Fit to Surf

The Surfer's Guide to Strength and Conditioning by Rocky Snyder

Copyright© 2003 by Rocky Snyder.  All rights reserved.
You must cite the author and source of this content if you wish to use or reprint it in any form.

Stability Ball Training

Rocky Snyder FIt to SurfStability balls are inflatable rubber balls that resemble the old "hippity-hoppity" toys we bounced around on as children.  The main difference is that the stability ball does not have a handle.  Stability balls come in different sizes, from 2 feet in diameter on up.

The purpose of exercising with these balls is to enhance the body's balance, core strength, and ability to maintain stability.  When exercising on an unstable surface, the muscle groups, or muscles that provide stability (the rotator cuff, abdominals, and lower back) become more active.

The more stable the body, the less likely an injury.  A crude analogy of the difference between weak and strong stabilizing muscles would be a house kept together with staples compared to one held with six inch nails.  Many traditional strength training exercises (e.g. bench press, bicep curls) do not address the stability muscles.  The exercise merely demands sheer force from the body any way it can be created.  Therefore it is essential that other exercise be incorporated to address the stabilizing muscles.

Some of these stability ball exercises may appear gentle in comparison to other strength exercises (e.g. squat, lunges) but they nevertheless focus on strengthening muscles and should be considered part of your strength training program.  Many off the targeted muscles are small and do not demand tremendous amounts of work.  Nor will these exercises make you out of breath.  Nevertheless, these stability ball exercises are extremely important in maintaining proper stability.

The exercises illustrated here will introduce you to the stability ball and serve as a reference once you've started your training program.  When performing the exercises, be sure to have ample space free of sharp or hard objects in case you lose your balance.

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