The stability ball, sometime known as a Swiss ball or fit ball, adds an element of instability to an exercise that you would not normally get in a floor exercise.
The body responds naturally and automatically to this instability to keep you balanced on the ball. Over time, the muscles used to keep your balance on the ball become stronger.
You will build strength in important back muscles and abdominal muscles without knowing it.
Benefits of exercising on a Stability Ball
Maintaining proper alignment on the ball stimulates the body’s natural motor reflexes and encourages the body to react as a whole. This type of movement corresponds to how you move about in a normal day.
When using the ball correctly, the body is required to use muscles for stabilisation that may not have been used in traditional mat exercise
The ball can improve muscle strength and endurance in all of the major muscle groups. Training with the ball can improve muscle tone, increase muscle endurance and strength, restore or improve flexibility, enhance spinal stability, improve your balance, posture and coordination.
The stability ball is great for those with back issues, because it strengthens and develops the core muscles that help to stabilise the spine
The benefits of exercising on an exercise ball for people with low back pain include:
Simple and versatile way to start moving again after a back pain episode
Improved muscle strength
Greater flexibility and range of motion of the spine
Enhanced balance and coordination of core muscle groups used to stabilise the spine Increased tendency to maintain a neutral spine position during exercise
Many Stability ball exercises are designed to bring movement to the spine in a controlled manner to help keep the discs nourished.
Carefully selection of the correct ball size is essential to performing the exercises correctly. Here are some guidelines to use when selecting the proper ball size
When sitting upright on an exercise ball:
Feet should be flat on the floor - with an even weight distribution.
Knees should be level or slightly lower than the pelvis - creating an angle of 90 degrees or slightly greater at the hips and knees (thighs parallel to ground or pointing down slightly).
Pelvis, shoulders, and ears should be in a vertical line - the body should not be leaning in any direction as a counterbalance. Bouncing up and down lightly will usually produce this alignment
Sit on a Swiss ball with good posture, and roll your hips in a circular direction. Perform the rotations in one direction, and then the other direction. This is a good core control and lower back mobility exercise, especially useful if you have acute lower back pain or disc problems.
Bridge on the Ball
Lie flat on your back, with your feet resting on a Swiss ball, and your arms by your side (palms face down). Squeeze your bottom muscles and lift your back upwards. Make sure you maintain good posture (do not over-arch your lower back) and contract the deep abdominal muscles by squeezing your tummy towards your spine. To make the exercise easier, move the ball towards your body (more under your legs), and harder; away from your body (more under your heels). This works the hamstring muscles at the back of the thigh
Ball Sit up
Lie on your back on a Swiss ball, and perform a crunch by lifting your shoulder blades off the ball. It is fine to return by dropping just below the horizontal. This exercise helps to strengthen the abdominal muscles.