DuraBall™ is designed and manufactured in Australia after extensive safety testing at the University of Newcastle. It offers the user a cushioned orthopedic platform which encourages good posture while simultaneously allowing the users balance and sensory mechanisms to retrain deep muscular ( known as "core") movement reflexes essential in supporting and protecting the spine in day to day activities. DuraBall™ retains its shape under dynamic loads, maximising the body's stabilisation process. Core stabilisation using exercise balls such as the DuraBall™ have been promoted by physiotherapists and exercise therapists like Paul Chek for many years. It is ideal for seating, exercise, rehabilitation and can be used with a duraDisc or medicine ball to gain a more challenging workout. The DuraBall™ Swiss ball helps to improve your posture, reduce back pain and brighten up your office/classroom when used as a chair.
These Swiss Balls have variously supported static loads well in excess of 4,000 kg with burst-resistance to a load of 500 kg. This does not mean “puncture proof” but protects you from explosive deflation. Burst resistance means DuraBalls™ are designed to take about 30 secs to deflate if accidentally punctured. They are also tested for deflation under load and durability. Don’t be fooled by Demonstrations showing a ball under a huge load of say 1000 kg without bursting. It will deflect to be very flat. This is exactly what you don’t want when using a ball for exercise. Maintain the roundness under load is what you want. Beware of imitations, there are Balls on the market that look almost exactly like a DuraBall™, with the same colours, look for the DuraBall™ Label.
An ongoing evaluation program at the University of Newcastle helped in the development of Duralon™ a form of PVC. Duralon™ is ideal for rotational moulding which is the process used to make DuraBalls™.
No Toxic Phthalates in DuraBalls
The Duraball manufacturer is based in Australia and in line with current research and health guidelines have led the way in Swiss Ball manufacture by eliminating all phthalates from their products.
Evidence Now In
The risks of exposure to various classes of phthalates (plastic softeners used to make PVC soft and elastic) have been recognised for many years. Recently however a fuller understanding has been gained through various international research programs. Studies by the University of Rochester Medical Center and the Mount Sinai Children’s Medical Health Center have shown various links to poor health outcomes as a result of phthalate exposure.
The primary risk is through injestion by chewing plastics directly or by eating food stuffs stored or processed in contact with plastics. However while the risk of exposure via exercise products would appear to be low, users such as children or pregnant women should avoid using products containing phthalates until more research is completed.
The Duraball Manufacturer states that ‘At the time of this publication we are aware of no other swiss or exercise ball manufacturer who does not use phthalates in their products. This is particularly true of Chinese manufactured balls’.
Increased Kinesthetic Awareness
Because of the unstable nature of the ball, the user is forced to be intrinsically aware of the positioning of theirbody in space.
Flexibility training on the ball has the advantage of training a certain degree of strength at the end range. Having strength at the end of a range of motion not only prevents injury (most muscle tears occur at end range) but allows the user to have control throughout the full potential of the movement while muscles are lengthening (eccentrically contracting). Because the movements come from a stable core, coaches can isolate specific areas for flexibility training and reach goals quickly (distal mobility on core stability).
The unstable nature of the ball forces the user to make constant weight shifts while on the ball, to find their balance points.
Prime Mover Strength
Free weights can be performed on the mediBall. Exercises such as the dumbbell press can isolate the prime movers (pectoralis major, anterior deltoid and triceps) to perform the action, while the stabilisers and neutralisers are working to prevent any other unnecessary movement. Because of the high neural demand of mediBall training, the reps and sets performed can be minimal to gain a training effect. Time efficiency is as importantas any other factor of training.
Because the ball is unstable, the various stabiliser muscle groups are challenged. If the user is unstable, the stabilisers engage to prevent the user from falling off the ball. Good strength and endurance function in joint stabilisers can not only have a performance enhancing role, but may also play a role in injury prevention in the long run. The user will be able to hold form longer, leading to better efficiency.
Core Strength and Control
The concept of core stability should be taught in a stable environment (ie on the floor) initially, and then that stability can be challenged by putting the user on the ball. The user should be able to control movements performed on the ball by using their core stability. Many abdominal strengthening exercises can be performed on the ball in a variety of positions, allowing eccentric, isometric and concentric contraction. Oblique abdominii, rectus abdominis and transversus abdominis may all benefit from these exercises, unlike the traditional rectus abdominis work.