Many clients struggle to maintain stability in the upper/lower body and trunk. Using a stability ball allows for perturbation challenges that increase demand on the nervous system. This unique exercise combines this unstable environment along with single limb support to promote integrated kinetic chain stability.
Execution: Sit on a stability ball with both feet shoulder width apart holding a medicine ball against the chest. The trunk should be erect with a neutral spine angle. Now, lift the right leg a few inches inches above the floor. Next, slowly extend the elbows and press the medicine ball away from the torso (chest press). Pause and then return to the start position keeping the ball at the height of the sternum.
Repeat for 10 repetitions while keeping the right leg off the floor. Switch legs and repeat the same movement. Perform 2-3 sets.
- Increase the cadence
- Increase the weight of the medicine ball
- Perform light perturbation to the client’s trunk or stability ball
- Reduce the weight or perform the pressing motion without weight
- Lightly rest the heel of the unsupported leg on the floor to prevent loss of balance as needed
- Perform the exercise with bilateral lower extremity support
Application: This exercise offers a nontraditional way to train shoulder, torso and lower body stability using a stability ball. It can be effective for clients with low back pain, hip weakness, poor trunk control and rotary instability. Clients have to work on unilateral LE stability and adapt to an unstable base of support while maintaining the desired trunk alignment.