Trainers are constantly in search of new and exciting ways to take their training up a notch. The new millennium introduced stability training as a way of increasing balance challenge. By standing on a dynamic surface, trainers sought to create an unstable environment to stimulate the nervous system to improve balance and thereby, function.
Most recently, destabilized weight training utilizing water filled equipment has become the newest trend in stability training. Water dynamics is now providing a whole new training stimulus. Top-down instability training! It’s this water motion, a moving mass inside a mass, that’s the key. In fact, studies have demonstrated an increase in muscle fiber recruitment when compared with an equal amount of static weight performing the same number of repetitions.
A dynamic, unstable training environment being manipulated by the upper extremities has real-life application. Instead of standing on an unstable surface and manipulating a stable object, by standing on a stable surface and manipulating an unstable object there is greater environmental similarity, and thereby greater opportunity for transference into activities of daily living and sports performance. By utilizing water filled equipment technology, it is possible to work instability throughout a full range of motion in routines that engage the entire body, mimicking real-life situations far more than static weights such as dumbbells.
Inertia means that an object will remain in motion at a constant speed and in a straight line unless acted on by an external force. Inertia also depends on mass. The more mass an object has, the harder it is to move or stop that object. It’s been said that if you throw a bowling ball and a tennis ball with the same amount of force, then the tennis ball would go further because it has less mass than the bowling ball. It would take more force to stop the bowling ball when compared to the tennis ball.
What does this mean for a water-filled training tool? When moving the water-filled equipment, not only does it require a force to start it moving, but also an equal and opposite force to stop it from moving, or to change the direction of the movement. Most significantly, due to water dynamics, the inherent force of the water, which is also moving, stopping and starting at its own speed, creates a “double” eccentric deceleration. The first deceleration is used to stop the movement of the object itself, the second to keep the object in the desired position or path as the water keeps moving inside the object.
One of the other advantages of water-filled equipment is the adjustability factor. One piece of equipment can be appropriate for many different strength and fitness levels. All that needs to be done is to increase or decrease the amount of water — so simple! Shipping costs are also significantly less — since the equipment is sold empty, it’s lighter to ship.
Aside from biomechanics, costs and adjustability, the water-filled equipment advantage lies in the fun-factor. The moment you get your hands on water-filled equipment, it feels more like play than work! The dynamic movement of water is engaging. And, even if you have equipment that is physiologically and biomechanically effective, unless you enjoy using it, it’s just going to sit gathering dust. Water-filled equipment changes the game of functional training and puts the fun back in functional!
Keli Roberts leads the KamagonÒ Development Team and has created several workout programs and a KamagonÒ Ball Certification for fitness professionals. She is a Master Trainer for Kamagon, BOSU, Schwinn, and Precision Nutrition, as well as a Certified Cancer Exercise Specialist. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.keliroberts.com.