Swiss-ball core strength training in sedentary women-Jr of Strength and Conditioning 2010

Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 2010. 24(11): 3032–3040.
Sekendiz, B, Cug˘ , M, Korkusuz, F.

Effects of Swiss-ball core strength training on strength, endurance, flexibility, and balance in sedentary women.

Sedentary work involving prolonged non-varying seated postures results in a high risk of developing Low Back Pain.

This study investigates the effects of Swiss-ball core strength training on trunk extensor (lower back)/ flexor (abdominals) & lower limb extensor (quadriceps)/flexor (hamstring) muscular strength, as well as, abdominal, lower back & leg endurance, flexibility & dynamic balance in sedentary women (n = 21; age = 34) trained for 45 min, 3x/wk for 12 wks.

Conclusion: The results of this study indicate that Swiss-ball core strength training exercises can improve strength, endurance, flexibility, & balance in sedentary women.

Previous studies suggest that exercises (curl-ups, double leg lowering, push-ups) performed on a Swiss-ball increase the core muscular activity more than when performed on a stable surface.

This is, at least in part, because  coactivation of the global & local muscles is necessary in order to stabilize the spine and maintain balance & prevent the threat of falling off the Swiss ball.

This Swiss-ball core strength training protocol can be implemented as a preventative training against falls and subsequent injuries in sedentary women related to poor balance, lower limb and core strength.

Key points:

This new study adds further credibility to previous research that the use of unstable platforms such as a Swiss or gym ball can substantially improve strength, endurance, flexibility and dynamic balance in sedentary patients.

In addition, the study emphasizes that exercise training should not be limited to focusing only on the deep stabilizing muscles such as the transverse abdominis and multifidus.

It specifically includes and discusses the role of recruiting and coordinating both the the deep/stabilizing muscles as well as the superficial/global muscles because they all work together as parts of a larger, full kinetic chain functional unit to provide dynamic stability.

These dynamic exercises which recruit and coactivate both deep and global muscles will have considerably more carry-over effect to the real world activities and improve safety and function of the dynamic activities patients engage in in the real world.

The more static exercises which focus primarily only on the transverse abdominis and multifidus are, essentially, muscle isolationist exercises which are really only appropriate in the initial phase of rehabilitation.

Clinicians want to advance their patients to more dynamic exercises which require more balance and full kinetic chain activation.

Methods: Dynamic exercises were used to recruit global (outer (superficial) muscles: rectus abdominis, obliques, latisimus dorsi, & erector spinae and local (deeper) muscles (transverse abdominis, multifidus, & pelvic floor) in order to generate higher levels of force than static isolation exercises which specifically recruit only a few deep muscles: transverse abdominis & multifidus. The recruitment of both superficial and deep muscles helps to develop strength & endurance of all the muscle groups that provide spinal stability. Both types of muscle groups (deep & superficial) have similar activity patterns and simultaneous neuromuscular function during dynamic tasks, especially when performed on an unstable platform. Both deep & superficial muscle groups are important for dynamic spinal stability.

Results: There significant differences between pre & post measures of 60 & 90 seconds of trunk flexion/extension, 60 & 240 seconds of lower limb flexion/extension, abdominal endurance, lower back muscular endurance, lower limb endurance, lower back flexibility, & dynamic balance were found.
Swiss-ball core strength training exercises can improve strength, endurance, flexibility, & dynamic balance in sedentary women.

Thanks to Dr. Malik Slosberg, D.C., M.S. for above information

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