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Worked Out With A Swiss Ball?
Swiss balls are used for training your whole body with moves that are fun and innovative. They go by a number of names, so don’t be worried if you have never heard the term. Often used in Pilates, they are sometimes referred to as yoga balls, sports balls, gym balls, body balls, or balance balls. The good news is that they can be used in a versatile manner to rapidly improve your physique.
Swiss ball training allows you to improve your coordination and stability because the surface of the ball is unstable. Everyone has heard about the importance of training the core and these balance balls provide a unique way to target these muscles. On a Swiss ball you are effectively in a fight against gravity, you really have to work the muscles of the abdomen, the gluteus and the leg muscles to stay on-board. These outlying muscles really get a hammering when you take one on in the gym.
Over time, your muscles learn to react more rapidly as they get used to handling the new workload. This happens because the individual core muscles are gradually lengthened and become more responsive over time. Eventually, these newly activated muscles work to increase the core strength which has many advantages. The core is linked to everything in your body, it is like the central hub that holds everything in balance.
If you want to have less back pain, more strength and agility, you need to start working your core. Traditional planks and ab crunches are okay, but today exercise has gotten more sophisticated and you can use a whole new plethora of tools and techniques to specifically target parts of the body that were previously hard to isolate.
Full Body Benefits
However, these balls do more than just activate the core muscles of the body, which include the abdominal muscles. They also work on the outlying muscles of the hips and shoulders. The increased responsiveness of those muscles, combined with a strengthened core actually eliminates many athletic injuries. Bodies trained using a Swiss ball will respond more favorably for instances to stresses in football, martial arts, or anything where explosive power or contact is a necessity.
Just ask a 150kg strongman how he pulls a truck or lifts an atlas stone, the first thing they will say is they have a strong core. Yes they may have a 46 inch waist but underneath is a ridiculously strong core. A strong core is a wonderful asset to have in daily life as it can help protect you if you stumble and take a fall for instance. Once you learn how to activate your core you can tighten it at will and this will act like your suit of armour.
Swiss balls come in a variety of sizes for good reason. Buy one that is too large for your height, and you risk harming yourself or over- or under-working your targeted muscle groups. Before purchasing one, check the size chart to select the right one for your personal dimensions.
When people first begin working out with a Swiss ball, they find that the movements are awkward to complete. Don’t worry about this, because you will become more proficient over time. The good news is that your newly activated muscles will provide many benefits, including a more balanced posture and a reduction in chronic pain levels.
What Exercises To Start With
Like all things you are new to, start with the basics and progress from there. Swiss ball prone push-ups will allow you to become accustomed to the ball and how it moves with your weight on it. This is a great exercise for controlling your balance.
Start by lying prone on the ball with your abdomen resting on top of the ball. Pivot your weight forwards so your hands are in contact with the ground like on a regular push up. Push up from the floor and pivot your weight backwards so your feet rise and fall to roughly the same level as the ball. The exercise should look like a see-saw motion. Do 10-15 reps then take a break. You should notice a stretch in the front abdominal muscles and you should also feel it in your shoulders and triceps.
Swiss balls seem like a revolutionary idea to people new to the experience. However, even though the experience may be unsettling at first, moving past the initial discomfort has many benefits. Give it a try and see how much of a difference these exercise tools can make in your life.
About the Author
Frank is a full time fitness fanatic and has written for many health websites and published a 2016 treadmill reviews report.