Effects of instability versus traditional resistance training on strength, power and velocity in untrained men

J Sports Sci Med. 2014 Sep 1;13(3):460-8. eCollection 2014 Sep.


The purpose of this study was compare the effects of a traditional and an instability resistance circuit training program on upper and lower limb strength, power, movement velocity and jumping ability. Thirty-six healthy untrained men were assigned to two experimental groups and a control group. Subjects in the experimental groups performed a resistance circuit training program consisting of traditional exercises (TRT, n = 10) or exercises executed in conditions of instability (using BOSU® and TRX®) (IRT, n = 12). Both programs involved three days per week of training for a total of seven weeks. The following variables were determined before and after training: maximal strength (1RM), average (AV) and peak velocity (PV), average (AP) and peak power (PP), all during bench press (BP) and back squat (BS) exercises, along with squat jump (SJ) height and counter movement jump (CMJ) height. All variables were found to significantly improve (p <0.05) in response to both training programs. Major improvements were observed in SJ height (IRT = 22.1%, TRT = 20.1%), CMJ height (IRT = 17.7%, TRT = 15.2%), 1RM in BS (IRT = 13.03%, TRT = 12.6%), 1RM in BP (IRT = 4.7%, TRT = 4.4%), AP in BS (IRT = 10.5%, TRT = 9.3%), AP in BP (IRT = 2.4%, TRT = 8.1%), PP in BS (IRT=19.42%, TRT = 22.3%), PP in BP (IRT = 7.6%, TRT = 11.5%), AV in BS (IRT = 10.5%, TRT = 9.4%), and PV in BS (IRT = 8.6%, TRT = 4.5%). Despite such improvements no significant differences were detected in the posttraining variables recorded for the two experimental groups. These data indicate that a circuit training program using two instability training devices is as effective in untrained men as a program executed under stable conditions for improving strength (1RM), power, movement velocity and jumping ability. Key PointsSimilar adaptations in terms of gains in strength, power, movement velocity and jumping ability were produced in response to both training programs.Both the stability and instability approaches seem suitable for healthy, physically-active individuals with or with limited experience in resistance training.RPE emerged as a useful tool to monitor exercise intensity during instability strength training.

Keywords: Unstable surfaces; back squat; bench press; jumping ability; strength training.