Why the Swiss ball is your secret weapon for superhuman reflexes, core strength and injury prevention.

Why the Swiss ball is your secret weapon for superhuman reflexes, core strength and injury prevention.

Last week we received a question on Facebook about the above picture. Why is balancing on a swiss ball while doing a shoulder press beneficial?

 

[If you missed the post, check it out here.]

 

We answered in overzealous Enliven style, crafting a comment the length of a blog post and giving readers more info than they bargained for. It made for great discussion and spontaneous social media education - certainly worth sharing with our wider community.

 

So here it is! Read on to learn the fascinating science behind Swiss ball stability exercises - especially in concert with other movements.

 

Why use a Swiss ball?

 

Using a swiss ball provides a mobile surface that reacts quickly to any change in one’s center of gravity, requiring a righting response, a tilting response, or both.

 

As a result of this (and the fact that many exercises performed on the Swiss ball result in a net reduction of the body’s base of support) its use naturally results in activation of core and extremity muscles as stabilizers.

 

Also, there’s a simultaneous activation of the body’s proprioceptive mechanisms (joint mechanoreceptors, spindle cells, inner ear, ocular proprioception).

 

Activation of the nervous system in concert with the musculoskeletal system through regular use of the Swiss ball serves to heighten reflex reactions to changes in the location of one’s center of gravity, increase motor vocabulary and heighten one’s sense of proprioception or sense of spatial orientation.

 

This leads to improved performance of the neuromechanical system and the prevention of injury.

 

“Balance is a highly developed activity requiring sophisticated organization of muscle groups in response to the position of the body as it is related to gravity.” – Barbara Hypes,

 

Why the shoulder press?

 

in this particular case, the addition of the shoulder press is to put further stress on the balance responses. This exercise in particular was an alternating single arm press. As one dumbbell is lowered down it further challenges the core and spinal stability muscles, as the weight is out to the side further from your center of gravity. A shoulder press movement is taking place, but for the purpose of balance and joint stability, not pure shoulder strength.

 

For the client pictured, this was applicable to her goals as a professional dancer. Keep in mind you need a 'balance' of strength and stability for an injury free body. Strength and stability are two sides of the same coin.

 

I hope this has given you a better understanding of what we do at Enliven and we look forward to any future questions you may have! Hit us up on Facebook, in the comments or via email.

 

P.S. Huge thanks for the fit and terrific Sophie for letting us use her photo!

 

 

 



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