FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Instability Training Good or Bad?

Asking for trouble…

Asking for trouble…

I was checking out some fitness columns and I came across an interesting article published in the Washington Post on instability training, or training on unstable surfaces like a physioball (swissball) or a BOSU.

Now, everyone is entitled to their own opinions on things, but mis-information is not an opinion…it’s just plain wrong.

The article went on to talk about how instability training is effective for training other areas of the body (which isn’t entirely untrue…but there’s more to it than that). Basically, the premise is that training on an unstable surface forces you to use more muscles in the body to stabilize the movement. Exercises like “Stability Ball Bench Press” and “Stability Ball Bench Press with Feet Elevated on an Inverted BOSU” were discussed. Seriously, how ridiculous does that sound?

Here are some pictures from the article so you can have a visual reference. Please, click on these photos and seriously try to comprehend how foolish it is to do something like this. By the way, the photo credit should go to NSCA but it was incorrectly referenced in the article as the NCSA, as shown on the picture.  Another one of my gripes with the overall article content.




By lying on a physioball, you truly are creating an unstable surface. You will have to balance by activating other muscles in the body. But the muscular activation will in no way compensate for the decreased weight you’ll have to use OR the risk involved with an exercise like this. Additionally, it’s almost impossible for you to do these exercises on your own. You must have a partner to give you the bar and take it from you when you’re done.

Here’s some basic physics for you. The farther from your body the weight is, the more unstable you’ll be. Conversely, the closer the weight, the more stable you become. But, the closer the weight is to the chest, the more difficult it becomes to press and the greater the chance of “sticking” or hitting a point in the range of motion where you can’t effectively move the weight up. If that happens, you’ll most certainly need the help of a spotter. Worst yet, you may need to “dump” the weight. In that situation, you can’t just push the bar off of you as you could on a stable bench. If you do, the ball shoots out to one side, you hit the floor and the weight gets a nice soft landing on your head or torso. The chance of that happening anyway is also a factor. Oh yeah, the ball could burst too. Yes, they’re built to endure a lot of compression, but you won’t have that issue with a bench at all.

Now lets look at the second picture. Inverting a BOSU and placing your feet on it will only make you MORE UNSTABLE and not in a good way. Adding the increased instability to the equation will in no way make the exercise more beneficial! This is, unfortunately, a huge misconception in the fitness industry. It’s an industry that thrives on evolution and industry leaders and gurus are constantly looking for the next best thing. Unfortunately, movements like the ones above are the result of that quest.



Bottom line: Don’t get sucked into thinking instability training will aid your overall training or progression. Physioballs have their place, but it’s not underneath you while you’re pressing a weight. As for standing on a BOSU and lifting weight, all that will make you better at is standing on a BOSU. It won’t carry over to your athletic prowess. Additionally, strength gains will be drastically limited since the very nature of instability training requires you to work with a lesser load.

OUCH…This is going to end BADLY!

OUCH…This is going to end BADLY!

Conclusion: Training on unstable surfaces has it’s place, but instability training is, for the most part, a waste of time when it’s performed as detailed above. Use your head and think about what you’re doing. If it seems ridiculous, it probably is.  If you truly want to get stronger, just stick with the fundamentals. If you’re an athlete, work the skill sets of your sport, while developing strength in the gym. The two together will be much more beneficial than trying to stand on a ball.

On a side note, one individual who posted a comment on the article from the Washington Post said it best: “…one legged dumbbell rows will not make you a better athlete….these implements and adaptations only give the notion that we are doing something “functional” and “lifelike,” when in reality it is simply taking a non-functional movement and making it awkward. One would be better off doing heavy rows and heavy bench presses than light rows on a BOSU ball or bench presses on a swiss ball.”

Food for thought.

Until next time, keep training hard!





I am a fan of protein shakes. I have one almost every day. People often ask for good recipes, so here are just a few of my favorites. The secret to any recipe is to tweak it until it suits you. Some like thicker, some prefer thinner. Keep playing with the ingredients until you make it your own.

O.J. Protein Smoothie:


Combine the following ingredients in a high-speed blender:

1/2 cup Orange juice

1 Orange (peeled)

3/4 cup water and/or ice

2-1/2 tbsp Almonds sliced/or 1 tbsp flax oil

30-40 grams Whey Protein

*Blend on High until smooth

**Add additional water to reach desired consistency

Blueberries Protein Smoothie:


Combine the following ingredients in a high-speed blender:

1-1/2 cups blueberries

1/2-cup water and/or ice

30-40 grams Whey protein

2-1/2 tbsp Almonds sliced or 1 tbsp flax oil

*Blend on High until smooth

**Add additional water to reach desired consistency

Mixed Berry “Super-Nutrition” Protein Smoothie:


Combine the following ingredients in a high-speed blender:

• 10 oz. of plain whole milk yogurt, kefir or coconut milk/cream

• 1-2 raw high omega-3 whole eggs (optional)

• 1 Tbsp. of extra virgin coconut oil

• 1 Tbsp. of flaxseed or hempseed oil

• 1-2 Tbsps. unheated honey

• 1-2 scoops (1/4-1/2 cup). protein powder (optional)

• 1-2 cups of fresh or frozen mixed-berries (blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries)

*Blend on high until smooth

**Add additional water to reach desired consistency

Properly prepared, this Mixed-Berry Protein smoothie is an extraordinary source of easy-to-absorb nutrition. It contains large amounts of “live” enzymes, probiotics (vitally important “live” proteins), and a full spectrum of essential fatty acids.

Smoothies should be consumed immediately or refrigerated for up to 24 hours. If frozen in ice cube trays with a toothpick inserted into each cube, smoothies can make for a great frozen dessert.

Feel free to play around with different berry combinations. You might find something you really like.

Send us an email with your best creation. We’ll post it in a future article and make sure you get credit for it!

Happy blending!

TAKU’s NOTE: Friday June 21st was the official start of summer. With the longer days, outdoor fun, and body-surfing in mind…I offer these Super Summer Protein Smoothies. Try them out and let me know what you think. Better yet, send me your favorite recipe and I’ll post it here on the T.N.T. Blog!!

The Science of Strength:


The Science of Strength

As easy as 1 – 2 – 3

1. Progression: Making the workout or exercise more challenging over time. This could be adding weight to strength exercises, or running faster or longer with cardiovascular training. Either way if you are not challenging your body no improvement will happen.


2. Overload: Is when the body is challenged through intense exercise and the muscles are worked past their current capacities. This training “environment” is what sets the scene for improvement.


3. Recovery: After the muscles have been overloaded they need time to adapt and get stronger. This process takes between 48* - 96 hours +.

So the science of getting stronger is as follows:


1. Train as hard as you can on each exercise to make sure overload takes place.


2. Allow the body to rest and recover. You can’t rush improvement.


3. When you return to the weight room try to add weight or repetitions to each exercise.

The science of getting stronger is easy to understand. It is the application that is challenging. There are no secret routines or special exercises, just simple things that need to be done a certain way, for an extended period of time.

Train Hard!


(*minimum recovery period for athletes with optimal recovery ability).

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: What does research suggest?


In 2004, Dave Smith and Stewart Bruce-Low of the Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences at the University of Liverpool in England began to investigate High-Intensity vs. High Volume strength training - examining the parameters of sets, repetitions, training frequency, duration, intensity and speed of movement. In December of that year they published an article in the Journal of the American Society of Exercise Physiologists titled:

“Strength Training Methods and the Work of Arthur Jones.”

The research duo examined twenty studies that explored speed of movement during exercise and arrived at two outcomes: ONE, that slow training was superior to explosive training (for strength and power); and TWO, that there was no significant difference between slow and fast speeds. In four studies, they identified and exposed the serious risk of injury from explosive training. “It appears that Jones’ recommendation,” they concluded, “that slow, controlled weight training is all that is necessary to enhance both muscular strength and power is correct.”


In their investigation, explosive training produced, at best, a similar result - and at worst, an inferior result - to that of slow, controlled exercise . . . with one major difference: explosive training embodied an elevated risk of injury. High-risk exercise with no added benefit makes about as much sense as hitting your head against a wall to prepare for the impact forces experienced in an American football game.

Despite clear facts to the contrary, advocates of explosive training continue to preach their unique version of physiology, and cite research to support their claims, that:

  1. Fast-twitch muscle fibers (thought to be prime contributors to power-oriented performances) are activated by a fast speed of movement. And conversely, that slow-twitch muscle fibers are activated by a slow speed of movement. Hence the mantra, “If you train fast, you’ll be fast; and if you train slow, you’ll be slow.”

  2. Fast speed of movement during exercise is vital to develop “power” for sports and/or activities of daily living.

The second claim has been critically challenged, if not negated, by the research of Smith and Bruce-Low. Which leaves us with the first claim, that muscle fibers are preferentially activated by speed of movement.


In support of that premise, Dr. Ralph N. Carpinelli, Human Performance Laboratory at Adelphi University in Garden City, New York made an exhaustive review of the scientific literature on the subject and reported his findings in the Journal of Exercise Science and Fitness, volume 6, number 2, 2008.

Carpinelli’s analysis of muscle-fiber recruitment revolved around the Size principle, in his words,

perhaps the most supported principle in neurophysiology.”


TAKU’s NOTES: After our first 50 episodes we’re taking a short break, as we get ready to produce even more awesome content for our T.N.T. listeners. With that in mind, this week’s article features some interesting information in support of Effort-Based strength training with regards to the work of NAUTILUS inventor Arthur Jones.



This week marks our 50th podcast episode!


In honor of this week’s podcast episode #50 we are excited to once again be joined by our friend, and fellow evidence-based exercise specialist Patty Durell from Rock Solid Fitness. Patty was kind enough to take some time from her very busy schedule to visit with us, and chat about where we are, where we’ve been, and where we want to go.

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Join Jesse, Liam, and Patty Durell as we discuss things we have learned during our first 50 episodes such as how we stay fresh and focused, things we have learned from some of our amazing guests, how we maintain our work/friendship relationship as we move our business forward, and what we are looking forward to as we expand our presence into the social media world and beyond.


Jesse and I would like to thank all of our listeners out there, and invite you to reach out to us anytime with questions. We are here to help you. Let us know what type of content you would like to hear more of. Who would you like us to have on our show as a guest? What topics do you want us to dig into a little deeper?

Drop us a line at

We are ready to help you with all your fitness needs!

Get ready to embrace an active lifestyle that you’ll love.


In this week’s podcast #49 we are joined by Dr. Michelle Segar. Dr Segar is a motivational scientist, and leads the Sport, Health, and Activity Research and Policy (SHARP) Center at the University of Michigan.

Michelle's primary mission is to help people who have struggled to stay motivated as well as the professionals who work with them.


Her book No Sweat translates years of research on exercise and motivation into a simple four-point program that will empower you to break the cycle of exercise failure once and for all.

You’ll discover why you should forget about willpower and stop gritting your teeth through workouts you hate. Instead, you’ll become motivated from the inside out and start to crave physical activity. You’ll be hooked!


Practical, proven, and loaded with inspiring stories, No Sweat makes getting fit easier and more fun than you ever imagined.

TAKU’s NOTE: T.N.T. and Dr. Segar agree that there is real value, and health benefits from behaviors like obtaining enough quality sleep and embracing an active lifestyle. Her research suggests that people are more likely to sustain health behaviors if they understand that they are essential to their daily lives. So stop looking for that perfect parking space…A little extra walking will do you some good.

Multi-Directional Resistance Systems

Jeff Caebolt PhD

Jeff Caebolt PhD

In this week’s podcast episode #48 we are thrilled to bring you our conversation with Jeff Casebolt PhD. Jeff is an instructor at West Texas A&M University.

Jeff has been actively involved in the fitness industry since 1991, working as a personal trainer, strength and conditioning coach, and corporate fitness coordinator.


Along with his teaching and research, Jeff is also Director of Biomechanical Research for Dynavec Multi-Directional Resistance Systems. Dynavec has developed several amazing machines that allow the user to simultaneously provide meaningful resistance against muscular actions across several planes of motion. The jewel in the crown of the Dynavec line is the Gluteator.

This multi-directional vectoring allows for a more complete stimulus as well as helping support the development of more injury resistant athletes.

Although Jeff has a strong connection to working with athletic populations, the Dynavec machines are effective for fitness participants at all levels.

His research interests include increasing function with strength training across all ages, lower body power development, injury mechanisms, and fall prevention among the elderly.


Jeff knows that with regards to fall prevention in the senior population, the safest most efficient, and effective way to effect positive change is through the application of evidence-based strength training protocols.

TAKU’s NOTE: I was very fortunate while at the REC 2019 to have the opportunity to meet both Jeff Casebolt and, Kent Fulks: designer, creator, and mad-scientist behind the Dynavec Gluteator. If your gym doesn’t have a Gluteator…You better get one NOW!!



In this week's Podcast #47, we are joined by one of Canada's top strength coaches, Michael Petrella.


Michael is the owner and head trainer at STG Strength and Power.  To date Michael has opened and expanded through 5 facilities over the past 12 plus years. Michael is the current recipient of the coveted R.E.C. “Envy Award,” earned for his current training location, which is regarded by many as one of the finest and best equipped private gyms in the world. Michael works one-on-one with clients, who range from young teens to 70 and 80 year olds.

Michael holds several high-level certifications including being a MEDX /HIT/Arthur Jones certified personal trainer with the I.A.R.T. and a Certified Master Trainer with S.P.A.R.T.A.

Michael’s achievements include being recognized by the World Head of Family Sokeship Council for having the “Most Innovative Training Program” and being published in Fitness Science Annual and RescindX’s Strength from the Shadows magazine.


Michael and his team at STG are known for working with competitive power lifters. They have trained two clients to WPC/AWPC World Championships in powerlifting and the powerlifting team has achieved over 50 world records that are recognized in 4 different powerlifting organizations – the WPC, RPS, 100% Raw, and IPA.

Michael Petrella practicing what he preaches.

Michael Petrella practicing what he preaches.

TAKU’s NOTE: Jesse and I were lucky enough to meet Michael Petrella and other members of the STG Team at the 2019 Resistance Exercise Conference in Minnesota. We are both looking forward to having the opportunity of visiting Michael and his team to explore all of the amazing machines, and strength training tools he has amassed at STG.