As an athletic and performance oriented person, I’ve always got my eye on new athletic challenges that would be fun to achieve.  I’ve had a fascination with fitness, especially functional training, balance, stability, and athletic performance for years.  I also get a lot of personal satisfaction out of achieving personal triumphs even if I am the only one who understands why I set the goals I do ;).

My progression to being able to go from the floor to standing on the stability ball started back when I was learning to be a trainer.  It’s not like I decided one day long ago that I would eventually be able to stand on the ball.  It’s more like I just knew some day I would do it…and then eventually I did.

Meeting the Challenge
Just like any goal, there are elements to it that seem hard, and elements to it that seem kind of easy.  Standing on the ball with no assistance is a step-by-step process that takes patience, focus, core strength training, and some talent (at least a little anyway).  The core strength training program I’ve used for years is what allowed me to develop the balance, stability, and focus necessary to achieve this personal goal.

Core Strength Training

  • I use a core strength training program that includes using the stability ball.
  • I progressed myself from the most basic sit-up to advanced sit ups, push-ups, and weight training movements that include the ball.
  • My workout program trained my nervous system to activate all the muscles necessary to allow me to stand on the ball.

Patience

  • In the thesaurus, synonyms for patience include: endurance, staying power, tolerance, persistence & fortitude.  These are all elements of the mental attitude required to achieve any personal goal.  I applied these over the long term and it allowed me to progress toward standing on the ball.
  • Of course I didn’t stand on the ball on my first attempt, but I knew how to train over time to give myself the opportunity to achieve it.

Focus

  • Achieving this goal required long term focus.  I had to allow myself to be ready to do it.  I had to be open to recognizing when the time was right to try it.
  • Focus is also required during the movement.  I trained myself to block out other gym members and mental distractions that could cause me to fall.

Talent

  • When I felt ready I began standing on the ball with assistance very close by and the option to grab something in case I fell.
  • The main challenge was going from kneeling with hands on the ball to having both feet on the ball in the position that would allow me to stand up.
  • I tried going from the floor to standing position on the ball a number of times.  The first few tries I was very timid and I didn’t make it.  Then, one day while a client went to get a drink I had the thought to try it.  He walked away and I just did it without even thinking.
  • In fact, when he came back I decided I needed to do it again to make sure that I didn’t imagine the entire scene.  I didn’t.
  • Now I can just do it and it’s not really that difficult.

What purpose does it serve?

As I have said in many previous posts, if you want to achieve fitness results, you should have a goal.  You can have general purposes such as being healthy and looking good, and within those general purposes (goals) you can also have more specific challenges such as completing a 5K, racing a marathon, or mastering a certain sport.

One of my personal fitness goals is improved athletic performance.  I know that improving athletic performance requires challenging balance, stability, and core strength so I choose incremental goals that correlate with that.  Teaching myself to stand on the stability ball was an achievable aim that I can take pride in as I progress towards reaching my personal fitness goals.

When I work with clients I use the same approach to help them achieve their personal fitness goals.  For example, when I began training Bud Gibson, his goal was to master the two ball push-up (another difficult core strength movement).  I designed a step-by-step plan that allowed him to progress towards achieving his goal.

Everyone might not be capable of standing on a stability ball, but anyone can create a plan that allows you to set and achieve personal goals.  This is the key to staying motivated and excited about your fitness plan.