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?
Thank you all. I’m very pleased with the excellent responses. It’s great to hear that so many trainers are not afraid to add variety when possible. I’ve mainly been working with clients that want to improve body composition, and I want to make sure I’m using the SAID principal(specific adaptation to imposed demands). Now I have a better idea of when to incorporate balance training. I really enjoy the Bosu myself but I like to ensure the effectiveness of exercises so that I am practicing client-centered training.
A follow up to this answer that is a little more focused.
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 .
IMO, balance is a critical component of fitness that we don’t spend enough time working on with our clients. We don’t need to be hopping on one foot on a BOSU with our eyes closed while someone throws dumbells at us in order to have an effective balance program. Michol Dalcourt did a nice lecture on this, where he talked about putting a client in a safe position make a mistake, then they cab learn about body awareness, proprioception, and how to move better within those constraints. For that reason, I keep my balance challenges with a low risk of injury but an opportunity for clients to make and learn from mistakes.
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.