BOOK REVIEW: Strength Ball Training, 3rd Edition

Title: Strength Ball Training, 3rd Edition
Authors: Lorne Goldenberg & Peter Twist
Publisher: Human Kinetics Australia, ISBN-13: 9781492511540
Details: Paperback, 352pp
RRP: $33.95 OR $25.47 for Network Members who have joined the Human Kinetics Rewards program HERE and use the promo code NETWORK16 at checkout.

Review by Tony Boutagy PhD, AEP, AES

I can still vividly remember the day my copy of Strength Ball Training, 1st edition arrived in the mail 14 years ago. Inside I found numerous exercises using a Swiss ball and medicine balls to try on myself and use with my clients. I was salivating at the enormous variety of exercises the authors had assembled. The simple fact that this book has been in publication since 2002 and is on to its 3rd edition is testament to the usefulness and applicability of the information it contains.

The science exploring sport and exercise movement advances very quickly, and a real strength of the 3rd Edition is that the authors have read and consolidated a huge amount of work in this area and incorporated it into the latest incarnation.

Strength Ball Training opens with a chapter on the science of training with an unstable surface, such as a Swiss ball. There is a fascinating section on balance, proprioception and myofascial performance. The next chapter explores the practicalities of using a ball in a training session and its use for special populations and settings, such as with youth, for sports conditioning, rehabilitation, while traveling and in the workplace. The fundamentals of using a ball are covered here, from choosing a ball size to precautions when using an unstable apparatus. This chapter provides one of the most comprehensive discussions on Swiss ball training currently available.

The next section covers several important pre-exercise screens, which assess strength, muscular endurance, stability, core control and mobility. This is critical information to gather prior to performing movements that may have a high degree of strength and/or coordination required to perform safely.

The next nine chapters are devoted to exercise techniques and descriptions for core stability and rotation, legs and hips, chest, shoulders and upper back, abdominals, lower back and glutes, biceps, triceps and forearms and whole body movements. This is an exhaustive compendium of exercise variations, able to keep even the most well versed trainer busy with new exercise options.

The book concludes with a chapter on using balls to develop flexibility and a chapter on program design. Many different training goals are covered here, including strength, power, muscle, youth, stability and balance and improved movement. The final program is a 16-week progressive ball workout.

Strength Ball Training is the definitive book on exercising with Swiss balls and medicine balls and is a welcome addition to the shelves of trainers who use this form of training and those who enjoy the wonders of unstable training.