Exercise balls, also referred to, as stability balls or Swiss balls are large inflatable rubber balls that can be used to perform a variety of exercises, including many dumbbell exercises. If you are going to be working out at home it is a very useful piece of equipment, especially if you do not have a weight bench.
Advantages of Using an Exercise Ball
Because the ball is unstable, it forces you to use stabilization muscles, strengthening your low back and abdominal muscles. This also improves your posture.
When performing abdominal exercises on the ball, you will have more range and motion. More range and motion recruits more muscle fibers, which will give you better results.
When you sit on the ball, your knees are slightly higher than your hips. In this position, your pelvis is elevated and as a result, helps to stretch your hips.
Because you are working on an unstable surface, you will improve your balance and coordination.
You can perform a variety of exercises on the ball in several positions. The ball can be used alone, with dumbbells and/or exercise bands.
Lightweight and small in size, your exercise ball can be easily stored in a closet.
Because it is lightweight and can be deflated, you can travel with it.
One of the least expensive pieces of exercise equipment you can buy. Exercise balls generally cost between $25-$30.
Disadvantages of Using an Exercise Ball
Because you are on an unstable surface, if you are performing free weight exercises, you will not be able to lift as much. So ideally, for best results, mix it up. Exercise on both, a weight bench(stable surface) and unstable surfaces.
Choosing the Right Size Exercise Ball
The size ball you will need is generally based upon your height. When you sit on the ball your thighs should be parallel to the ground. If your thighs slope down the ball is too big for you. Here are some general guidelines. Keep in mind that sizes can vary if you have shorter or longer legs for your height. Here are some general guidelines:
Under 5’ 45 cm ball
5’0 - 5’6 55 cm ball
5’7’’ - 6’2 65 cm ball
6’3 and above 75 cm ball
To learn more about incorporating an exercise ball into your strength training workout, contact Kari.
KARI LARSON - PERSONAL FITNESS TRAINER
Empowering, Educating and Inspiring Fitness for Life