If someone asks me what is the one piece of exercise equipment that I should get for the home the answer is always, you should purchase a Swiss Ball. Most clients will already be using a Swiss Ball in a variety of ways in their studio based sessions, earning its place due to the many benefits it offers in improving your posture, balance, reaction speed and core strength. This is because a Swiss Ball provides an enriched and challenging environment in which to train. Additionally, Swiss Ball exercises are fun and achievable for most people, as they can be easily adapted to suit all levels. By simply purchasing a Swiss Ball you turn your lounge room into an instant gym with a whole variety of exercises that you can do.
The benefits of a Swiss Ball explained
- Improve your Posture – A Swiss Ball stimulates all those essential muscles that help maintain a healthy posture. This is because they’re constantly working to maintain your centre of gravity so that you don’t fall off the ball.
- Strengthen your Core – Using a Swiss Ball requires the consistent recruitment of the core musculature and as all movement are initiated and supported by the core, a stronger core leads to stronger limbs.
- Improve your Balance and Stability- During regular daily activities your body is challenged by many forces in all dimensions. Since most machines are anchored to the floor they do not require you to recruit your stabiliser muscles, reducing your systems ability to control your body’s movement. Swiss Ball training requires you to recruit your core muscles to manage these forces improving balance, co-ordination and stability.
- Improve Nervous System Activation – Swiss Balls provide a dynamic training environment which challenges the nervous system and improves your ability to react to a changing base of support.
- Effective Rehabilitation – Because Swiss balls are naturally unstable, sitting, exercising or balancing on it activates a myriad of motor recruitment patterns, increasing muscle function and awareness. This is particularly beneficial when rehabilitating because often muscles are inhibited as a result of injury.
3 simple exercises that turn your home into a gym with a Swiss Ball:
- Start with the basic hamstring bridge.
- Flex your knees and use your feet to pull the ball in toward the buttocks.
- Slowly return to the straight leg position, still keeping your pelvis off the floor.
- Don’t allow the back to arch.
- Start with the ball against your upper back, feet flat on floor and knees flexed.
- Raise the pelvis up towards the ceiling, the ball should be resting on your shoulders.
- Tighten the stomach muscles and maintain a neutral position.
- Rest the ball in the small of your lower back, leaning against the wall.
- Keep your feet pointing straight ahead and move them away from the wall 30cm.
- Bend your knees to 90 degrees keeping your knees coming straight over the line of your toes.
Ask your nearest studio to design a specific program for you and your needs. It’s amazing what you can do with the use of a Swiss Ball !