Monday, July 11, 2011

Physio Ball Stretch Circuit

Here is a circuit of stretches using the Physio Ball that I am trying out with my athletes. We would complete this pre-workout, just after foam rolling, and/or post workout as part of our regeneration work. I really like using the ball for the stretches because it makes it easy to get the right amount of intensity and also helps position the athlete correctly. Often, players will "fake" stretch, and get into positions that kind of look right, but aren't.

By supporting themselves with the ball, we can easily keep natural spinal allignment, and use body weight to get the desired intensity, instead of trying to force a position which is uncomfortable. Most of these stretches were held for about 5 seconds in the video, or for 5 reps, but generally we would hold positions for about :20-:30 or move in and out of the stretch about 10 times.

The order goes like this:
1/2 Kneeling Quad/Hip Flexor
Figure 4
Short Adductors
Long Adductors
Hip Internal Rotation (mobility, not flexibility, but who's keeping track)
Pec Minor


  1. I'm not sure I like the Hip IR exercise. It's hard to tell but it looks like there's a good deal of valgus force being applied to the knee (MCL). I like the rest. What is the advantage of doing these exercises on the ball versus the floor other core strength/balance?

  2. Thanks for the comments and questions ATatFSC! I hear your concern for valgus force, and perhaps the video wasn't from the best angle, but I will have to respectuflly disagree. In fact, using the wall in front of the knees to limit forward progress helps to eliminate that problem. Also, while there is a valgus moment occuring, there is little to no force on the MCL, as the person maintains hip extension and therefore shifts the force to the core and hips extenders.

    I actually am a big fan of this mobility exercise as it is difficult to address internal rotation, which of course is often significantly reduced, especially in men. As a result, if INT ROT is lost, that motion will have to be "made up" somewhere and has been implicated in low back pain, as well as groin injuries, including sports hernias. Also, a loss of INT ROT will actually result in higher valgus forces as the neccessary excursion shifts from allowable and controlable valgus movement to end range/injury producing movement more quickly as there is basically less room until you hit a wall (tear something).

    I like the ball as it makes getting into specific positions a little easier, as well as making "deep" stretches a bit more user friendly...bodyweight does the work and you can focus on breathing. There is probably some small carryover to core stability and balance, although that's not my primary concern