Why use it?
Using the ball can improve your overall strength and endurance, as well as core stability, posture, and body awareness. You may feel unstable at first, but as your core stabilization muscles, such as your abdominals and back muscles get stronger, you will feel more stable.
How to buy your fitness ball
The fitness ball comes in 4 sizes. To make sure you have the correct ball size, sit comfortably on the ball and ensure your can move your knees easily between 45 and 90 degrees to the ball by moving back and forth - and feel in control.
Fitness ball workout tips
- focus on a fixed point to help maintain your balance
- make sure you have lots of space around you
- take normal, controlled breaths
- exhale on the most difficult phase and inhale during the easiest
- control your movements
- warm up the muscle groups before you begin exercising
- stretch when you are finished your workout routine
- combine bouncing with bending, twisting, or rotating the spine, while on the ball
- continue if you start to lose your posture - if you do, stop and reposition yourself
- continue performing the exercise if anything hurts while you are training
- hold your breath
Fitness ball exercises
Using your fitness ball to increase balance
- Sit on the ball and move your hips in clockwise circles.
- Reverse this - move your hips in counterclockwise circles.
- Maintain good posture, with your shoulders square and chin in.
Using your fitness ball to increase flexibility
- From a near-sitting position, with your ball behind you, curl backwards and move your feet outward until you are lying comfortably over the exercise ball with your head, neck, back, and shoulders supported and arched over the ball.
- Extend your arms out at your sides so they are parallel with the floor.
- Hold for 20 to 30 seconds.
- Don't hold your breath - breathe normally.
- Lower your arms to your sides and roll back to the starting position.
- Repeat steps 1 to 5.
Using your fitness ball to increase strength (push-ups)
- Lie across the top of the ball, face down, with your abdomen on the ball.
- Place your hands palm down on the floor, directly underneath your shoulders.
- Your legs are straight out behind you.
- Your chin is down, so the back of your head is parallel with your spine.
- Slowly lower your chin to the floor, bending your arms at the elbows.
- Slowly raise yourself back to the starting position.
- Make sure your chin is down, and the back of your head is parallel with your spine.
- Repeat steps 1 to 3.
- Increasing the intensity
- Walk forward on your hands, so that only your shins are in contact with the ball.
- Repeat steps 1 to 3 above.
C. Harris, BSc Kinesiology, CFC,
in association with the MediResource Clinical Team