By Andy Aussem
Ever wonder if those stability balls, BOSU balls, and balance boards are as useful as everyone thinks? Is the ability to stand on a ball really just an impressive party trick or can it actually increase performance outside of the gym?
I used to think stability/balance (proprioceptive) training played a huge role in fitness and performance to the point that I taught myself how to stand and squat on a stability ball. Then, about six years ago, I got into more performance-based functional exercises (think deadlifts, Olympic lifting, sprinting, and so on), and I decided proprioceptive training was useless for increasing performance because most daily activities and sports involve standing on a stable surface. How would performing a golf swing standing on a BOSU ball improve my performance when the game is played on solid ground? I decided that I needed to improve my ability to produce force while standing on a stable surface for it to apply to my swing.
Before we get into the benefits of proprioceptive training, let’s discuss what happens to our joints and muscles during proprioceptively demanding activities. The The Barefoot Golfer.