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Are You Making This Mistake Too?

By Alex On July 24, 2009 Under Speed Agility Training Drills

I gotta be honest: I have made a TON of mistakes just in training myself.

For example, when I was first starting out, I used the swiss ball religously (those big, usually blue, blown-up balls that are a lot more fun to just sit on than use in an exercise regimen). I did DB presses off of it, bird-dogs (hip and shoulder extension), push-ups and a million other things that did JACK. I even tried to stand on it once (still have the scar to prove it too).

Anyways, I was watching a morning news show this morning, and was reminded of another training mistake I also used to make and one I see EVERYONE still making today.

It involves using this interesting looking contraption called a “Bosu Ball”. It’s actually like half a swiss ball, with one side of it actually looking like half of swiss ball, but the other side is flat.

Anyways, on this news show, they had some really hot, and apparently mis-informed, female trainer giving some generic fitness tips, and almost everything she had to say revolved around using this “Bosu Ball”.

“You can do bicep curls while standing on it, overhead presses, squats, push-ups, you can even do jumps on it, and it’s great because you are working on your “stabilizer muscles,” she proclaimed.

<evil laugh>

The Top 3 Reasons Why Bosu-Balls Stink

1. Because of the balancing act you’re forced to play, they make you use less weight on all exercises.

2. They don’t do anything special for your “stabilizer muscles”. Your stabilizer muscles are just any muscles in an exercise that contract isometrically to stabilize you, and allow your prime movers (working muscles) to go to work at full capacity. You work on your “stabilizing” muscles during any exercise, bosu ball or not.

3. What? Two reasons weren’t enough? Hmm… they’re really weird-looking, that’s gotta count for something right?

So, what’s the point of all of this? What can you take from this and use to help you get faster, stronger and more agile?

Just don’t listen to anyone who tells you that these bosu-balls are going to do some incredible things for you or your athletes.

Focus on the good stuff: getting stronger in the right places, getting quicker in the right places and balancing your training with your sport training.

Now, I want to hear from you about any other type of exercise or gimmick you’ve heard of or found to be for the most part useless, like our old friend Mr. Bosu.

Talk to you in the comments section!

-Alex

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11 comments - add yours
jacy

July 24, 2009

Disagree, and find your “insight” incredibly arrogant and poorly informed on the reasons people may use equipment pieces such as bosu or stability ball.
While everyone is entitled to an opinion, you will gain no great popularity by
depromoting others ideas. Focus on what you know. I teach all my clients and athletes to take information from all sources. There is something to learn from
everyone you come in contact with potentially. Pay attention. Be discerning. Ask questions. Try new things.

Craig

July 24, 2009

I have never understood how you put an unstable body on an unstable object to make the body stable. That being said, I have used a Bosu for rehab purposes flat side up. This allows the foot to work in a “tripod” fashion as you alluded to on your TAQ video. Otherwise, if you are going to do a strength exercise then do it with the best base possible.

alexmaroko

July 24, 2009

Hey Jacy, thanks for the comment!

I guess I definitely should have specified that I meant I don’t like bosu-ball training in the programming of HEALTHY ATHLETES. Thanks for catching my miss.

There is obviously lots of validity and research backing the use of unstable surface training in a rehab setting, and I use it myself and with my athletes in these situations.

And I think what you said here is great:

“There is something to learn from
everyone you come in contact with potentially.”

I hope everyone read that and took a second to fully digest it. Talk to you soon!

-Alex

alexmaroko

July 24, 2009

@Craig-

Well-said. Totally agree on the rehab side, and isn’t it kinda funny that although it’s used to make formerly injured athletes healthy, I’ve seen an athlete or two hurt themselves using it as a training tool?

Do you think those guys want to get back on the thing that set them up for a sprained ankle during the comeback process? 🙂

Lachlan

July 24, 2009

i think jacy and craig are right they told me to use a similar thing when i injured my ankle and it helped a lot but they told me to continue the use once i had recovered and nothing changed, but what about other things like the squat-flex which claims it will help u dunk which in their theory will also make u faster whats ur view on it
thanks lachlan

alexmaroko

July 25, 2009

Lachlan

Everything works, at least for a while. I’m sure it will help you dunk, but you’d have to make sure it’s what YOU, the individual needs.

Does that make sense?

-Alex

Mike

July 25, 2009

Do you play college ball?

Esther

July 26, 2009

I agree with Jacy, It’s not just the tool, but how you use it. I heard a lot of professionals put down the bosu ball, but that’s because they haven’t figured out what to do with it. Granted, a lot of damm exercises can be performed, also with the resistance band, the barbell, dumbells or any thing, but if you really know the mechanics of exercising the body for optimal performance, you might be praising this thing. I sugest you get more info on this great piece of equipment. (hint: it sure was used at Gym Jones for the workout for the movie 300!)

Alex Maroko

July 26, 2009

Hey Esther-

Please elaborate on this 🙂

“if you really know the mechanics of exercising the body for optimal performance, then you might be praising this thing”

-Alex

Mohammed Akif

July 28, 2009

Haha, funny how even NBA players are misguided. Check out Steve Nash’s workout here: http://www.nba.com/suns/news/mvpworkout_071107.html

He uses a TON of exercises with bosu balls and stability balls, and we know he’s not very strong compared to other point guards like Derrick Rose.

adarqui

August 8, 2009

in regards to this comment:

“I teach all my clients and athletes to take information from all sources. There is something to learn from
everyone you come in contact with potentially. Pay attention. Be discerning. Ask questions. Try new things.”

this is probably the worst mindset in s&c, no offense.. everyone wants to “try new things” and do all this “fancy crap” etc. If you look at all of the people who follow this mindset, they get absolutely nowhere. Sure there may be a few who somehow “try new things” and progress to freak levels, but thats in the very small minority.

s&c has become a clusterfu*k of retarded ideas, methods, and exercises. If you are an outsider looking in, you might think people design exercises as such: “Take a perfectly good exercise, add a twist, now do it functionally, and then do it on an unstable platform” JACKPOT!

Here’s a quick example:

Let’s say i’m an athlete looking to improve vertical jump. I read info from:
– Luke Lowry
– Kelly Baggett
– The guy on ExpertVillage
– StretchExpert

Ok, so, my mindset would now be that:
– Squats are Bad, all you need to do is “exprosive exercises broh”
– Getting stronger, improving squat / bulgarian splitsquat, putting on some mass on the glutes/hams/quads is good
– Don’t put on mass, do kettlebell jump squats for 2 weeks to gain 6 inches
– All you need to do is stretch

Now which one do you think would actually work?

Take advice from people who actually know what they are doing, not from the latest gimick guru who performs like a slug on the field.

I trust KellyB & Verkhoshansky more than anyone.

Sorry, im arrogant ;d