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Thu Nov 16, 2006 1:06 pm

Master Masters Athlete
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Location: Chico, CA

From Fahey training column in Fitness RX for Women

Is Instability Resistance Training the Way to Go?
People in many gyms have gone crazy over instability training on Swiss and bosu balls, rocker boards, and foam rollers. Instability training causes increased muscle activation in supporting muscles of the spine, hips, legs, and shoulders that are often ignored in traditional machine-based weight training programs. Proponents of instability training claim that it promotes greater neuromuscular adaptation, improves coordination, and increases confidence when performing skills. Unfortunately, we have little evidence supporting any of these benefits. Instability training promotes more stable knees, hips, spine, shoulders, and elbows. However, training on unstable surfaces decreases the capacity to exert force during weight training exercises, which slows strength gains. A program that combines training on stable and unstable surfaces promotes joint health and neuromuscular control, while maximizing strength, power, and endurance. The take-home message is don’t choose— do both.
(Journal Strength Conditioning Research 20: 716-722, 2006)

Thomas Fahey
Dept Kinesiology
California State University, Chico
Chico, CA 95929-0330

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