Purpose: Large therapeutic rolls (LTR) and balls are popular rehabilitation tools and have also been advertised as cardiovascular training devices. The aim of this study was to determine if individuals of varying fitness levels would reach aerobic training levels by evidence-based standards as described in American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) publications.
Methods: Fourteen volunteers performed a maximal exercise test and on subsequent days, two submaximal exercise tests on the LTR (LTR-A and -B). LTR-A consisted of four 5-minute stages of exercise at progressive intensity levels. LTR-B included 20 minutes of continuous exercise. Oxygen consumption (VO2) and heart rate (HR) during exercise on the LTR were compared with ACSM recommended standards.
Results: The average (range) peak intensity achieved during LTR-A was 66.8% (51.7-82.7%) of maximal VO2 reserve (VO2R) and 82.9% (70.7%-91.2%) of maximal heart rate (HRmax). During LTR-B, HR and VO2 of all participants was maintained at moderate exercise intensity and averaged 56% of VO2R and 78% of HRmax during the 20 minute exercise period.
Conclusions: These findings suggest that individuals with a wide range of aerobic fitness are able to reach and maintain aerobic training levels with appropriate exercise on a large therapeutic roll or ball.
Keywords: Swiss Ball; aerobic exercise; exercise intensity; large therapeutic roll.