T Nation

Stability Ball Training


Let's have a discussion about stability ball training:

"Today's training tip comes from Christian Thibaudeau:

Functional vs. "Functional"

With functional training we want to improve the capacity of the nervous system to solve motor tasks, so we need to use strength training exercises that are complex. Multi-joint exercises such as squats, deadlifts, presses, cleans, snatches, and chins are all prime choices. Some stability ball lovers will argue that unstable exercises are good for functional improvements. It's true that they're complex, however, since the potential of these exercises for strength, strength-speed and speed-strength improvement is very low, I don't consider them to be functional training in its truest sense."

I'm not a fan of the stability ball and think it is a highly overrated piece of equipment. But, there are others who think that it's a very useful training device.

What says the T-Nation elect on the subject?


Using those for most of your workouts, like I have tried because of program design from a personal trainer, is a waste of time. I wasted 3 months on those programs(during summer time which is the time to gain weight) and got nothing from it except hamstring injuries which are still bothering me. I play sports and this coach was supposed to fix some structural flaws which I had and make me a better athlete. Doing compound movements(not sitting on some ball) is all I need for that. However I like to use them from time to time doing abs.

ps. If I ever again am going to get advice from a trainer I will make sure he?s bigger and stronger than me...


Multi-joint exercises such as squats, deadlifts, presses, cleans, snatches, and chins are all prime choices.

When I use the term "functional training," this is what I mean.


I wonder how many functional lifters can press 120lb dumbells on a stability ball? The ball would probably pop underneath you.


How abaout your trainer is simply more knowledgeable, and has proveable experience making people as big and strong as possible, and taking people who have never trained in their life to ametuer body building status.

How about someone who helped professional atheletes drop .3 of a second off an already good 40 yd time, or an extra 6" on a vertical leap of an already good leaper.


i work in a pyhsio department so everyones ball crazy. The day they all did a course on it i was bombarded with "weight training is no good - use this" and similar crap. Loads of people have even bought stability shoes MBT (google it). If they're happy then thats great.

Strangely even though their abs and low backs are "much stronger" than mine i'm still asked to move and lift really heavy stuff.

Some ball work looks ok to me and maybe i'll set a target of squatting on one just for fun someday :wink:
ps deadlifts rule!!!


They are a tool and a usefull one at that for various pre hab and rehab drills. TBH i like em just for pre stretch ab movements - i dont see how you can 'hate' the ball. Any one who relies on one heavily, tends to be selling something.


They're a tool like anything else. No reason having contempt for it just like there's no reason to use it heavily.


they're very comfortable...I sit on one in between sets...if they weren't around I'd have to sit on one of those uncomfortable benches or something...


You actually sit down between sets?


A lot of the teams at UCLA use them. I just saw our women's water polo goalie kneeling on one blocking tennis balls being thrown at her. I've seen a few teams use them for various core strengthening exercises. They certainly aren't overused; the basics are used with every sport (that I've watched).


The thing that pisses me off about the balls is that the douches who use them for their whole workout always leave them lying everywhere. People at my gym have at least learned to put dumbbells away and remove their plates, but it looks like a package of Skittles has exploded in my gym and I'm sick of it.

Like one of the authors on T-Nation said, the pendulum has swung to the extreme with the balls. While they're a useful tool, you shouldn't base your whole workout off of them. Personally, I think it's wrong how a lot of personal trainers will take their clients straight to the balls and teach them nothing else.


Stability balls are, I agree, just a tool. Anyone that preaches that they are the end all beat all is the same, just a tool. inre to the stability shoes MBT, they may be neat to get when the pokemon factor comes and goes, when they are down to $45 or so.