Balance Training-Labile Surfaces

I’m curious as to what the consensus is regarding the performance of resistance exercises on unstable surfaces such as wobble boards, 1/2 foam rollers, airex pads, bosu’s, etc. There was a point in time where I utilized these methods rather extensively. During the last year or so, I have’nt used unstable surfaces in my own training or with clients as I am led to believe by Siff and others there is no dynamic correspondence to sport or ADL’s. I’d love to hear your input.

Balance is about 5% of my program. Sometimes balancing is a lunge or squat with heavy weight. I think single leg squats are fine and airex pads are good for ankle strength but circus stunts don’t build great athletes.

Again, save all of the above for the clinicians and therapists. Grantesd, some can be used for “pre-hab”, however, when it comes to performance there is way too much co-contraction taking place when using these things to effectively execute the movement! The body will focus most of it efforts on balance and stability leaving very little for the task itself. Besides the time it takes to learn the balance yourself is too long, the risks are way too great, I don’t know any sport(s) that is played on such surfaces and the transfer it low…very low.

Lastly, athletes were getting strong and fast LONG before these things/gadgets came along. Save your time and money! :mad:

sadly I just got passed up for my first S&C job because of this exact differing of opinion, the guy i interviewed with had a small facality and wanted 1 person to run it but he was captain “functional” god I hate that word. So we’re talking theory and I said , well i don’t undertand how doing etc on a bosu ball will have more carry over effect thn a power clean and that I feel putting someone on a speed ladder only make them faster on a speed ladder. He went into all this nuerological bullshit. A week later he calls back and tells me he’s not interested because he doesn’t feel I have an interest in using “functional” training.

Sorry to hear. I recommend arming yourself with research that shows a lack of transferability of balance skills in populations outside of completely sedentary couch potatos and rehab patients.

If arming yourself with scientific literature and debating intelligently and professionally won’t change his mind, then it would have been a job you’ll be miserable at.

Secondly, ladder drills are great conditioning tools to improve foot speed, but then so are the snatch, clean, and jerk.

Good luck.


anterior motor neurons,
alpha neurons,
gamma neurons,
body-righting reflexes,
tilting-response reflexes

Great post, Powerband. I recently came across an amateur athlete who just couldn’t spend a second without a swiss ball. I discussed it until my heart rate maxed, and then shoved my foot up the guys…

Doing that with your foot may also increase foot speed.

It wouldn’t of matter he was set in his ways. I agree ladder drills are good but you can’t tell me there the only ways to get fast, people got fast before them and even though Ben was a elite atlhete I’m sure the ladder was the last thing CF thought about to use with him. It sucks because I’m so eager to get away from YMCA and private training of elderly. it’s frustrating my strength my knowledge is with athletes not with some 60 year old lady that wants to waste an hour 3 times a week

The only way you’re ever going to get away from it is by pursuing your dream aggressively. I came from a similar situation. It’s damn depressing doing that stuff. Since I’ve made what sacrifices I’ve had to I couldn’t be happier.

can you tell me alittle more about it? maybe pm me if you don’t wanna say it in the forum