off the ground and maintain your balance. Alternate legs 15 times each. For more of a challenge, lie on your back on the ball and try to hold one leg in the air and balance.
Squats can greatly increase the strength of your legs, and thus improve your muscles' ability to maintain your center of gravity. Standard squats with a barbell or dumbbells can accomplish this. Make sure to squat back as if you were sitting into a chair, keeping your weight on your heels. Do three sets of 10 squats. Over time, this will result in increased leg strength and ability to maintain your center. For a more challenging exercise, try one-leg squats. No weight is necessary; simply squat down to a bench on one leg, and then stand back up on one leg.
Plank Reach Exercises
To work the muscles in your core that are directly related to your center of gravity, try plank reaches. From a standard plank position, reach one arm in front of you in the air, set it down and then repeat with the other arm. Try 10 reaches on each side. You can also try sideways reaches, leg reaches up or even rotational leg kicks. Whichever reach you do, your core muscles will be activating to maintain your balance and center of gravity.
- ACE Fitness: Vertical Core Training: Get Your Clients Off the Mat
- ACSM’s Resource Manual for Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription, 5th edition; Leonard A. Kaminsky
- Athletic Body in Balance; Gray Cook
- NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training; Michael A. Clark
- Merriam-Webster: Center of Gravity
Scotty Brunning is a Chicago-based health and fitness writer. Having worked with the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Cooper Fitness Center in Dallas, he has a plethora of fitness experience. He is an ACSM-certified health fitness specialist and a Cooper Institute master fitness specialist. Brunning holds a master's degree in health and fitness.