Nearly all of the research in this search says there is either no statistical difference in effectiveness or “The diminished force output suggests that the overload stresses required for strength training necessitate the inclusion of resistance training on stable surfaces.”
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 .
Daniel, thanks for the response. I think what a lot of this is saying is regardless of trained or untrained, a lot of times the surface may be inferior.
It might even be more so for competitive athletes. The farther away from the actual surface and environment of the sport, the less specific the exercise is (the principle of specificity). Balance being task specific rather than a general skill or adaptation. Do you have some examples of the research you’re talking about?
Good insights. I think that, in general, especially for the beginner, untrained, or someone who is simply interested in achieving and maintaining balanced major muscle group strength, training on a stable surface is the best option.
For top level competitive athletes, I believe that the research suggests that training on a sport-specific unstable surface offers the advantage of enhanced balance, not strength.
Take care, Daniel
Are you suggesting that there is a general “balance” skill that is trainable and not specific to the movement and exercise, itself? Or transferable to other activities than the exercise?
The principle of specificity doesn’t seem to support that notion. I don’t mean to repeat my previous post, but this applies exactly to what we were talking about.
“A common misconception is that fundamental abilities can be trained through various drills and other activities…For example, athletes are often given various ‘quickening’ exercises, with the hope that these exercises would train some fundamental ability to be quick, allowing quicker response in their particular sport. There are two correct ways to think of these principles.
First, there is no general ability to be quick, to balance, or to use vision…Second, even if there were such general abilities, they are, by definition, genetic and not subject to modification through practice…A learner may acquire additional skill at a drill…but this learning does not transfer to the main skill of interest” (Schmidt, 1991, p. 222).”
Schmidt, R. A. (1991). Motor learning and performance: From principle to practice. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.