LeBron James Heals Himself by Standing Still

Premier Health Now

It’s no secret that basketball superstar LeBron James is a popular draw on social media, but you might be surprised to know that his most recent viral video doesn’t feature a spectacular dunk, pass or shot. Instead, over 3.2 million Instagram viewers have watched James balance himself on two clear pillows as he goes through a series of drills with his trainer.

Premier Health Now spoke with Brett Hoffman, sports and human performance coordinator with Premier Health, to learn more about the pillows, called Waff Mini Elites, and what makes them special.

“These pillows help an athlete wake up the neurological pathways that help muscles stabilize and balance,” Hoffman says. “Our bodies have a subconscious way of telling us how we are oriented in space. If I close my eyes, for example, I can touch my nose with my finger because my body knows where my hand and my nose are located. This is simply known as proprioception.”

Rewired for Recovery

When an athlete becomes injured, proprioceptors can become impaired, and muscles may need to be retaught how to stabilize themselves before returning to action. In James’ case, the pillows not only helped rewire his body’s response to an injured ankle, but they also allowed his trainer to clearly assess his recovery.

Hoffman stresses that proprioception training tools, such as these pillows and BOSU® balls, aren’t just for athletes, but can also be critical for aging populations as part of a routine strength and conditioning regimen.

“One of the things we can take for granted is good balance and proprioception, but as people age, something like a fall can be catastrophic,” Hoffman says. “Incorporating this kind of training into one’s routine is very beneficial as you get older. Maintaining that has a big impact on how successfully we age.”