Windsurfing: balance training is a controversial issue | Photo: PWA/Carter

Balance training has been shown to be effective in rehabilitation and in the prevention of falls in elderly people, but will it increase windsurfing performance? Windsurfer and health promoter Henrik Beyer leaves us an insight into what research has to say about it.

According to a systematic review in the Journal of Athletic Training (2010), researchers claim that the current discussion in scientific literature on the effect of balance training for improvements in functional performance is more speculative than evidence-based.

Henrik Beyer, author of "Health & Fitness for Windsurfing," is still not convinced that balance training is necessary for uninjured windsurfers. It's a controversial issue.

"Uninjured windsurfers get enough of a stimulus to adapt the body to the unstable environment of water when windsurfing," says Beyer. Windsurfers should instead prioritize speed training, strength, reaction as well as endurance to improve sailing performance.

Injured windsurfers can certainly benefit from balance training for rehabilitation, but using stability balls when strength training will limit the amount of weight an individual can lift and therefore reduce the activation of the fast-twitch muscle fibers.

This may be detrimental to the result of windsurfing specific strength training. Beyer suggests that uninjured windsurfers "should only use stability balls when performing abdominal exercises" and recommends plyometric exercises for windsurfers who would like to improve their balance, as well as speed and power.

Learn how to prevent windsurfing injuries, and warm up for better windsurfing.

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