About 25 years ago when I was rehabilitating famous skateboard star Danny Way from an injured spinal cord (at C1 just below the skull where the brain stem is located), one of the exercises I developed for him was simply kneeling on a Swiss ball.
As Danny’s balance and function returned during rehab, he began to do some amazing things on a Swiss ball, like jumping from ball-to-ball while doing a 360° turn in mid-air.
I noticed while we were progressing with his rehab and his exercises got more complex, sometimes he would come back to training and be unable to do the very simple exercises that he could do very well during the last session.
So, I questioned Danny about what he was doing between sessions. Sometimes, he was partying, drinking with friends or doing more skateboarding or different exercises on his own.
I found the more fatigued he was by not resting effectively or taxing other biological systems (elevated blood sugar, not getting enough sleep) the worse he performed at the gym with Swiss ball exercises he could typically do well.
Here’s the problem: The more complex the exercise and the smaller the base of support (the more challenged your balance is) the more neurologically demanding any exercise is. Plus, there’s the more likelihood of injury if you’re not ready for that kind of training.
I began testing Danny at the beginning of each training session by simply asking him to kneel on a Swiss ball. If Danny was ready for complex training, he could easily kneel on the Swiss ball for 30 seconds without struggling or falling off.
My video explains why this Swiss ball test works so well and describes some simple workout modifications you can make that will help your clients maintain their momentum without hurting themselves.
Love and chi,