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Getting Older and Stronger on Unstable Surfaces

The study we are sharing with you in this post looked at strength training of 58 older women and 6 males under age 70 .  The comparison was strength training with vs. without the use of unstable surfaces.

Talk to any strength and conditioning coach working with athletes and they may roll their eyes when you talk about strength training with unstable surfaces.  Some of those responses are based on dogma and cognitive dissonance.  We encounter these arguments often with Core-Tex and fully understand that most activities take place on solid ground.  But that does not mean that training on other surfaces does not have a multitude of benefits to the athlete, patient, or client.

Are you going to achieve your maximum lifts on an unstable surface?  Definitely not.  But to say you can get stronger training on unstable surfaces such as Core-Tex defies the scientific evidence. 

But what might be even more interesting are the secondary benefits that occur for an older population.  In the study we are sharing with you here, the subjects in their late 60’s were divided into 3 groups: 

  1. Strength training
  2. Strength training on unstable surfaces
  3. Control group

The study lasted 24 weeks.  The strength training exercises were the same for both groups, except for 1 group did them with unstable surfaces.  Now as we have shared in a previous post, all unstable surfaces are not the same (we compared Core-Tex to to other types of equipment).  But what all unstable surfaces have in common is a lack of predictability and consistency during the exercise that the ground or other fixed surface provides.  This particular study used conforming surfaces (BOSU and air discs) and stability balls.

Both strength training groups showed improvement in dynamic balance, but the unstable training group also showed improvements in functional mobility and a decreased concern of falling.  The authors suggest “health professionals should include devices that promote instability during strength exercises, in order to stimulate both balance and muscle strength, simultaneously.”  Both Core-Tex and Core-Tex Sit can be used for this purpose. 

Strength loss, particularly in an aging population, is not an isolated event.  It occurs as part of many phenotype changes that can be positively influenced through more complex movements, such as training on unstable surfaces.

 Use this link for the full research paper:


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Core-Tex and Core-Tex Sit inventor Anthony Carey had the pleasure and privilege of sharing a great deal of his accomplished fitness career with the listeners from NASM.  How and why Core-Tex and Core-Tex Sit came to be. 
Does it look, feel, and remind you of the task? Does it pass the “smell test”? In other words, is it clearly transferable to the sport or activity you are training for? Not every exercise has to look like a golf swing or pickleball overhead, but there is a need to train the way you play. This is often the dilemma with the application of core training to rotational athletes.

This article originally appeared on

You’re about to get detailed insight into an incredibly unique piece of equipment that is basically a Swiss Army Knife for optimizing numerous aspects of human movement.

It’s known as the Core-Tex Reactive Trainer. I bought it a few months ago and have been putting it through its paces, and…let’s just say it offers some very unique features we need to talk about.

As a physical therapist and strength & conditioning specialist who is obnoxiously passionate about helping patients and athletes overcome injuries and maximize their physical performance, I’m always on the hunt for equipment that can make a difference in their lives.