Exercise balls, also known as fitness or Swiss balls, are an easy way to enhance your exercise regimen. The ball’s unstable surface causes you to use more muscle units to remain balanced and is especially beneficial in toning and strengthening your core (abdominal and back muscles).
Here are some basic exercises to get you started:
Bridging on Ball
Lie on the ground with your feet on top of the exercise ball. With your hands on the ground next to your hips, boost your hips as high as you can and hold for 10 seconds. Repeat 10 times. As your balance improves, work toward not having your arms on the ground at all.
Crunches on Ball
Start out sitting on top of the ball with your feet on the ground. Walk your feet out 2-3 small steps and lie back. The top of the ball should reach your mid to lower back, and you should feel relativity light on your feet. Cross your arms in front of your chest or support your head with your hands as long as you are not pulling on your head. Tighten your stomach and crunch up. Slowly let yourself back down. Start with 10 reps and work your way up to two or three sets of 15.
Plank on Ball
Lie on the ball with your hands on the ground. Keeping your stomach tight, slowly walk out as far as you can and still feel safe. Keeping your body in a straight line parallel with the floor, hold that position for 30-45 seconds. Then slowly walk yourself off the ball. Repeat 2-3 times.
Hold the ball in place on a wall or a secured solid door with your lower back. Walk your feet out about a foot. Keeping your knees shoulder distance apart, squat down like you are sitting in a desk chair. Go down as far as you can comfortably (you don’t have to go any deeper than a 90-degree knee bend), pause, and stand back up. Repeat 12 times and do two to three sets.
Choosing a Ball Size
Exercise balls range in size from 55cm-75cm and should be chosen based on your height:
Under 5’4”: 55 cm
5’4”-5’11”: 65 cm
6 and above: 75 cm