To appreciate the power of strength ball training, you must only understand that your body functions as a unit, with muscles firing sequentially to produce the desired movement. Some muscles contract to produce movement, others contract to balance the body, and others contract to stabilize the spine and hold it in a safe position.

The most versatile tool has proven to be the stability ball, also known as the swiss ball. The opportunityto  make the body function as a unit to execute an exercise has tremendous utility in sports performance, adult functional fitness kids training, injury rehabilitation, and fitness for aging populations. Strength and balance are summoned in unstable and unpredictable environments, such as when slipping on icy stairs, lunging to catch a falling child, and withstanding a check to continue running, while catching a lacrosse ball.

The stability ball exercises integrate instability into the closed kinetic chain, through positions that build from the centre of the body to the periphery.

Medicine ball drills add a dynamic load that requires full-body, coordinated actions. Catching a weighted ball outside your midline trains the deceleration and responsiveness properties of muscles, placing emphasis on the core and posterior chain. Together, these tools produce improvements that support athletic movements, such as skiiing down a mountain, and full-body everyday activities, such as digging in a garden. It is really about training and integrating the body as a whole, and taking the focus away from development of only the muscles you can see in the mirror.

Stability balls and medicine balls make a positive contribution to the sport rehabilitation, athletic conditioning,and general fitness fields. The primary goals include improvement in posture, movement mechanics, and athletic skill.

The bottom line in real life and sport is that you are only as strong as your weakest link. For most people, this is the core, or torso strength. How many people do you know with low – back pain? How many athletes have experienced abdominal, hip flexor, and groin strains? Strong legs and strong arms, along with a weak core are an injury in the waiting. Strength ball training, build from the core out to your periphery, accommodating your upper and lower body, while turning your core into your strength. A stronger core is your speed centre and strength centre. Most movements are initiated and supported with the core muscles, and this is not just your superficial six-pack muscles. It also includes more important muscles deep in the abdominal wall that protect your spine and stabilize movement. For example, a golf swing is mostly core, a little legs, and even less upper body. You must build strength that is transferable to sport and everyday activities. For athletes, the goal of strength ball training is to teach the body to move more skillfully. For functional fitness, incorporating whole-body stability and balance into an exercise increases the metabolic costs, causing you to expend many more calories as you build strength.

Strength ball training will help the body’s unconscious reactions that produce appropriate movement. which often means the difference between regaining control and balance , and suffering a sport injury.

Ideally, you can do 20 – 40% of your strength program with a strength ball. And, it’s useful for all populations, being easily adapted to meet a variety of needs and goals. However, how, when, and how much these exercises are used can vary greatly depending on the  goals and abilities of the user. Strength ball training can define the whole workout for some participants, while in other applications it is common to integrate specific strength ball exercises with other types of exercises.

The instability promotes whole-body coordination, and the weighted medicine ball at the end of the body’s levers activates both the muscles and nervous system.

The challenge of recruiting the entire body to perform an exercise will help to link the kinetic chain in order to develop smarter muscles that better communicate with the rest of the body. Integrating instability and reactivity, as well as the demand of using multiple muscle groups heightens the metabolic cost, expending more calories.

Children aged 8 – 12 can complet one exercise per bodypart, and 3 – 4 core stability exercises to begin to build strength through interesting activity that improves their neural networks. You can give kids aged seven or younger minimal direction, while turning 3 – 4 exercises into fun game challenges. Let the kids have fun, and find their own way around the ball. A 45cm ball is best, rather than 55 or 65cm.

Young children should avoid weighted medicine ball throws until they have done core and posterior chain strength to safely handle catches, as well as the emotional maturity to pay attention to the structure needed when throwing and catching weighted balls.

Pubescent aged kids going through a skeletal growth phase, can use strength ball training as a complete workout to help them become accustomed to their new height and weight, and regain coordination. The low impact nature of strength ball training frees kids from other high impact training and activities that commonly cause injury during puberty, when bone levers have elongated, but muscles have not grown in length, size and strength.

Post-pubescent kids — strength ball training becomes a part of their workout, as they also engage in lifts with heavier free weights.

Obese children would be better served initially, to use weight stacked machines rather than strength balls, as they are more challenged by movement. It must be fun to maintain their interest. Thereafter, you could include a small volume of simple strength ball exercises to aid coordination, and help them move more skillfully. Strength ball exercises produce higher heart rates, and activate more muscles, thus causing an expenditure of  calories.

Sport conditioning programs would use a high volume of core stability and core rotation exercises, and a smaller volume of upper body and leg exercises that complement strength training with Olympic bars and dumbbells.

Bodybuilders – strength ball training can help them overcome strength plateaus by improving the neural pathways.

Anyone who uses heavy strength training programs can use a strength ball exercise that integrates balance, and secures high muscle activity to potentiate muscle right before a heavy, stable lift. They could also position a strength ball exercise immediately after a heavy, stable lift to work on muscle coordination under fatigue.

Rehabilitation – An injured body can use strength ball exercises to rebuild damaged areas, as well as recondition close-to-healed bodies so they can return to action even better than before.

Precautions : Strength ball training should not be used for people with chronic low-back pain, and those who are just beginning a strengthening program, because increased activation of the core musculature also involves an increase in spinal loads. This, in itself, is not necessarily a bad thing, but proper progression will ultimately insure against any kind of injury. So start with stable surfaces, then progress to unstable surfaces. This might take 3 – 8 weeks before the participant can handle unstable training without pain during, or after the workout.