Your normal, run of the mill, polo shirt wearing, bosu ball squatting, commercial gym trainer probably won’t ever tell you this, but you can actually train a different set of muscles to improve your balance so that you can train your primary balancing muscles to improve your balance.

Now, that seems like a lot. Having strong glutes is vital for having better balance. But there’s another key to having better balance. And that key is your vestibular system, which controls your balance. The short story is that your vestibular system sends signals to the parts of your brain that control your eye movements. Not only that, but it aids in your movement by orienting you to your surroundings so that you can move among them.

With that in mind, there are some things you can do to aid in your training that will help your balance, which will allow you to train your glutes in a smarter way, and yield a more positive outcome. In short, you’ll develop a positive feedback loop of better balance, and better training as a result.

 

The Eyes Have It

Your eyes have six muscles that control your eyes along three different lines of movement. You have the vertical, horizontal, and the diagonal lines of movement.

The two muscles responsible for horizontal movements are the medial rectus and lateral rectus muscles. If you’re looking straight ahead, and you move one of your eyes further away from your nose, that’s called abduction, and your lateral rectus is responsible for it.

Move that same eye close to the nose, it’s called adduction and your medial rectus muscle is responsible for it.

Next, you have the oblique eye muscles. These are on the inside of the eyes closer to the nose. And because anatomy is weird, the superior oblique muscles are actually lower and the inferior oblique muscles are actually upper, as they relate to the portion of your eye closer to the nose.

So if you’re looking straight ahead, and you look straight up, that’s your inferior oblique, and superior rectus working together to move your eye up. To look down, that’s your superior oblique and inferior rectus working to pull it down.

Finally, the oblique and rectus muscles work differently in conjunction with each other depending on the angle you’re looking down. That’s the short story about your eyes. And your eyes, vestibular system, and your proprioception (your body’s awareness of itself) work in tandem to move you through life. Literally.

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