You must have seen those bright and bouncy balls in your gym, right? These balls, known in the fitness circuit as stability balls, can give you a full body workout without you having to do much. Yes, you can simply use those balls for sitting and bouncing to improve your strength, cardio endurance, and balance. Stability balls are also called balance balls, Swiss balls,exercise balls or fitness balls.
Benefits of a stability ball
According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), US, the biggest benefit of stability ball is providing and improving the balance of an individual. Major joints like knees and hips enable your mobility and stability. Mobility refers to a person’s ability to move freely, and stability means the ability to maintain a particular posture. Incorrect posture or external injury can compromise the functionality of your joints, leading to instability. Basic exercise on a stability ball triggers joints to increase your stability. According to the National Institute of Health, US, performing basic moves on an unstable surface leads to more intense muscle activity than regular exercises. With a greater muscle involvement, the risk of developing muscle and spinal strain, reduces.
The findings of the American Council on Exercise, US, suggest that stability ball exercise before weight training can help in the development of proper movement pattern. You will be able to derive more benefits from weight training, if you have proper movement.
Choosing the right stability ball
The first step of a stability ball workout is to choose the a ball with appropriate size. Your choice should be based on the following chart. A ball too small or too big, would slip out from your control, causing injury and inability to perform the required exercise.
Height: 5’8″ and less – Ball size: 55 cm
Height: between 5’9″ and 6’2″ – Ball size: 65 cm
Easy-to-do stability ball workouts
Here are some of the common stability exercises that will help give you a full body workout.
Increase the involvement of your core muscles by holding a stability ball over your head as you practice a traditional squat. To perform this exercise, stand straight and firm, hold a stability ball over your head. Lower your hip into a deep squat, and make sure that your knee doesn’t go ahead of your toes. Go down and come up with the ball still over your head. Repeat this exercise 20 times.
Stability ball plank
If you thought that regular plank was hard, get ready to experience stability ball plank, which will fire up your core no time. To perform this exercise, place your elbow on top of the ball, with the hands interlinked. Keep your abs,chest and stomach off the ball, with your legs straight back, forming a line with shoulder, hip and heel. Try to hold this position for as long as you can.
Stability Ball pushup
For extra core challenge, take your regular push-up, up from a solid ground and try performing it over a stability ball. Stability ball push-up will engage your pectoral muscles, shoulders and abdominals. To do this exercise, firmly place both your hands on the ball to make that it does not slip out, then extend your leg back and making a straight line withyour should, hip and heel. Now, push your chest closer to the ball by bending your elbows. Try to touch your chest on the ball and come back to form a straight line. Repeat this movement for 15 times.