You’ve probably heard of using foam in the weightroom. Previously, you might have only thought of using it for resting your knee on, while your stretching your hip flexors.
Well, a recent talk with Mike Hanley of HanleyStrength.com changed that.
He told me that he had his clients marching on thick foam to help with their knee and hip problems. He said Louie Simmons had told him about it. How he has been using it for activation and rehab purposes.
It is also well recognized in the powerlifting community that foam can also be used on the box squat, and we will talk about this too, later in this article.
Now, this of course got me thinking about other uses of foam. I ordered a few blocks and started incorporating it into my program and the program of my clients.
Let’s look at a few different ways that you can incorporate foam into the weightroom.
As you learned in the Chaos Manual:
Unstable foam surface = good rehab
Unstable foam surface = not good for power development
Studies from the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP) confirm my publication:
“Instability resistance exercises induce high muscle activation of postural limb and trunk muscles. The increased activation has been attributed to the increased stabilization functions. Instability resistance training with its high muscle activation and lower external stress on joints could also be beneficial for general musculoskeletal health and certain types of rehabilitation.”
“Unstable conditions can lead to decreased force and power output, decreased range of motion and velocity. Furthermore ground based weight training exercises such as squats and dead lifts can provide equal or greater trunk activation than using instability devices. Another study has also reported that highly trained individuals do not experience greater trunk activation when performing exercises under light or moderately unstable conditions.”
“Since many of the benefits of instability devices can be achieved with high resistance involving ground based free weights, advanced resistance trained individuals may not need to emphasize this type of training in their strength and power training programs.”
“The benefits of instability resistance training may be more pronounced for those individuals pursuing primarily general health and rehabilitation benefits and not participating in training with free weights involving high loads.”