Which Of Your Client Use a Balance Training Device
There is ongoing debate about the purpose of stability training devices. Tell us about your experience with wobble boards, Bosu trainers and stability disks. Did you experience improvements in fitness that were reflected in your/your client's everyday function? Should these devices be used by everyone?
Well written review of exercise science dealing with stability devices.
"Balance training, along with other "neuromuscular" exercise such as jumping and agility drills, can reduce injury risk in sports such as soccer, basketball and volleyball. There's also some evidence that simple balancing drills can reduce the risk of falls in older people."
It is in this context, as well as some of my work with the elderly that I've found the most utility and carry-over effect. This is an interesting topic - thanks for bringing it up!
I use the BOSU, a balance disc and stability ball with most of my clients. That said I do it more for exercise variety, fun and mental challenge rather than believing the skill will transfer. My clients are all 50 and older, and we do a lot of balance and reactive drills standing on a level surface. They certainly do nothing extreme on the balance "toys", but it does add fun and variety to their training.
I think it's great that we have access to so many different fitness modalities!
I don't believe they are for everyone, it mainly depends on the goal of the client.
I also work with a lot of runners. We use balance training to strengthen the ankle. As one runs from one leg to the other, out on trails or the road, runners deal constantly with changing surfaces and conditions. Balance training helps to prepare them for these encounters in a safe environment
I've also used it to add a bit of a challenge to my well conditioned clients. Fallls contribute to numberous injuries each year, some that eventually lead to other complications and death. By training the body to work on an unstable surface, they're already conditioned to handle changing surfaces and less likely to fall. I've had numberous clients who have come to me saying "I'm such a clutz." or "I have no coordination." One of the first things they recognize, is that they're not tripping as much as they used to before initiating a training program. They see the results for themselves.
Training on unstable surfaces is very limited in the real world applications. How often do you find yourself on an unstable surface while moving a load other than yourself? Maybe carrying objects on a loose stone/sand surface? There is application of stability training for fitness. But it does not involve getting on an unstable surface. While using a bosu (and never using the deck,that is just an accident waiting to happen) or other inflatable or balance board etc. can help to increase reactive balance and stabiity, it is not wise to use such equipment under any actual load. (As an extreme example, loaded squats on a bosu. Why?)
I teach CEC courses called "Stability Resistance Training" that I like to think is very cutting edge and informative. So called stability equipment is discussed and the limitations/potential safe uses are covered. But the bulk of the courses cover training the stability system in a very sound science based program. As in all forms of exercise; proper initiation, progression, and regression cannot be compromised. Unfortunately, these considerations are neglected by a large number of instructors and exercisers.
Interested instructors can contact me through my profile or website, www.hawaiifitnessacademy.com .
I use a variety of unstable surfaces for training classes and clients. I have clients who need to be reactive quickly, i.e. to not fall off a stand-up paddle board, to not get pulled over by an 80 pound dog, to not fall on ice, not to slip on wet stairs while carrying bags of groceries.
Lately, I've enjoyed incorporating lunges and one legged balances on an air-ex pad. Very simple movements to ensure proper recruitment, engagement, and balance.