As fitness trends come and go, every now and then comes a trend which makes sense. One of those trends if focusing on core development for increased functionality and strength of torso. Most popular piece of equipment for core workout is the exercise ball.
Physical therapists and fitness trainers around the world used them for years because they recognized the balls potential to strengthen abdominal and back muscles with increase in stability.
How to choose the right exercise ball?
Picking the right exercise ball is very important to take advantage of the benefits this piece of equipment can give. A lot of people are hesitant to start using the exercise ball out of fear of a sudden burst. If you buy a quality ball manufacturer has no reason to fear, most of the balls is tested to tolerate the load up to 300 kg.
In addition to great quality it’s equally important to choose the right size. When you are choosing the size of the ball you need to take into account body proportions and the
purpose for which the ball will be used. A person with long legs will take a larger ball than those with shorter legs. If the ball will be used exclusively for sitting it can be a bit larger in diameter than the one you would use for exercise.
Most people use a ball with diameter of 55 or 65 cm, and most manufacturers place a guideline on the packing with a table on the choice of ball size in relation to body height. Of course, the best would be to try the ball in the store. General rule to follow is that hips and knees are in line while sitting on the ball or that hips are slightly higher than knees.
Guidelines for choosing the right exercise ball size:
- 55 cm – 4’11’’ – 5’4’’ (150 – 162 cm)
- 65 cm – 5’5’’ – 5’11’’ (162 – 180 cm)
- 75 cm – 6’0’’ – 6’7’’ (180 – 200 cm)
When you buy and exercise ball next thing you need to watch is the pressure in the ball. It is important that the ball is not over pumped. Simple solution is to ask for pumping the ball into the store where you buy it or to pump it up at a petrol stations.
Maintenance tips for exercise balls:
- Use it only in home and keep away from sharp objects
- Do not leave it exposed to direct sunlight or heat sources
- Do not let your pet play with it
- Use only soft liquid soap and water for cleaning
- Make sure you don’t have your keys in pockets or any other sharp objects like jewelry that could possibly penetrate the ball
Using an exercise ball in your current fitness routine
Fitness ball is a valuable addition to your current fitness routine, it will add a new environment which your muscles will have to grow to adapt. The challenge of working out on a fitness ball is due to its instability which fires up muscle fiber all across the body to compensate. As soon as you lie on the exercise ball your legs and abdominal muscles will contract to stop you from falling off.
You can add the exercise ball to:
- Weight training – use the exercise ball as a bench for dumbbell fly, press and pullover for a new way to Shock your chest muscles into growth
- Abdominal training – you have to hit those abs from every angle possible and exercise ball is perfect for that, you can use it to perform crunches while lying on the ball and also experiment with adding a twist motion
- Body Weight training – add new tension to your chest muscles while doing Push ups at home with your feet on the exercise ball
- Sitting – Just sitting on the exercise ball is a challenge and an amazing way to improve your posture and fight lower back pain while you watch TV or work at the computer. Experiment with balance by keeping just one foot on the floor.
- Flexibility – Yoga and Pilates – exercise ball is a great tool for Stretching and relaxation
Exercise Ball Workout routine for Men and Women
You have only an exercise ball and your desire to train and you are wondering if can you do a workout with only those two things. Here’s a workout routine which will add new spice to your fitness life. This workout with an exercise ball will strengthen your muscles, improve endurance, Enhance body stability and balance and help you lose weight.
Exercise 1 – Ball Circles
Sit on the exercise ball and put your palms on it for balance (for advanced trainees put your palms behind your head). Start by slowly moving your hips in circles clockwise. First do small circles, then when you warm up do bigger. Make 10-20 circles and then repeat the exercise in other direction.
Exercise 2 – Ball Pushups
Place your hands on the ball, tigthen up your abs and keep your back streight and try to keep elbows pointing outside at a 45 degree angle. Lower your chest to the ball slowly then you push yourself up. This exercise will target your middle/lower chest and triceps
Exercise 3 – Incline Ball Pushup
Place your knees or feet on the ball, place the palms on the floor and keep the arms straight. Tighten your abs and back muscles while slowly lowering yourself until you almost touch the floor. You can add pushup bars to this exercise or do it on your fists to avoid any wrist pain that might occur.
Exercise 4 – Ball Lunges
Stand upright and place your left foot on the exercise ball. Bend your right knee while you slowly lower yourself until you right thigh is parallel to the floor. Return to starting position. Do 12 repetitions with one leg then switch legs. If you want to add weight you can use dumbbells or a barbell.
Exercise 5 – Balance Ball Exercise
Sit on the exercise ball with knees bent 90 degrees. Elevate your left foot from the ground and place all your body weight on the right foot then just up-down on the ball. Do this movement for 30 seconds and then switch feet.
Exercise 6 – Ball Squat
Press the ball against the wall and lean on it. Place your feet shoulder width and bend the knees to form an angle of 90 degrees. Keep your knees behind your toes while you slowly lower yourself until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Hold on the bottom position for 2 seconds and rise up. Do 15 repetitions.
Exercise 7 - Abdominal Exercise
Lie down your lower back on the exercise ball. Keep your toes and knees inline, place the palms of your hands behind your head. Firmly tighten your abs and lift up your head while breathing out. Return to starting position. Do 15 repetitions.
Exercise 8 - Abdominal Alternative Exercise
Lie on your back, knees bent. Put the exercise ball on top of your knees and extend your arms forward on top of the ball. Raise your upper body lifting your shoulder blades off the floor. Maintain that position as long as you can and then return to starting position, do 5 repetitions.
If you have any questions about exercise balls and workout leave a comment below.