If you turn on the television, you would not be hard-pressed to find a slew of infomercials that are selling a kind of abdominal device or exercise gadget. Exercises experts have weighed in from time to time on the efficacy of these devices, and the verdict has almost always been a resounding no. Almost all of these new products try to pitch the idea that there is a new shortcut to a better body, which is just a lot of advertising spin and hype. That is, except for one product.
The Swiss ball or exercise ball is the one device that exercise experts unanimously agree is beneficial for your workout. Swiss ball exercises have been and are part of almost every routine, being used in gyms and at homes. It is inexpensive and adds a whole new dimension to any training program. The ball brings in the element of balance, requiring you to use your abs and surrounding muscles to stabilize your body. Swiss ball ab exercises can be awkward at first, but once accustomed; you may not want to do an ab routine without it. Swiss ball balance exercises are challenging as well, and will call upon core strength you thought you did not have. Exercises with Swiss ball incorporated into them brings out new ways to update old routines, such as Swiss ball push-ups, or Swiss ball planks, just to name a couple. If you want to bring in a new element to your existing routine, Swiss ball exercises are the way to go. But first, make sure you have the right size that matches your height, provided here from swissballs.com.au. Here are 5 easy exercises you can do right away.
1. Swiss Ball Push-ups
There are two ways to do a Swiss ball push-up. One way is to mount your shins on the ball while you do a regular push-up on the floor. The other is to have your feet on the floor and your hands pushing against the ball. The latter may be slightly more difficult, bringing much challenge to your chest and arm muscles. Here’s how to do both.
Feet on Swiss ball version from weighttraining .com.
Step 1: Lie on an exercise mat on the floor in push-up position (face down and hands shoulder width apart) with a fitness ball behind you.
Step 2: Carefully place your ankles onto the fitness ball.
Step 3: Extend your arms to raise your body so that your torso is parallel with the floor and the only part of your body touching the floor is your hands. This is your starting position.
Step 4: Inhaling, bend your arms to bring your chest toward the floor.
Step 5: Squeeze your chest as you exhale and completely extend your arms, returning to the starting position.
Feet on Floor version from fitbie.msn.com.
As mentioned earlier, this could be more difficult, depending on your fitness level. Expect a good triceps and forearm workout with this movement.
1. Assume the standard pushup position. Place your hands on a Swiss ball instead of the floor.
2. Lower your body until your chest nearly touches the floor. Pause at the bottom, and then push yourself back to the starting position as quickly as possible. If your hips sag at any point during the exercise, your form has broken down. When this happens, consider that your last repetition and end the set.
2. Swiss Ball Planks
The plank has been the most underrated core exercise until recently, when fitness experts agree that a strong midsection involves not jus strong abs, but good obliques and a solid lower back as well. The plank achieves this with one single pose. Swiss ball planks up the challenge with having to balance yourself on the ball. Here’s how from womenshealthandfitness.com.au.
“Lie face down on floor resting on the forearms, palms flat on the floor. Start by pushing off the floor, raising up onto your toes and placing them on top of the Swiss ball. Remember to engage your core to support your back in a straight line from head to heels. Tilt your pelvis and really brace your abs to prevent your hips from sticking up in the air or sagging in the middle. Breathe naturally as you hold for as long as possible before lowering and resting. Record your time and try to beat your previous time each round. Complete 3-4 rounds.”
A more advanced version of this has you using two Swiss balls, one on your feet and a smaller on the on the arms. Check out a video here.
3. Swiss Ball Crunches
These are pretty straightforward to do. Simply rest your upper torso on the Swiss ball, plant your feet firmly on the floor about a shoulder width apart and do a crunch as you would normally do lying on the floor. Fitness model Scott Herman demonstrates the move from his channel.
4. Swiss Ball Squats
This exercise hits several muscles with its compound movements, including your quadriceps glutes, hamstrings and even your calves. It also calls your core into action and is a terrific lower body movement. Here is a step-by-step instructional from Men’s Health.
1. Stand with your feet slightly in front of your body and use your back to hold a Swiss ball against a wall.
2. Keeping your back in contact with the ball, lower your body until your upper thighs are parallel to the floor. (The ball will roll down the wall as you squat.)
3. Stay in this position for 5 seconds and return to a standing position. That’s 1 rep.
5. Swiss Ball Hamstring Curl
This exercise is a great way to workout and strengthen the hamstrings. You can really concentrate on developing them for better muscle symmetry and balance with your front quadriceps. It will also force your stabilizer muscles to work for maintaining steadiness. Here is an excellent demonstration of the Swiss ball hamstring curl by Mark Beier.
So, there you have it. These 5 exercises will definitely help your body push its limits and to ultimately achieve that ripped body you’ve always wanted.