T Nation

Ab Trend?

Wow…there really appears to a trend to do a lot of ab training using a Swiss Ball. The idea of improving core strengh, by utilizing various ab muscles as stabilizers (which the Swiss Ball appears to force one to do)isn’t too far fetched.


What do you think? The “trend of the moment” or something to look seriously at? I say that it SEEMS pretty legit.

This “trend of the moment” has been something I’ve been using since '97. I have a fitball at home and like to use it often for ab work, among other things.

Mufasa, it is a legitimate training tool.

I believe the advantage of swiss ball is increased range of motion and muscle stretch, if used properly with full extension in the negative or backwards extension of the movement. I believe it has been demonstrated that a movement over an increased range of motion will result in superior growth and strength gains. Of course, there is also the carry over effect of balance and spine stabalization. I dont’t use a swiss ball but do weighted resistance crunches in a chair allowing backward arch and increased range of motion. I’ve been using the chair for couple years now and have noticed my abs gained a lot of strength and definition since then.

I went to a 3-day “fitness” event and Paul Chek was holding a seminar over fitball training. Amazing stuff. Sit on top of the ball - on your knees - and have someone throw you a med ball with you trying to catch it and throw it back. You wanna talk about balance and core strength? I have several of Paul Chek’s videos on fitball training. Lot’s of good information.

In a Question of Power column Ian King wrote about this. He said with every fad, people usually go to extremes & either not use it at all saying it’s stupid, or they go nuts & use it way too much, like the swiss ball. He said it’s really useful, but be careful to not overuse it.

I like my swiss ball but now only use it for sitting after my “unburstable” ball burst suddenly while I was doing a superman (arms and legs extended) on a ball. I’m glad I wasn’t doing squats on the ball at the time or I would likely have ripped a knee ligament. When the ball bursts, it is incredibly sudden…

I think the whole “training muscles as stabilizers” is hooey. True, some stabilize, but not anymore with a ball then they do fighting to keep you from falling down or over.

it has its uses. i use it for some ab work and some stabilizer work. i think it is overrated though. i’ve seen some “strength” coaches reccommend some pretty silly things to do with a swiss ball. i think some coaches just try to come up with odd things to ne different and “innovative” there was a training article in mm (i think or maybe something on tv) and i think it reccommended doing curls kneeling on a swiss ball for several weeks. i doubt that would build significant core strength (unless you have none to begin with) nor would you be able to use significant weight on the curls.

The “one more thing” was also from me.

And I use the fitball and have used it in conjunction with my martial arts training. It's not a good tool for pure strength development. But, I believe at a cost of what, $45, it is a nice investment to introduce options for your training. Plus, it'll give you something to do as your watching the TV (which is what I do).

I like the convenience of the Swiss Ball for home use. I go through stages where I do a lot of swiss ball ab work and then switch to cable crunches, Nautilus crunches and decline bench work. It is a great tool for ab work. It can get overused though. Check out Clark Bartram’s “Shoulder Training” article is the newest issue of Musclemedia (I think you mentioned that you still get most of the mags in another post). Is his swiss ball one arm shoulder press with one leg elevated exercise really worth doing? Personally, I’d rather do heavy DB presses followed by some oblique crunches on the swiss ball rather than trying to do everything in one motion.

I’d say it’s a useful device. I especially like the way it tends to conform to the spine and stretches the abdominal wall during a lot of the exercises. What really pisses me off though is seeing people trying to do entire workouts on the swiss ball as if it was the end all/be all of training

IMHO they are good as part of your training, I use them for some abs, stretch and balance drills, never combine with weights. As some have stated they shouldn’t be the be all and end all, I see some trainers who have people doing almost their whole routine using them, to me that is over the top. I always look for the Paul Chek certified ones as I have read some horror stories about cheaper models bursting.

It is great for some serious sex olympics. Espcially if she complains about knee sores. With these things her knees will not touch the ground. They can be a lot of fun. oh and I guess they are good for working out too. Especially nice if she is short and you are tall.

It’s a great tool if you know how to use it, but for most people in the gym I think it is a trnd gadget that will soon be forgotten.

Its a good tool that can and often is vastly overused.
It has its place. King, Bompa and Siff are only against the EXCESSIVE use of it.

Train with swiss balls or go home. Medicine balls training is also awesome and hanging leg raises done the CORRECT way is very effective. Wood chops and having two people back to back and turning around handing off a medicine ball and then turning the other way and meeting the other person and repeating are excellent for training obliques. All ab machines, roller devices should be taken to a garbage dump. Also that little wheel thing with the handles on the side is awesome as well. Read some ab articles on here. You will see every exercise I just recommend on here. Peace

Swiss Ball/Phyiso-Ball, whatever you want to call it has a time and place for it. Most people utilze it the wrong way. I think it should be incorporated in your work-out so long as you do it the right way. And that you got the basics down first.

Basic movement should be used while incorprating the phiso-ball is a great idea…

Core training, stabilization training, hahahahahahaha, good one. Opposed to what? Swiss ball prvides increased ROM. When you deadlift, Military press, walk, squat, lunge, hell even triceps kickback, you fire your trunk to stabilize as much as wobble board on a swiss ball in strong wind while yodeling training.

The only real sports i can see it as good for is gymnastics and sprint kyaking. Tudor Bompa said of all the sports, he would only use it womens gymnastics. i think its mainly a bodybuilding, and maybe a rehap tool. a waste of time for martial arts training, in my opinion.

Jay…I’m missing your argument. If the Swiss Balls a) Increase ROM and b)in fact stimulate trunk muscles while doing certain ab exercises, then they appear to be a legitimate addition to our arsenal. I most certainly agree that their use by some has started to border on the rediculous, but overall they appear to be a valid TOOL…and that’s all…