I remember a number of years ago when I first got started in the training industry. And I attended a fitness conference down in Vancouver. This would be the first time I would get to see and meet Peter Twist, who at the time was the strength & conditioning coach for the Vancouver Canucks. Now Peter was a big advocate of using balance tools in training and incorporated a number of different exercises using stability balls, balance boards and BOSU trainers.
And if the novelty of a new training toy wasn’t enough to get the average exercise, or athlete for that matter, excited about training I don’t know what would. But to make even more enticing we found lots of ways to perform our core training on a balance or stability ball. One of the exercises that came out of this period of training was the stability ball pass from hand to foot.
To perform you start in a supine (on your back) position with a stability ball between the feet. The arms are straight and overhead on the ground. The legs are lifted off the ground and the ball is passed to the hands over the trunk. The ball is then reached overhead as the legs are lowered to the ground in a controlled manner. When performed properly this is a great drill. It incorporates hip & shoulder flexion while having to stabilize through the lumbar region. And who doesn’t need more hip & shoulder mobility plus core stability, right? This seems like a great drill.
Unless of course we compensate when we perform the drill.
How do we compensate? Well imagine that your core stability determines how low you can lower your legs towards the ground when they start in a vertical position. A stable core will allow the legs to lowered all the way to the ground to the point where the heels will brush the ground. If we don’t have good stability through the lumbar our body will attempt to cut a corner to help us get from ‘A to B’. In this case we cut a corner by arching the low back and tilting the pelvis forward. Some may also notice the rib cage lifts as well.
Check out the videos below where I explain the drill, the compensation and provide a solution to the problem.
In the comments section below let me know if you’ve tried this drill before. If so, hopefully you have learned something that will help you do the drill a little better. And if you haven’t done it better you’ll be starting off on the right foot.