Call it a Swiss ball, exercise ball, gym ball or pezzi ball, this fitness tool based on the principles of functional kinetics has been acknowledged widely for its usefulness in athletic training, physical therapies, yoga and pilates, and general fitness programmes. Developed in 1963 in Switzerland by Aquilino Cosani, this air filled soft elastic ball used while exercising helps to tone and strengthen the core muscle groups in the body while teaching one to maintain the body balance. Some Swiss ball exercises are given below.
Effective Swiss Ball Exercises
1. Feet Up Push Up:
Target: Triceps, core muscles atop the chest, and upper pectoral muscles of the body.
Procedure: Here in this Swiss ball exercise, you need to lie with the thighs atop the ball, legs and back completely extended, elbows bent and hands on the ground. Exhale and push the body up by extending the arms and inhale while lowering back to the start position after a pause.
Target: Abdominal muscles, specially the upper abdomen, hip and core muscles to create flat and toned abs.
Procedure: This Swiss ball exercise require you to lie over a Swiss ball with lower back on it and hands behind the ears. Inhale while contracting the abdomen muscles and raising the upper body upwards from the ball and exhale while lowering it back after a short pause.
3. One Legged Ball Squat:
Target: Quadriceps and hip muscles, while also stabilizing and shaping the thigh muscles.
Procedure: Place the ankle on the ball kept behind, inhale and crouch down until the knee reaches a right angled position. Exhale and rise back to the original position by extending the leg and lower down again after a short pause. Work alternate sides after every set.
[ Read: Medicine Ball Slam Workout ]
4. Alternate One Arm Leg Extension:
Target: Lower and upper back, buttock muscles, hamstrings and most group muscles in the body.
Procedure: Lie atop the ball with the belly pressed against it and body firmly balanced. Exhale while raising one arm forward and lifting the opposite legs outwards, pause a while and return to the starting position while inhaling. Repeat the pattern with alternate limbs.
5. Ball Jackknife:
Target: Abdomen and hips
Procedure: Maintain straight posture throughout. Place the ankle on the ball, chest facing the floor and legs extended, and hands extended on the floor. Concentrate the body weight on the extended hands and exhale while rolling the ball inwards by bending the knees and hips. Pause a while, and extend them back to their original position while inhaling.
6. Ball Triceps Extension:
Target: Also known as triceps blaster, this exercise aims at the triceps.
Procedure: Lie flat, chest down, back up, forearms atop the ball with back and legs extended. Push the body up by rolling the ball towards the hands and extending the arms and then, gradually lowering the back down again following a short pause.
7. Ball Table Top:
Target: Abdominal, chest, shoulder, back and many other muscle groups of the body.
Procedure: Keep the back straight throughout the exercise. Lie on the knees and place the forearms on the ball kept in front with elbows at a right angled position. Roll forward on the ball while ensuring complete extension of the legs and elevation of the knees from the ground. Pause shortly and then return back to the original posture.
8. Ball Leg Curl:
Target: Hamstrings and lower abdomen.
Procedure: Hold the ball using the thighs and calves while lying with the back on the ground. Pull the feet towards the hips and exhale while squeezing the ball in this process. After a short pause, inhale and gently release the ball and return to the start posture.
9. Lying Ball Squeeze:
Target: Inner thighs, buttocks and back muscles.
Procedure: Lie with back on the ground, body straight throughout and ball held between the legs below the knees. Bring the thighs near to each other to press the ball while lifting the bottoms above the ground. Pause for a while and then lower the body back to the ground while releasing the squeeze on the ball.
10. Ball Rear Deltoid Row:
Target: Outer and rear deltoid muscles. This exercise on Swiss ball helps to shape the shoulders and requires a pair of dumbbells for performance.
Procedure: With belly pressed, lie against the swing ball and extend the back and legs while holding dumbbells downwards at the sides. Keep the elbows at right angled positions and raise them while maintaining the angle and breathing in, until the upper arms get placed parallel to the floor. Take a pause and then lower them back down while breathing out.
11. Ball Side Crunches:
Target: Lower back, obliques and core muscles.
Procedure: Lie down with your side against the ball. Cross your arms against your chest and spread your feet straight, wide to get a good balance. Now raise your upper body from the ball and lower it again. Always take a small pause after each cycle.
[ Read: Leg Stretching Exercises For Women ]
12. Ball Push-Ups on Knees:
Target: Core, chest and shoulder.
Procedure: First kneel down right in front of your gym ball. Place your hands on the top of the ball and keep your back extended. Now extend your arms by pushing up, and then slowly lower down to starting position. Exhale while pushing and inhale otherwise.
13. Ball Leg Curl:
Target: Hamstrings, calves and glutes.
Procedure: Lie down on your back with your arms parallel to your body. Place your calves on top of the ball while the ball touches your thighs. Now squeeze the ball using your feet and try to pull the ball closer by squeezing. Wear shoes to get a better grip over the ball. This works on your hamstrings.
14. Ball Crunch – Legs Elevated:
Target: Tone abdominal muscles, helps to gain washboard abs.
Procedure: Lie on your back with your calves placed on the ball. Thighs should be close to the ball. Hold your arms across the chest and move your shoulder blades up and down. Make sure you see straight up and not your knees.
15. Ball Bridge:
Target: Hamstrings, glutes, lower back and inner thighs.
Procedure: Crouch down on your feet and place your back on the ball. Place both hands across chest. Don’t move your feet but extend your back until it is parallel to the floor. Go back to the starting position thereafter, and repeat.
Hope these Swiss ball or gym ball exercises for building strength and gaining stability aroused your interest for physical workout! Which of these you will sport? Feel free to share your views through comment!
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