While there are many great fitness tools to utilize during ski and winter sport preparation such as BOSU Balance Trainers, pillow discs, Gliding discs, Slide Board, Concept 2 Ski Erg, RIP Trainer, TRX Suspension System, etc. the Strongboard is an excellent addition to your fitness tool box.
The Strongboard Balance “is comprised of four springs centered between the platform and a base. The springs act as a fulcrum and create a first class lever system”www.strongboardbalance.com. We utilize this tool in all of our training programs where applicable whether personal training, large group exercise, small group training and our specific annual Ski Preparation Program. This tool, like the others listed above, are not for everyone. However, with proper exercise design, supervision and execution, the vast majority of clients are able to utilize the Strongboard in some training capacity.
This week, consider the two squat exercises (among a significant variety of movement patterns possible) performed on the Strongboard as additions to your winter sport preparation (or any sport/activity preparation where proprioception, reaction time, stability and balance are required). As always, prior to beginning any exercise program, please consult your physician.
Strongboard Squats – all variations – perform 1-3 sets of 8-12 repetitions of this exercise on two-three non-consecutive days/week. It is suggested to set up the Strongboard next to a stable surface such as a ballet barre in the event of loss of stability/balance. And, master the fundamental exercise prior to adding any external load (i.e. you must be able to safely and effectively stabilize prior to adding any external load or additional movement pattern challenges).
Strongboard Squats – variation #1 – 10lbs. – standing with the legs approximately shoulder distance apart on top of the strongboard, holding a 10lb. kettlebell in both hands like a goblet at your chest height, hinging from the hip joint, sit back as though you were going to sit in a chair, keeping the torso tall, body weight in the heels, knees over heels, then, drive through the heels into a standing position. Make certain to stand completely up extending the hip joint, avoid squatting with “the knees”, always hinge from the hip joint and during the down phase of the squat, avoid squatting lower than a 90 degree angle at the knee joint (i.e. hamstrings parallel to the floor). *Trains the quadriceps/hamstrings/glutes and nose to toes core.
Strongboard Squat with Overhead Press – variation #2 – 4-10lb. medicine ball – standing with the legs approximately shoulder distance apart on top of the strongboard, holding the medicine ball in both hands in front of the chest, hinging from the hip joint, sit back as though you were going to sit in a chair, keeping the torso tall, body weight in the heels, knees over heels, then drive through the heels into a standing position as you press the medicine ball to the ceiling. This significantly changes your center of gravity, so move through your range of motion very slowly ensuring that you are stable throughout. Your legs, as with any squat on the strongboard, will shake a bit and wobble and that is part of the drill (i.e. the proprioceptors in the lower legs are firing significantly). Your job is to stabilize as this unstable surface moves. *Trains the quadriceps/hamstrings/glutes/deltoids and nose to toes core.