4

I'm not looking for a product review as that is not on topic on this SE and i can just google some. I've seen the positive reviews online for the bosu ball on other websites.

How is the bosu ball suppose to help for rehabilitation purposes?

Wikipedia.com has scholarly references that indicate that it's not any more efficient than on stable ground, but it didn't speak of any context relating rehabilitation.

Is the intention that it works because it increases the nerve endings to activate your muscles on joints? If so is this sound science? I'm rather skeptical.

6

The BOSU ball (or half ball) is used in rehab and fitness training for a variety of reasons. Balancing on the disc while doing movements, activities and exercise engages the nervous system to fine-tune muscle control which improves or controls joint positioning. This is particularly important in rehabilitation where the joint position sense* has been compromised due to injury.

  • How Does the BOSU help for Rehabilitation Purposes?

    In the right setting, the BOSU can be an effective training device. It's use can be helpful for balance training, muscle control, and joint stability such as for the spine, knee and ankle. In addition to injury rehabilitation, it is used with children and elderly with balance problems.

    According to Behm, Drinkwater, Willardson, and Cowley in The Use of Instability to Train the Core Musculature: (pg 9)

  • The use of unstable devices may provide the greatest benefits in rehabilitation-type settings to restore normal function of the core musculature among injured athletes or in commercial-type settings to maintain or increase the function of the core musculature in untrained or recreationally active individuals.

  • How does it work?

    BOSU's pdf, The Science Behind Balance Training gives a good overview on the feedback mechanisms of balance and neural control. It discusses proprioception, kinesthesia, sensory receptors and the vestibular control. The feedback loop from the sensory receptors in the joints, tendons and the muscle relays information to the central nervous system which controls and adjusts in response. It suggests that:

    the goal of training on unstable surfaces is to increase muscle activity without necessarily increasing load.

As pointed out in the Behm review, unstable devices:

  • are not recommended as the primary exercises for hypertrophy, absolute strength, or power, especially in trained athletes.

Your skepticism may come from the fact that there has been a

  • dichotomy of opinions on the effectiveness and application of instability devices and conditions for health and performance training.

    Problems include quantifying balance in healthy individuals and strength gains given testing on an unstable surface.

*Joint Position Senses:

  • Kinesthesia - body's perception of movement
  • Proprioception - body's perception of joint position
1

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.