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View Full Version : Swiss Ball worthless for prime movers, study finds.



Dr Pangloss
04-01-2009, 05:31 PM
this study basically finds that using instability devices like the balls result in a fundamental inability to train the prime movers that are meant to be trained.

In other words, swiss balls are bullshit.


1: Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2007 Dec;2(4):400-13. Links

Effect of instability and resistance on unintentional squat-lifting kinetics.

Drinkwater EJ (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?Db=pubmed&Cmd=Search&Term="Drinkwater EJ"[Author]&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsP anel.Pubmed_DiscoveryPanel.Pubmed_RVAbstractPlus), Pritchett EJ (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?Db=pubmed&Cmd=Search&Term="Pritchett EJ"[Author]&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsP anel.Pubmed_DiscoveryPanel.Pubmed_RVAbstractPlus), Behm DG (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?Db=pubmed&Cmd=Search&Term="Behm DG"[Author]&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsP anel.Pubmed_DiscoveryPanel.Pubmed_RVAbstractPlus).
School of Human Movement Studies, Charles Sturt University, Bathurst, New South Wales, Australia.
CONTEXT: Resistance training while using an instability-training device is known to increase activation of stabilizing muscle groups while decreasing the force generated by the prime movers during isometric contractions. Purpose: To investigate differences in squat kinetics during dynamic resistance training in an increasingly unstable training environment. METHODS: Fourteen active men participated in this study. In each testing session, each participant performed 3 repetitions of squats with a 10-repetition maximum (10-RM) resistance, 40% of their 10-RM resistance, and 20.45 kg. The 3 testing session consisted of standing on a stable floor, foam pads, or BOSU balls. All repetitions were recorded with an optical encoder to record barbell kinetics. RESULTS: The transition from stable (floor) to very unstable (BOSU) resulted in high likelihoods (>75%) of clinically meaningful differences ranging from small to large (effect size [ES] 0.31-1.73) in factors relating to concentric kinetics, eccentric power, and squat depth, regardless of the resistance used for training. There were also likely differences at the heaviest resistance in peak concentric power (stable to foam: ES 2.06; foam to BOSU: ES 0.38), eccentric power (stable to foam: ES 1.88; foam to BOSU: ES 0.74), and squat depth (stable to foam: ES 0.50; foam to BOSU: ES 0.67). CONCLUSIONS: Resistance training in an unstable environment at an intensity sufficient to elicit strength gains of the prime movers results in deleterious effects in concentric squat kinetics and squat technique. Such observations are particularly evident on very unstable platforms.
PMID: 19171958 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Gaoshang Xiongshou
04-01-2009, 06:53 PM
I love this study :) I need to print this out and hand it to all of the trainers who swear by them.

Dr Pangloss
04-01-2009, 07:25 PM
I love this study :) I need to print this out and hand it to all of the trainers who swear by them.


i seriuosly want to hand this to the trainers where i workout. i am amazed at how much bullshit stability training they do...

TPT
04-01-2009, 10:21 PM
i think the study was misinterpreted. the authors objective was to further show that exercises with greater surface instability would show reductions in power. this has been established through out the literature already.

exercises using unstable surfaces has been misapplied in healthy adults and athletes. the literature originates from the phyiscal therapy and rehab medicine for unhealthy adults such as those with low back pain.

if you want to activate deep trunk musculature including transverse abs, rotaters, mutifidi, etc. for specific reasons, then you might use unstable surfaces. this is not bodybuilding or traditional strength training. but, of course it can be applied to bodybuilders.

so it depends what you want out of swiss ball that determines its utility.

Dr Pangloss
04-02-2009, 07:06 AM
i think the study was misinterpreted. the authors objective was to further show that exercises with greater surface instability would show reductions in power. this has been established through out the literature already.

exercises using unstable surfaces has been misapplied in healthy adults and athletes. the literature originates from the phyiscal therapy and rehab medicine for unhealthy adults such as those with low back pain.

if you want to activate deep trunk musculature including transverse abs, rotaters, mutifidi, etc. for specific reasons, then you might use unstable surfaces. this is not bodybuilding or traditional strength training. but, of course it can be applied to bodybuilders.

so it depends what you want out of swiss ball that determines its utility.


this is exactly what i'm talking about. there is no misinterpretation. my point was that instability wont train the prime movers. I'm talking about people doing dumbell press on a swiss ball with the intention of building their chest. It doesnt work. you see this all the time in the gym.

partsRheavy
04-02-2009, 11:00 AM
Good article. Supports my belief that most gym-goers aren't benefited by bosus.

I can see the applicability for bodyweight exercises for people who are out of shape, elderly, kids. Then again, that's what teeter-totters and jungle gyms on playgrounds are for. And, that's what bicycles are for.

But average gym-goers who are looking to build strength or endurance don't need 'em.

Dr Pangloss
04-02-2009, 11:04 AM
Yup. Unless you're training your core or stabilizing muscle only, and as you said you may be doing it for rehab or the elderly. However most that train with a free bar are already training stabilizers. Per haps not as much, but in conjunction with prime movers...

And if you want to train your core, train your fucking core! Don't start training your chest on an exercise ball. It's not working. Just train your core instead.

TPT
04-02-2009, 07:14 PM
this is exactly what i'm talking about. there is no misinterpretation. my point was that instability wont train the prime movers. I'm talking about people doing dumbell press on a swiss ball with the intention of building their chest. It doesnt work. you see this all the time in the gym.



yes, you're right i do see it pretty often and it does seem foolish. everyday-gym-people wouldn't know better. but, "bodybuilders" wouldn't know much either on the application of core stability.

the following link is to a brief and simple editoriol on core stability people might enjoy. http://www.nsca-lift.org/HotTopic/download/Core%20Stability.pdf

Dr Pangloss
04-02-2009, 07:32 PM
nice link. Please understand i am not saying it is useless. Instability is good for core training.

Wheels
04-04-2009, 08:43 PM
Yet another study coinciding with the vast multitude of reasons as to the ineffectiveness of Swiss balls; definitely a keeper.

Oh, and congrats on the FL position Doc; not sure how late I am on that ... lol.

Dr Pangloss
04-05-2009, 08:12 AM
Yet another study coinciding with the vast multitude of reasons as to the ineffectiveness of Swiss balls; definitely a keeper.

Oh, and congrats on the FL position Doc; not sure how late I am on that ... lol.


Hey brother. You're just a little late, but your sentiment is welcomed!

Cheers.

orhochris
04-06-2009, 04:25 PM
they do work for ab training though... Agreed not beneficial for most else.

Klaus Urine
04-20-2009, 05:11 AM
God, I fucking hate Swiss balls. Even without a study, they've always seemed like such a rank gimmick.

GREENMACHINE23
04-27-2009, 08:24 PM
God, I fucking hate Swiss balls. Even without a study, they've always seemed like such a rank gimmick.

The only thing they are good for are resting on them between sets.:D

TPT
05-02-2009, 03:56 PM
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18296961

another study for the swiss ball haters!? lol.

Trunk muscle activity during stability ball and free weight exercises.

Nuzzo JL (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?Db=pubmed&Cmd=Search&Term=%22Nuzzo%20JL%22%5BAuthor%5D&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsP anel.Pubmed_DiscoveryPanel.Pubmed_RVAbstractPlus), McCaulley GO (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?Db=pubmed&Cmd=Search&Term=%22McCaulley%20GO%22%5BAuthor%5D&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsP anel.Pubmed_DiscoveryPanel.Pubmed_RVAbstractPlus), Cormie P (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?Db=pubmed&Cmd=Search&Term=%22Cormie%20P%22%5BAuthor%5D&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsP anel.Pubmed_DiscoveryPanel.Pubmed_RVAbstractPlus), Cavill MJ (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?Db=pubmed&Cmd=Search&Term=%22Cavill%20MJ%22%5BAuthor%5D&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsP anel.Pubmed_DiscoveryPanel.Pubmed_RVAbstractPlus), McBride JM (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?Db=pubmed&Cmd=Search&Term=%22McBride%20JM%22%5BAuthor%5D&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsP anel.Pubmed_DiscoveryPanel.Pubmed_RVAbstractPlus).
Neuromuscular Laboratory, Department of Health, Leisure & Exercise Science, Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina, USA.
The purpose of this investigation was to compare trunk muscle activity during stability ball and free weight exercises. Nine resistance-trained men participated in one testing session in which squats (SQ) and deadlifts (DL) were completed with loads of approximately 50, 70, 90, and 100% of one-repetition maximum (1RM). Isometric contractions during 3 stability ball exercises (quadruped (QP), pelvic thrust (PT), ball back extension (BE)) were also completed. During all exercises, average integrated electromyography (IEMG) from the rectus abdominus (RA), external oblique (EO), longissimus (L1) and multifidus (L5) was collected and analyzed. Results demonstrate that when expressed relative to 100% DL 1RM, muscle activity was 19.5 +/- 14.8% for L1 and 30.2 +/- 19.3% for L5 during QP, 31.4 +/- 13.4% for L1 and 37.6 +/- 12.4% for L5 during PT, and 44.2 +/- 22.8% for L1 and 45.5 +/- 21.6% for L5 during BE. IEMG of L1 during SQ and DL at 90 and 100% 1RM, and relative muscle activity of L5 during SQ and DL at 100% 1RM was significantly greater (P < or = 0.05) than in the stability ball exercises. Furthermore, relative muscle activity of L1 during DL at 50 and 70% 1RM was significantly greater than in QP and PT. No significant differences were observed in RA and EO during any of the exercises. In conclusion, activity of the trunk muscles during SQs and DLs is greater or equal to that which is produced during the stability ball exercises. It appears that stability ball exercises may not provide a sufficient stimulus for increasing muscular strength or hypertrophy; consequently, the role of stability ball exercises in strength and conditioning programs is questioned. SQs and DLs are recommended for increasing strength and hypertrophy of the back extensors.
PMID: 18296961 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Dr Pangloss
05-02-2009, 04:42 PM
wow. That's pretty damning stuff.