Strengthening your core with Swiss balls

instructor_taking_exercise_class

The Swiss Ball has been used by physiotherapists for many years as part of their routine therapeutic and conditioning programs. Now they are in most gyms because their benefits are becoming so apparent. It provides an unstable platform and therefore challenges your muscles in new ways, helping to strengthen and build up the “core” muscles in the body, (e.g. abdominals, back, buttocks & thighs), which play a major role in maintaining good posture. This becomes extremely important if we are spending much of our working life in a sitting position, which can weaken postural muscles.

Performing exercises on a Swiss Ball will lead to greater recruitment of stabilizing muscles allowing you to reap more benefits from each exercise. A recent study showed that training on the physio ball (a challenged environment) is superior to traditional floor exercises.

Benefits of Using a Swiss Ball

  • Encourages awareness and helps you get to know your body.
  • Wonderful for the development of balance, coordination and strength.
  • Strengthens postural and core muscles — difficult to achieve with machines.
  • Gives you an excellent range of motion for abdominal exercises.
  • Supports joint stability and helps to activate the nervous system.
  • Fun to use!

I use mine as a chair when I sit at my computer. When seated on the ball, your thigh (femur) should be parallel with the floor. Remember it takes some time getting used to, so hang in there. Like any other piece of exercise equipment, when used correctly, a Swiss Ball can help you achieve positive results. Used incorrectly, it may cause injury. Anyone wishing to incorporate a Swiss Ball into an exercise program should seek instruction from a professional who’s been trained in Swiss Ball techniques.

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