Exercising on unstable surfaces – homemade style

Those who have participated in Functional Fitness or core programs might be well aware of Physioballs and Bosu Balls. Physioballs are also known as Swiss Balls or Stability Balls and are those large blow up plastic spheres folks sit on while doing strange exercises. A Bosu Ball is actually an acronym for BOth Sides Up because you can use either side.  It really looks like a Physioball cut in half.


Both of these items are great for activating your core and developing not only the core strength, but also all the neural-muscular connections (your brain working well with your muscles). If you have any questions about the importance of a strong core, try this quick read – Functional Fitness Defined.

Moving on….let’s talk about homemade core-activation.  There are 2 pieces of equipment I highly recommend. If you are familiar with this site, you can probably already guess what they are.  They are….wait for it….wait for it…Slosh Tubes and Clubbells.

clubbbells 002a

Slosh Tubes are long, 1/2 filled with water, pipes. Simply described, when the water “sloshes” to one side, you are forced to activate you core muscles to stablize. Clubbells are also very excellent tools to help work your core.  Check out this post for more on them. If you have both, then we have a great 12 week program for you called K-Element. Further, if you need directions to make your very own – like those colorful ones I have in the pic above – then download (for free) the Low Cost Gym.

We aren’t going to stop here!

A really cheap way to challenge those neural muscular connections and core muscles is to exercise in sand. Yep, working out in sand is an excellent way to add resistence and to put you off balance a little. Trail runs are also great for this, as you have to jump over logs and roots, while ducking under branches.  These tips are not the same as having some great, core-activating pieces of equipment, however, they can be a great addition to your program.

Most folks can find trails somewhere nearby. As for sand, if you don’t live by the beach, you can still usually find sand at your local school in either the playground or over by a beach volleyball court. Imagine doing Burpees, Bear Walks, Medicine Ball Get-up Stand-up Slams, etc in the middle of a sand pit.  Talk about adding resistance!

The point here is that you don’t have to spend a fortune to get the results you want. Just be a little creative.

Anybody else have any tips in this regard?  Leave a comment on this post and share.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Fast moving Zombies scare me

    Take a traditional isolation exercise (i.e. dumbbell curls) stick in a physio-ball & BANG! You’ve now transformed that traditional iso drill into a core exericise. I love the physio ball. I strayed away from it for the past few years, but am bringing it back into my routine as it seems to be far gentler on my injury prone shoulders.

    The other day I tried standing on the physio ball & doing kettlebell swings – very very challenging, esp with the downward movement of the KB. I found it difficut to counter the momentum generated by the downward swing of the KB – it really pulls you back on your toes, forcing your torso forward off the “edge” of the physio ball – but eventually I should be able to use my *core* & counteract that downward momentum and stay centered over the physio ball.

  2. Kemme Fitness

    He’s not joking folks. I saw him standing on a physioball the other day with a kettlebell. Unbelievable, but he is 100% right about a physioball and a traditional isolation exericse. If you can’t stand on the ball (like me) then kneel on it. Try to stay vertical (don’t sit back) and try some dumbbell curl and presses or whatever fancies you.

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