Seeing Stars? The History of the Y Balance Test


Gary Gray was first introduced to me years ago by his NSCA presentation and it was thought provoking. The same time period in the late 1990s I attended From the Center, a seminar with Mike Clark (now with NASM) and Vern Gambetta. Currently the system has leaned up to the Y Balance test, a way to assess symmetry between right and left. The same time I was an intern with the Tampa Bay Rays and they had a EMG Biofeedback system from the Chattanooga company. In the office a manual from Virginia (Cook’s FMS) and I was using the biofeedback system for core training and various squatting exercises, including the overhead squat. Why am sharing this? We currently have a problem with Invisible Gorillas, a belief we are seeing more than we really are and missing valuable information.

Jeff Cubos shared his experiences with the Y Balance test and someone asked me if I thought it was good for hockey or not. I told them I like hockey, but can’t skate to save my life but I do work with some medical people that have worked with teams that use the tests and while the information is specific to hockey, the thought process is universal. Visual symmetry is not muscular symmetry. Some legs may be the same circumference, but coordination is not always going to manifest in hypertrophy, so things get messy just relying on visual information. EMG and Pressure mapping are now integrating to conventional tests, such as the Pedar system with the Y Balance Test. Instead of getting scores separated by 4 cm, we are getting pressure profiles of those scores, far more valuable.

As technology advances, screens will become more useful because they will start actually screening the movements people do. Having a great barbell snatch is a great support exercise for power, and those qualities should help other on ice or field activities, but athletes get hurt usually on the field or court, so scoring those activities are just as valuable.

Carl Valle

Carl Valle

Track & Field Coach
Carl is an expert coach who has produced champions in swimming, track and numerous other sports. He is one of the foremost experts in the fields of nutrition and restoration.
Carl Valle

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