You read it here first? JP is rethinking some things on the whole Swiss Ball (no, not actually standing on it while rethinking, but I guess I could). I have been really thinking about this topic a lot lately, and I have come to some of my own conclusions.
I was one of many who sent questions to Ian King about SB training, so I am glad to see him writing about it. I agree with most of what he said (a hush falls on the room). One thing though? if any of you had actually READ my original post, you would remember that I used balance as a very small part of what I do. I won?t use it at all on most of my clients, and most of the balance work I do is on myself. The exercises that Ian King actually did recommend doing on the ball are all exercises, which I use when I do use the ball.
Ian King said: [quote] Now, if you’re in a sport such as kayaking or similar, where the surface really is unstable, there may be more application [/quote]
Another thing that I said in my original post is that the only sport I actually currently compete in is adventure racing, which entails lots of mountain biking, kayaking, and rock climbing sometimes. As he went on to say, the transfer may be minimal, but if there is any at all, the small amount of balance training that I do couldn?t hurt. And just for the record, I have not to date used one SB for my football players other than to do occasional abs on.
All this being said, I am shifting my whole position on doing heavy squats on the ball. There? I said it. Are you all happy? Hope you warmed up those gloating muscles because I don?t want you to pull something!
I consulted with many other strength coaches whom respect and admire, and compared what they had to say with my results. I never apologize for experimenting though. I have come up with some really great and effective exercises by being this way, and some not-so-good. I will of course keep the good ones. One of the coaches I really respect is Bill Hartman, and I picked his brain on SB training. Rather than attacking me and telling me I was an idiot he actually gave me some interesting feedback. It was probably his words more than anyone?s that have influenced this change of heart.
Bill says: ?Training on an unstable surface relies primarily on feedback mechanisms. Sporting activities, especially fast, explosive activities rely more heavily on feed forward mechanisms because there is insufficient time for reaction to feedback (ever see a weightlifter try to recover a maximum snatch? It doesn’t happen too often and it ain’t pretty). The only way to develop those feed forward mechanisms is to develop the skill itself by performing it.
Various types of balance abilities are components of specific skills. For kids, variety is definitely a key. For older, single-sport athletes, specificity is the key. Don’t waste their valuable time (it is very limited as skill training should always predominate) trying to develop motor abilities in ways that don’t apply to their chosen sport. Doing so may actually interrupt specific motor patterns and negatively transfer to skill application. The more accomplished an athlete is, the more specific his/her training must be to improve.?
This clicked for me. There are still some exercises I will NOT give up though. For example, due to four shoulder surgeries I have different ranges of motion in both shoulders. This makes bench-pressing on a regular flat bench difficult for me. I believe my altered ROM in both shoulders cause my scapulae to protract and retract at different angles during the press. While lying on an immovable flat bench I fear that it causes unbalance in force production through my shoulder joints causing compensation of one arm over the other which would account for the chronic pain I receive after regular bench pressing. I have however noticed that when bench-pressing on a Swiss ball, my scapulae are allowed more of an independent range of motion due to the soft, somewhat molding surface of the Swiss ball. This seems to alleviate the pain I have while doing the full range of motion of a bench press. There are several others that I will continue to use as well.
Bottom line, some of the exercises I do use, I am going to keep doing them. Some, like the squats, I will probably quit doing them. I will not give up balance training altogether though. It is and always has been a small part of what I do. I won?t give up my GAME. Does it transfer to any other sports? No, it is a sport unto itself, and it is FUN! Anytime any one of you think your bad enough to challenge me at this game you just let me know!