Balance is the key to all movement requiring the center of gravity over the base of support. Peak athletic performance comes from being able to improve balance, strength and proprioceptive awareness creating greater functionality. The unique dome shaped design of the BOSU ball creates a training stimulus that safely upsets balance and challenges the center of gravity over the base of support at a reflexive level. The BOSU Elite is the next generation of the BOSU balance trainer both created by David Weck. The BOSU Elite is not about instability training as its predecessor, but resistance training.
The original BOSU balance trainer’s dome is made of a pliable material that creates instability. The BOSU Elite’s dome is made of a high-density material that is not as pliable. It provides a powerful dynamic elastic resistance when pressure is applied to the dome that combines the benefits of stability and resistance training. This excites untapped muscle fibers taking the muscles to a max force limit.
WeckMethod Training Overview
WeckMethod training focuses on improving both internal and external balance to improve body biomechanics that aid in better functionality and athletic coordination. It combines innovative equipment and specialized training to enhance the body’s vertical and rotational movements.
Why Is This Important?
A properly functioning balance system allows humans to see clearly while moving, identify orientation with respect to gravity, determine direction and speed of movement, and make automatic postural adjustments to maintain posture and stability in various conditions and activities.
This is achieved and maintained by a complex set of sensorimotor controls that include sensory input from vision (sight), proprioception (touch) and the vestibular system (motion, equilibrium, spatial orientation). There is an integration of the sensory input coming from these three balance systems with motor output to the eyes and muscles. Many different factors can disrupt or impair our balance from injury to aging or even psychological factors. For more information on the role of these three balance systems see “The Human Balance System.”
How Does WeckMethod Training Improve Balance and Coordination?
WeckMethod training is based on four principles: bone alignment, fascial integration, spiraling and optimizing symmetry/asymmetry. It utilizes a somatic approach which emphasizes internal physical perception and experience. The term is used in movement therapy to signify approaches based on the soma, or “the body as perceived from within.” The key to internal balance is tensegrity which refers to the balance and suspension of the bones within the soft tissue.
Standing on the surface of the dome challenges sensorimotor controls and safely upsets internal balance connecting strength to the centerline. Both hemispheres of the brain are forced to communicate with each other and work in better harmony. The left side of the brain is responsible for controlling the right side of the body and performing tasks that have to do with logic. The right side of the brain is responsible for controlling the left side of the body and performing tasks that have to do with creativity. When there is synergy between both halves of the brain the body can work more optimally.
BOSU Elite’s New Design Features
The BOSU Elite maintains the dome shaped design of the original BOSU ball, but the material composition of the dome has changed. The new high-density material creates resistance between your feet and the dome or your hands and the dome. This intensifies feedback to the feet or hands and gives a more powerful exchange of energy between the two.
The BOSU Elite’s high-density dome also creates more stability than the original BOSU balance trainer. There is a dimension of instability to the dome, but because of the upward/outward resistance from the dome material it is easier to find a balanced position. This aids the user in targeting and maintaining specific training positions that would be difficult to perform in the more unstable environment of the original BOSU balance trainer.
The new high-density dome design also includes features that aid the user in how to position their body and feet on the ball for maximal results. Different foot and hand positions on the dome create different force vectors and training stimulus.
The Power Zone with its honeycomb design creates a non-slip work zone. It guides the user to the optimal training area on the dome to promote proper loading throughout the body and maximize the dynamic resistance.
The numbered Power Line guides the body positioning of the hands and feet on the dome for different variations of feedback, tension, ranges of motion and alignment. A narrow foot position (place toes on the 2’s) will create a different training result than a wide foot position (place toes on the 6’s). This allows for many different postural variations to be trained.
WeckMethod Compression Training
With a new training tool comes a new training focus. This new training methodology focuses on resistance and compression. It not only conditions your body for overall performance, but also helps to target the glutes and the dual function of the adductors as flexors and extensors. By compressing the BOSU Elite’s dome an intense resistance is created that excites the nervous system to fire more force faster. This builds TRUE core strength and primes your body to be lighter on the ground, faster on the floor and more powerful under the bar.
I was recently introduced to this tool and compression training protocols by its inventor. This innovative training strategy opened a door to a tangible physical awareness and fluidity. A very exciting thing happens when you jump off the dome after engaging it. The feet feel light and bouncy and the body becomes more engaged.
This new innovative technique is called muscle priming and is a great way to prep the body before any athletic endeavor. Priming sets are performed in less than 30 seconds. The effect on the nervous system is profound as this method aids the user in harnessing the full power of the posterior chain balanced through the balls of the feet. Previously untapped muscle fibers deep within the largest muscles of the body are engaged. This enables the user to lift heavier weights, run faster and jump higher.
Check out David Weck’s video on Compression Training!
BOSU Elite Rating
I would give the BOSU Elite a five star rating. David Weck’s innovative training dome has aided me in healing poor movement patterns created by a stage 3 spondylolisthesis. The Elite’s unique training stimulus is helping me fix and access proper rotation of my right hip. The soft tissue in response to the spondy rotates it out of alignment on a regular basis. By accessing 4th/5th metatarsal on right foot the right hip stays in place longer. I also practice wiggling those toes while driving which seems to help mitigate sitting for my long drives to and from clients. The soft tissue wants to curl me up into a contorted position when I am tired. It has been so great to be able to fight against these forces and improve my daily squat form.