T Nation

Balance Training Part Deux

Due to the complaints of a few not being able to post on the DP thread “Balance Training” I am posting another thread here on the regular T/N forum for eveyrone to give there 2 cents. Should have done that right away but nevertheless…have at it…,

Check the photo forum thread, DP thread, and anti-DP thread on the Renegade forum posted by invisible to get a brief background on what’s been discussed.

The debate on balance training was an interesting read to say the least and all made some good and not so good points. Here’s another point worth considering.

Balance training used as injury prevention. Just say you train balance on a wobble board. Your stabilising muscles are constantly being worked and improvimg in theie abilities…I think we would all agree on this. However, don’t forget that the neural pathways that activate these reactions to an unstable or unwanted movement are also being improved. The speed that you react to an unstable condition during sport such as landing on another person’s foot when bringing down a rebound or receiving a pass from a quarterback will be better and therefore enable you to lesson the effect/likelihood of spraining or breaking you ankle…

Just a theory but one that has worked since I introduced it into my football teams training the injury rate has dropped…

stucross now why does your theroy work because I done a squat w/ weights on a regular surface and felt it in my quads, hamstrings, and gluetes. But when I did on the Indo board barely made it w/ just my bodyweight I felt it in places that I didn’t even know muscles existed there.


  1. Balance training is only applicable to a very few select athletes. Only sports where the surface is unstable would training on balance equipment might be useful. But how many sports have an unstable surface?

  2. Balance training has NO benefits for your normal bodybuilder or general fitness person. They don’t need this type of balance. And don’t give me the “core” talk. I’ve heard it 100 times before.

  3. Balance training requires you to lower the load severely. Never will you be able to use as much weight if you’re standing on an indo board or Swiss ball or whatever. You’re sacrificing strength & muscle for “balance”. I’d arguer you’re not even working “balance” so essentially you’re accomplishing nothing except using lower weights.

  4. Balance training, if used, should be very minimal. I would venture to say less than 10% out of the year during less intense phases where the goal was to maintain.

  5. There are plenty of exercises you can do that strengthen the core & stability without an unstable surface. So my question is, why not do those?


Well…

#1. Balance not important? maybe not in chess or professional nose picking but how could sports that require movement of just about any kind NOT require “better” balance? Yes, surfing, skiing, boarding and perhaps “Wheeled” sports would benefit more but to say that football, hockey etc would see none? Maybe think about it this way, in Football it’s the CONTACT that make things unstable and in Hockey it’s the ice/skates AND the contact…better? Further…need “Balance” in Judo? Karate? Hard/Stable mat but the movements and the contact make the PARTICIPANT unstable…yes? No?

#2. Right. Although many people do go on and on about that “core” stuff, I believe that lifting heavy things and some ab work make that happen to an adequate level.

#3. It’s not about the squat, it’s about the effort required to BALANCE!. You could wear an X-Vest, hold dumbs or heck, keep your pockets full of change. Remember, it’s NOT the squat, it’s the BALANCE! “Not even working balance”? you must mean something else because this statement makes no sense, I must be thick or something

#4. Right again (I don’t do any)

#5. You could.

See now THIS is a nice civilized discussion, one that ADDS to the forum instead of TAKES from it. Thanks for posting this here Machine (I still think you’re wrong…:slight_smile:

“Balance is beautiful”

~ Miyoko Ohno

Okay I look at stuff like this a couple of ways:
Exercises like those illustrated by jpfitness in the photo forum are supposed to:
a) Enhance balance
b) Increase the use of ?stabilizer? muscles
c) Be fun?

a) Im positive that training on a swiss ball will help with your balance? You will become much better at balancing on a swiss ball. But will it transfer and help with other athletic endevours. Maybe not, infact I doubt it, it hasnt with me. I have no conclusive proof however…

b) I am not entirely convinced that using such devices will enhance the use of stabilizing muscles. One thing that maybe important to note is that the load is drastically reduced. Therefore the stress on the ?stabilizing? muscles may not necessarily be greater…
Another thing is how much are the stabilizers actually being used…Using a muscle to maintain balance is not really like using a muscle to regain balance after it has been lost…
So I one might argue that the weight is too light, and having too little deviation from homeostasis for these stabilizing muscles to be used effectively.
What (in MY opinion) does one need to activate stabilizing muscles significanlty,
High loads and/or dynamic movements (likely to involve the loss and regaining of balance)
High loads are achieved in the gym (note that when I say high loads I am using this term loosely? I think that an overhead squat will stress the core more then a normal squat with a higher load due to mechanical dis/advantages, and there being some deviation from homeostasis?just as many unilateral movements will place a lot of tension on stabilizers but not really involve high loading)
Dynamic movements can be done in the gym or on the sporting field.

Ofcourse i have somewhat contradicted myself as I believe that some degree of instability is necassery to load the stabilisers… I guess im after a happy medium…

c) One thing is for sure, I think that exercises like this certainly are fun… I have never done ball squats with a loaded barbell but have done ball squats with bodyweight or some very light dumbbells. They are fun to do and make going to the gym more enjoyable… If going to the gym is fun and makes you more likely to continue training then what the hell?

So what can be done in the gym…

Overhead squats, Olympic lifts and their derivatives, one arm deadlift, saxson side bend, bent press, most one arm movements, See saw press etc

anyone care to comment…
ohh and in point a i site that i have no conclusive proof then blabba on in point b, perhaps i should point out that i realize that nothing i said there constitutes conclusive proof either, just my opinion…

There’s no doubt that athletes need good balance, but I feel performing a barbell back squat on a swiss ball goes beyond coordination and agility training.

The feat we saw in this picture is so highly specific I would not consider it a training aid, rather the end result.

How many NFLers can duplicate this stunt? And how many people that could perform this stunt play in the NFL?

I suppose one way of finding out if this type of training has any merrit would be to gather who we consider the most ‘agile and coordinated’ NFLers and a group of weekend warriors and see which group showed the most progress learning the feat in 1 day.

I bought the indo after trying it out with Coach D, and I love it. Even if it doesn’t assist me in defending a tackle or punch. Its just a hell of a lot of fun.

Even balance work on the duraball is fun. I’ve yet to load a barbell and squat on it (probably never will), but just trying to stand on it and catch a medball or something is a good time. I just like trying new stuff and messing around with my buddies.

One thing I definitely notice though, my hips feel great. I haven’t been able to do an olympic-style squat to the floor in a couple of years. After 2.5 weeks of indo & hurdle work, I’m almost ass-to-grass. Also, my OH squats are progressing nicely… I’ll be down to the floor soon.

Not exactly a scientific answer or anything, but my 2 cents…

I can’t recall where I saw this at T-mag, maybe in one of the SWIS reports, but Ian King and Tudor Bompa have also made fun of “balance training.” I think King even used squatting on Swiss ball as an example.

Not my opinion really, but I think it’s important to note that for as many top coaches like Davies who support this, there are more who think balance training is dumb.

I do think there is a fine line between balance training and unnecessary circus acts. Then again, Paul Chek squats on a Swiss ball…

Machine for someone that doesn’t believe in balance training is sure trying to find out a lot more on it. But, it seems too me that you are loss with it somewhere. I am not saying this to flame u just wonderning why are you so curious in Balance Training when you don’t believe in it? I think deep down you beleive that there is merit to this type of training but you can’t seem to find the answer.

Sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeessssssssssss ball.

Cupcake, re-read my post. I’m not sure why you and fitone and maybe a few others have trouble understanding my opinion when I feel it is comletely straight forward. Let me make myself clear.

  1. Balance IS important for athletes. I never said it wasn’t. What I said was that “balance training” such as swiss ball squats are worthless b/c as someone else said “you don’t play the sport on a swiss ball”.

  2. We agree about core… I think.

  3. The effort required to balance on a swiss ball will, in my opinion, only improve your balance on a swiss ball. Therefore, you’re not even training balance. You’re lowering the load to become good at standing on a swiss ball. I don’t think there is carry over.

  4. We agree.

  5. I do.

fitone, how is that you think I posted this thread to try to find out more about balance training? I guess you skipped the opening sentence of this thread. In case you try to further insinuate what I’m feelig “deep down” inside or miscontrue any of my posts I’ll leave you with this:

I am not curious about “Balance” training.

I am not trying to find out more about “Balance” training.

I believe there is NO merit to “Balance” training.

I posted this thread to allow others to discuss the topic on the T/N forum where everyone could contribute.

Balance training is over rated. I once spent a few weeks doing db swiss ball presses and when i went back to barbell bench press i was weak as hell. The swiss ball and balance training has its place, but should not make up the bulk of training. by they way, its place is very small. Just for kicks, im gonna ask this question to Martin over at Elite Fitness. Hes a performance expert.

Why has something different caused such a reaction? There have been many negative comments toward what jpfitness is doing on the photo
forum to the effectiveness of balance in general.

Is it because it’s something not many people can do? Fear? Jealousy? Ignorance?

Paul Chek and Coach Davies are huge advocates of balance training. But if that were a photo of Coach Davies or Paul Chek on the forum, would there be such a reaction? Or is it because jpfitness is relatively “unknown” on the forum and T-mag?

Balance training has its uses for a variety of sports and activities. It may not apply to all, but because it may not apply to you, it doesn’t mean you should negatively react.

I thought T-men were more open-minded when it came to various things, especially training?

I’m new to posting but read quite often. I agree with posts that a swiss ball workout has it’s place. I don’t think I would eliminate one of my Olifts or other compound exercises in place of a swiss ball routine. I would however do swiss ball work as an extra to my workout or light weekend work on an off lifting day. Just trying to kneel on a swiss ball will have your core quivering.

Nate, I know Chek and Davies do advocate these tools. However, I must disagree even with these guys. You’re right, I am close-minded. I let in what seems right and filter through what seems like garbage.

One thing I’ve learned as a business major and experience in general is that if there is a market potential for a product or if you can develop a niche for a product and you forecast it to sell then you will capitalize on it.

I might not be saying it very clearly b/c I have trouble w/ this forum sometimes. I’m not blind to the fact that these guys want to make money too and if they sell product X or have an investment in how it sells, then of course they’ll do their best to market it.

My point is this: If that market was already fully saturated and they could not make money off product X, they might not be advocating it as strongly. Whether or not you like it, it’s the reality of business.

Am I calling them sneaky or fakes? Absolutely not. So don’t get the wrong idea.