Thursday, December 9, 2010

Bosu Balls And Other Unstable Surfaces

Just came across this post by Steve Magness again.  It's a classic:

"[Unstable Surface Training] can lead to improper recruitment patterns and ruin motor skills, so it certainly should not be combined with anyone trying to improve a sports skill on a stable surface (Willardson, 2004)."
Well, well.

As I posted in the conversation that caused me to rediscover this post:

"We have a bosu ball in our gym. As I ski, I was a diligent user of it prior to starting barefoot-style running and hiking. What I found was I had such an enormous increase in strength and balance from going around in Vibrams (which I also wear in the gym on the Bosu ball, of course), that it dwarfed whatever little gain I was getting from the bosu ball. It made a huge difference to skiing, which observation I've had confirmed by one of my converts who's also a skiier.

"So I don't use the bosu ball anymore. Whatever incremental improvement it might offer me just really isn't worth the time, IMHO. I'd rather be running. ;) Even on the dreadmill.

"I have been doing ankle-strengthening exercising, including balancing on one foot on the floor. As said in that link, it really does hit the soleus muscles, which seem to be the ones I injured when I sprained my ankle."

I will note that lots of top skiiers and snowboarders use bosu balls as part of their training; but they are often operating on an unstable surface, so bosu balls may offer some value.