Balance Ball Review
The balance ball (stability ball) is a great tool for increasing strength and stability for volleyball.
Both PT's and Strength & Conditioning Specialists know how important stability balls are for sports fitness and rehabilitation. Stability balls are great for athletes of all sports.
The main thing you are going to get out of using the stability ball is, "the ability of your body to activate core muscles while performing an athletic movement".
For example, leg curls. The balance ball helps you focus on "firing the core" while you use the hamstrings to complete the movement.
Some advantages specifically to the sport of volleyball are...
- Shoulder and Upper Back Strength. For example, push ups on the ball force the tiny stablizer muscles of the scapula to contract while performing the push up.
- Closed-Chain Movements. These are the movements that are more functional and specific to sports. For example, when jumping in volleyball, force is initiated from the ground up.Hamstring curls are a great exercise because of the closed-chain fixed position of the feet (traditional hamstrings using a machine is a open-chain movement). The Jackknife works the athlete to strengthen the core while maintaining the hands in a closed-chain position.
- Pre-habilitation. Pre-hab is basically training in a way that helps prevent injuries. Pre-hab is also for athletes that want to take their performance to the next level.
- Injury prevention. Today, many personal trainers and strength specialists are using core training to help prevent injuries. For example, to help prevent a shoulder injury, there are pre-hab exercises that can help the athlete counterbalance the wear and tear of spiking tons of volleyballs. With volleyball being a year-round sport for many athletes, pre-hab has become an important part of training.
- Rehabilitation. The stability ball is commonly used by physical therapists in rehabilitation settings.
Balance and Bosu Ball
Here are some of my favorite volleyball exercises using a stability ball.
- Jackknife. Here you are strengthening the hip flexors and crunching your abs.
- Hamstring curl. Really fire your glutes and hamstrings while firing your core.
- Deadbug. Here, you're keeping your spine stable while working your arms and legs. You're basically teaching your nervous system to improve the the communication between your arms/legs and the rest of your body.
- V-pass. This drill challenges the core as you transfer the ball back-and-forth from hands to feet.
- Decline push-up. This drill challenges the core as you perform push-ups. You're also hitting muscle fibers at different angles.
- Wall squat. From this drill you are getting the benefit of a different variation of the squat.
- Single-leg stability ball hip thrust. Here, you are firing the glutes while keeping the spine stable.
- “Y-T-W-L” shoulder raise. When done correctly, y,t,w,l's are great for working the tiny scapula stabilizers. Just like most exercises, it's important here to be activating the core as you perform the movement.
- Ball rollout. This is a great ab exercise that really challenges the eccentric (lengthening) contraction. It's tough to get this benefit from a regular ab crunch. This exercise works more of the eccentric part (extension) of the movement, and less on the concentric part (flexion).
I recommend this balance ball.
This ball great because it is easy to use at home. Coaches can also use the ball in the weight room or at volleyball practice.
Improve Core Strength and Balance with the Best Balance Ball
The balance ball is a great tool for anyone at any level. It's great if you're just getting started with training. Or maybe you're someone that wants a way to help improve your performance and get an edge over your competition.
Balance balls are great because they are fun to use and inexpensive. I can conveniently do a workout at home without other equipment.
Balance balls come in a range of sizes, colors and types.