There are many different exercise trends which come and go, but the one trend which has successfully “rolled” through the last century, is the exercise ball. The exercise ball has been around since the 1900’s. Like the resistance bands, it was originally used in a physical therapy and rehabilitation setting. It is also known as the Swiss ball, Stability Ball, and the Physio Ball.
It focuses on core strength and functional training which involves strengthening the torso for better workouts and less injuries. Fitness experts now know it's one of the best ways to strengthen the abs and back and increase stability. When you incorporate the ball, with strength training, the added benefits include improved balance, flexibility, and coordination. For this reason, the ball has hit the fitness mainstream and is used in fitness classes, and regularly by personal trainers.
One of the main benefits of using the ball comes from its functional aspects. Your muscles must work to keep the ball stable during exercise movements. It challenges your core muscles, making you stronger from the inside out. The core muscles, also known as postural muscles, include abdominal, mid and lower back muscles.
You can use the exercise ball for various exercises. For example, you can use the ball as a weight bench when doing a chest press or bicep curl. This will add difficulty to the movements and incorporate the muscles of your legs, butt and abs. The ball is predominately used in exercise classes for abdominal training
Before you buy a ball, make sure it's the right size for your height. To test it, sit on the ball and make sure your legs are parallel to the floor and your knees are at a 90-degree angle. If you are unable to sit on the ball prior to purchasing it, here are some height guidelines:
55 cm - 4'11" – 5’6"
65 cm - 5'7" – 6’ 1”
75 cm - 6'2" - 6' 7"
If you're overweight or obese, you might be wondering if you can use an exercise ball. Many companies sell burst-resistant balls that often hold up to 600 pounds. You can also find exercise balls at most fitness, sporting goods and some department stores.