Why I Dislike Swiss Ball Training
Are you wasting time at the gym by using a swiss ball? I’m going to tell why you should stop using it in your workout.
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Walking into a gym you have plenty of options to choose from. You have your cardio devices like rower, treadmill, stair climber, etc…
There is the weight rack with all kinds of benches waiting for someone to sit on. You have cable machines and barbell stations.
Then you have the machines like chest press and tricep pushdown, or that weird abductor machine women seem to gravitate to and do their best not to make eye contact with anyone.
While I am not a fan of machines in general, they at times serve a purpose. In fact, while some are downright terrible, some are actually beneficial for specific purposes.
However, there is one gym item that creates the ultimate workout fail. That is non other than the swiss ball.
Sorry, that video is not the type of fail I am talking about.
Kidding aside, that is about the level of training often seen on a swiss ball.
Using a swiss ball can be a waste of time and more there for comical reasons.
I will preface this article though by saying I don’t hate the swiss ball. In fact, I do use it on occasion for very specific functions.
For instance, when helping a client who is severely de-conditioned, performing a move like the squat is difficult. However, doing wall squats with a swiss ball can give them a support and help build strength for the movement.
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When Functional Becomes Fictional
The theory behind the swiss ball is that it is a tool used for functional training. Which is true, it can be just that.
The thought is that because of it being an unstable surface to perform reps, it helps build your stabilizer muscles.
Therefore you would have a stronger core and be able to perform other exercises more efficiently.
However, studies say the opposite.
If you look at the research it has been found that while swiss balls do help build stability in your muscles, it does not translate to better performance.
In fact, it is quite inefficient.
This is where I start having an issue in the tool itself.
Majority of people using the swiss ball use it in a way to create an unstable platform to do things like dumbbell press, shoulder press, situps, or even the dreaded standing on the ball while performing curls.
During a dumbbell bench press, lets say you do 45 pounds each arm and 8 reps each set. Can you do that weight safely on a swiss ball?
Of course not. If that is your max on a stable bench, you probably need to drop down to say 30 pounds.
By doing so you won’t be building muscle. You may build some stability in your core but not enough to matter.
In fact, by doing the normal weight you can handle on the stable bench you are not only building muscle where it counts, but you are actually building a stronger core of stabilizer muscles.
It’s not the tool that is bad, it is the use. When it comes to working out, you want to get the absolute most benefit of your time.
I often have only 30 to 45 minutes myself for training. In that time I want the most bang for my buck. That means focusing on heavy compound lifts with heavy unilateral training.
If you want to see faster results, then you should avoid wasting time with inefficient training methods and focus on what gets results.