- Exercise & Fitness
Exercise Ball Workout For Beginners
The Swiss Ball Workout
Last week, right after the New Year celebrations I was reading a magazine instead of going for a workout -as I had promised myself in order to lose all those extra calories gained with the festivities- when I found an article on the Swiss ball workout. The article was written by Julie Imperali, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy’s personal trainer. Julie claimed that following a basic routine with the aid of an exercise ball anyone could achieve a lean silhouette.
As luck would have it; I had one of those balls in my cave. I immediately went searching for it, amidst the bottles of wine and colourful jam jars. I had almost given up looking for my ball when I found it timidly hiding between an old fridge and a pile of boxes. I had never used the exercise ball, my husband had bought it to use it as a seat but gave up after he rolled over and the ball ended up bouncing around the house until someone put it in the cave.
A Swiss doctor by the name of Susan Klein-Vogelbach is responsible for promoting the use of these plastic balls in the field of orthopedic medicine at the physical therapy clinic she founded.
My Swiss Ball, A Fun Safe And Highly Effective Way To Exercise.
What is a Swiss ball?
- Exercise ball - Swiss Ball in Wikipedia
An exercise ball is a ball constructed of elastic soft PVC with a diameter of approximately 35 to 85 centimeters (14 to 34 inches) and filled with air. A Swiss ball, is also known as balance ball, birth ball, pilates ball, yoga ball, therapy ball...
As soon as I found my exercise ball I tried the exercises in the magazine. I was amazed at how easy and fun they were. I suffer from lower back pain –after pregnancy I was diagnosed with occupational/pregnancy scoliosis- and I am always looking for stretching exercises to relieve the pain. That is why I was so pleasantly surprised with the exercise ball; instead of exercise every movement felt like a gentle massage. My first try was so successful that I decided to give it a try and started looking online for more information and workouts with a ball.
Benefits of exercising with a Swiss Ball
I found out that introducing a Swiss ball in your workout has several advantages like stretching your spine and helping you to achieve a slimmer waist. Using a Swiss ball facilitates full flexion and extension of your spine thereby training your abdominals through a full range of movements.
Also using a Swiss ball promotes balance, co-ordination and stability. You are working double without even noticing. Not only are you doing the exercise (a crunch, a stretch, etc) but at the same time you are working your core muscles concentrating to maintain equilibrium on your ball.
So far I have only tried it for a week, but I am loving it. I have fun doing the exercises and I feel more supple and invigorated when I finish.
Below are some basic exercises that can be done with an exercise ball. Please bear in mind that I am new to this, I am not a professional. For proper coaching I would advice you to refer to a professional trainer. Remember, by making healthy eating choices and exercising on a regular basis your dream body can be a reality.
Exercise Swiss Ball
As with any other type of exercises it is important to warm up before engaging in demanding physical activity.
Swiss Ball Crunch
Abdominal Crunch Using An Stability Ball
The idea of a Swiss ball crunch instead of an ordinary crunch on the floor is to hyperextend the spine, meaning that the abdominal muscles get a greater range of movement. It is a perfectly safe exercise, as long as you do it correctly.
How To Do A Swiss Ball Crunch:
- Lay on top of the ball facing up, your legs bent at a 90-degrees, your feet firmly on the ground. The Swiss ball should be between your hips and shoulders following the curvature of the spine.
- Clasp your arms behind your head. Relax in this position to obtain a stretch of the abdominal wall.
- The movement: flex your midsection raising your shoulder blades off the Swiss ball. Do not come up too high because the tension in the muscles will decrease. Concentrate on only contracting your six pack muscle to bring your shoulders towards your hips.
- Keep your abs squeezed-in when you are going up and slowly lower yourself back to a fully relaxed and stretched position.
Swiss Ball Crunch
Oblique Crunch Using A Swiss Ball
Oblique Crunch To Get Rid Of "Love Handles"
- Place the Swiss ball on the floor near to a wall.
- Kneel on the floor between the wall and the ball
- Extend one leg forward and one leg backward bracing them where the wall meets the floor. The foot of the side you are exercising should be the one extended forward. Otherwise you will be unstable and roll over. You’ll have a laugh but you will not get rid of your love handles.
- Rest your hip on the ball.
- Relax and stretch yourself sideways over the Swiss ball with your arms bent and hands clasped behind your head.
- Push your hips downward into the Swiss ball and crunch your body lifting off the ball in the direction of the wall until you reach the limit of your movement.
- Hold and slowly lower yourself back to your original position.
Swiss Ball Obliques Exercise - Lift and Twist
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Stability Ball Pullover Row Exercise
Stability Ball Pullover Row Exercise To workout your back, your chest and abdominal muscles.
Do this back strengthening exercise regularly to get the strong, defined back of your dreams.
- Kneel on the ground with the Swiss ball in front of you.
- Place your arms on the ball with your elbows bent at a comfortable angle.
- Lean into the ball and let your body rock forward stretching your arms as far as possible.You might lift your feet from the ground for more stability and comfort.
- Pull your body back to its original position pushing down into the ball.
Rollouts to work the entire abdominal wall.
The Wall Squat
A swiss ball squat is an ideal way to start to perform squats whilst learning good technique and developing strength, before moving on to more difficult versions.
- Find a wall with a flat surface.
- Place the stability ball on the wall behind your body and lean against it. Place your feet forward slightly. Keep your back nice and flat, do not round it.
- Slowly lower yourself until your knees bend to 90-degrees. Look straight ahead or slightly up while squatting.
- At the bottom of the motion push through your heels and drive your body back to the starting position.
Wall Squat Using An Excercise Ball
- Lay on the floor in a supine position.
- Place the Swiss ball under your legs somewhere between your calf and heel. Keep your arms on the floor
- The movement: Push your legs down into the ball as you push your hips upward until your body has created a straight line. Squeeze your bottom at the top of the movement to increase intensity.
- Hold at the top and slowly lower your body back to the floor.
- Tip: The further the Swiss ball is from your hips the more intense the exercise.