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Safe, Effective Strength Training for Athletes

Sep 15 "I am not a vegetarian because I love animals; I am a vegetarian because I hate plants."  -A. Whitney Brown

Stability Balls Are Unsafe for Strength Training

That's one conclusion to be drawn from this posting. Francisco Garcia was injured in 2009 when a ball he was balancing on while lifting burst.

In the article the Sacramento Kings are seeking to recover several million in damages. This is certainly understandable from the perspective that they did suffer damages because their player was injured and could not perform. The Kings owner has smartly prohibited the use of stability balls in his athletes training protocol.

I don't think it takes a rocket scientist to realize that sitting on something soft and inflatable and trusting it not to pop is always a safe bet. In fact we talked about such nonsense a long time ago. A long time, as in nearly a decade ago.

Take a look at The Swiss Ball Plyometric Depth Jumping Experiment. This is a very funny example of the absurdity of many training methods. Keep in mind this website is not related to StrongerAthletes.com and we do not condone these activities.

Of course back then they were called Swiss balls. The term stability ball hadn't come into vogue and "core" training was just taking off. How in the world did we ever train athletes before stability balls and "core" training techniques were invented.

So let's take this to the high school level. Instead of a professional athlete getting injured, we've got a varsity stand out that gets injured. He doesn't have access to the best rehab available. He could miss out on an opportunity at a scholarship or more because he misses his senior year. More than that he misses out on the camaraderie of his fellow team mates and winning and losing and growing together.

Even if their were concrete benefits to this type of training, of which their are NONE [excellent article by George Chen of Stanford University], the price one may have to pay for such benefits is too high. The fact that there are no benefits makes the practice of strength training on a stability ball all the more troubling.

I see the same thing in commercial health clubs. Personal trainers with multiple "certifications" all in the guise of standing out -- being unique in the quest for clients, have 50 year old men balancing on stability balls doing dumbell presses. Congratulations, personal trainer, on taking an excellent exercise and making it less effective and adding the element of severe injury in the mix.

Strength coaches are a cut above personal trainers at ACME health club. It's time to start acting like it and get rid strength work on stability balls. It's ineffective and dangerous.

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