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Why Swiss Balls Are Effective In An Exercise Program

Made of elastic rubber the exercise ball, also referred to as the Swiss ball, has become very popular with keep fit enthusiasts.

It is large and very light and should not be confused with the much heavier medicine ball.

Both are invaluable in exercise programs designed to build up muscle strength.

The benefits of an exercise ball workout are enormous

  • It is a key feature in programmed workouts gyms as an aid for back problems and rehabilitation after accidents involving the spine.
  • The exercise ball routines target the abs and at the same time benefit the associated deep underlying muscles in that area of the body.
  • As the exercise ball is unstable and has a random bounce, the body has to use the core body muscles (back and abdominals) to keep balanced.  This results in those muscles becoming stronger with time.
  • Therefore balance and stability are improved.
  • Overall co-ordination improves.
  • Strengthens the back and can help those with low back pain (see below)
  • Good body posture is encouraged.
  • Targets different muscles by using varied weights and sizes of ball subject to advice from a qualified PTI.
  • Can be utilized in a beginner or advanced workout.

If you suffer from back problems it is well worth seeking advice from your medical practitioner/physical therapist.

The Swiss ball is often used as an aid to strengthen weak or painful back muscles by increasing the blood flow to the affected area.

Workouts with the Swiss ball can be particularly effective in combination with Pilates routines in alleviating back problems but it is advisable to follow a specialist program.

Exercise balls can be purchased at most  large sports stores and are readily available on internet.

Choose your exercise ball with care. Your height and weight will have an effect on the size of ball best for you.

The following chart is a guideline

Height Ball Size
5’0 – 5’5 Small – 22”/55cm
5’6-5’11 Medium 26”/65cm
6.0’-6’3 Large 30”/75cm

As usual before starting any workout do 5-10 minutes gentle warm up exercises just to loosen stiff muscles and joints to avoid a sudden workload causing a muscle strain.


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